Happy New Year! I know it’s already the 8th, but at The Social Effect we play hard (when we’re not working hard) and hangovers can take a while to subside. Now that the dust has firmly settled on 2018, I want to look forward to 2019 and where we think B2B event marketing trends we’ll be seeing.
Here are our top B2B event marketing trends for 2019
1. A shift in the role of marketing
For many decades, marketing efforts have been seen as a cost centre for B2B event companies. While they currently have an important function, their impact on actual revenue was difficult to measure. Over the last few years, we’ve noticed a growing trend of increased pressure being placed on marketers to show ROI. In 2019, fluff metrics will be a thing of the past, if marketers aren’t generating actual registrations and visitors, their heads will be firmly on the chopping block (metaphorically speaking, of course).
I know, I know, personalisation is on the list almost every year, but that’s because advancements in technology are increasing the scope of what’s possible in terms of personalisation. The development of personas has been standard practice in most industries for many years and 2019 is the year that B2B event marketers will fully embrace it. Marketing managers already know the ins and outs of their target audience, but they will now start to formalise their knowledge with documentation that can be shared across the entire business.
3. People-Based Marketing
Account-Based Marketing has been a buzzword for a few years now. While it’s a very effective strategy, it fails to treat prospects and potential visitors like the individuals that they are. 2019 will see targeting get narrower and more personalised, ensuring that each prospect gets tailored communication that speaks directly to their role and pain points.
4. Focus on Conversion
There’s always been a focus on driving traffic to B2B event websites and registration pages, but far too little attention is paid to what happens when they land there. Regan (our CEO) has a great analogy for this (if you’ve met him you’ve probably heard it): There’s no use filling a swimming pool with water if the pipes have holes in them. With traffic getting more and more expensive, 2019 is going to be the year the pipes get fixed so that traffic doesn’t leak.
5. Greater focus on the full customer lifecycle
Along with marketing’s shift into a role as a profit centre, they will also start to focus more on the later stages of the customer lifecycle to support customer retention and generate referrals. In B2B events, this can involve ongoing post-event communication to visitors, exhibitors and sponsors. Their experience will no longer end shortly after the event, but will continue year round as part of an engaged community.