Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends

October 25, 2017

Brandon Rafalson

Brandon Rafalson is the Content Marketing Strategist at Bizzabo, an event success platform that helps organizers manage, measure and grow professional events across the globe.

Bizzabo recently surveyed over 400 mid- to senior-level event marketers about the future of the industry. The result is Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends.

With contemporary digital marketing practices, brands have the ability to reach more people with more targeted strategies than ever before. Yet at the same time, nothing can quite compare to a face-to-face conversation. This isn’t a nostalgic longing for simpler days. It’s what the data says.

The average Chief Marketing Officer allocates 24 percent of their total annual budget to live events in order to connect with customers, educate attendees and generate new leads. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, GE, HubSpot, Salesforce, L’Oreal, Google, Ford and Wells Fargo all understand the value of live events and have committed themselves to marketing strategies that place face-to-face interaction front and center. We are seeing unparalleled growth in marketing-led events.

An increased emphasis on live events being essential to marketing strategy has been aided and abetted by a new generation of technologies that have made it easier than ever for event marketers to manage, market and grow their events. Chief among these is the “event management software” industry, which is valued at $28 billion and is projected to have a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 3.3 percent moving forward. And there’s good reason for the industry to be growing, given that B2B events account for $512 billion in annual spend.

With these figures in mind, we set out to grab an authoritative pulse of the events industry. We asked over 400 mid- to senior-level event marketers from across the globe about their perspectives on where events are now and where they see the industry heading in the future.

The results were staggering.

Over the course of this month-long study, we expected to see event marketers express some degree of investment in the events industry. What we did not expect was the sheer enthusiasm for and commitment to events that respondents reported across all levels of the organizational hierarchy.

Below are key findings from the Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report.

  1. Most event marketers believe that events are the single most effective marketing channel (31%) over digital advertising, email marketing and content marketing.
  2. The majority of event marketers plan on investing more in live events in the future both in budget (63%) and number of events (63%).
  3. The majority (91%) of over-performing businesses place a greater emphasis on live events as a marketing channel than underperforming businesses or businesses that are performing as expected. They also plan on growing their event marketing budgets by more than the rest ($4,500 more).
  4. An overwhelming majority of C-Suite executives (87%) believe in the power of live events and plan on investing in them more in the future.
  5. An overwhelming majority of event marketers (86%) believe that technology can have a major positive impact on the success of their events.

Want to download the report for more insights? You can grab your copy here.


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