- More than two thirds of event organisers were able to achieve their marketing goals through digital activities
- To this end, they still mainly use established communication channels
- When searching and selecting events, attendees prefer personal recommendations
Digitalisation has a firm spot in the event marketing world
There is no doubt about it: digital activities bring success. More than two thirds of organisers state to have achieved their goals thanks to digital channels. In this context, attracting more attendees (84 percent) and increasing the events’ profile (72 percent) take the top ranks. These results are motivation enough for 64 percent of organisers to make even more use of digitalisation in the future.
Consensus on the one hand, a large gap between what attendees want and what organisers offer on the other
Attendees too have arrived in the digital era for events. When it comes to selecting the channels however, organisers and attendees are taking rather different paths in 2017. Besides their website, organisers are strongly focusing on established communication channels like email marketing (76 percent) and social media marketing (73 percent). Traditional advertising activities like print ads trail far behind (47 percent).
Personal recommendations from friends and acquaintances are the way to go for 66 percent of attendees when choosing events. Email and event newsletters are right behind with 59 percent indicating the effectiveness of these methods among the organisers’ target group. “These results nevertheless clearly indicate that viral marketing will be an essential ingredient for an ideal marketing mix in the future”, Prof. Dr. Cai-Nicolas Ziegler states as one of the recommendations for event organisers.
On the other hand, organisers and attendees are on the same page about updates – more than half of organisers and attendees agree that digital event marketing simplifies exchanging information with each other. Attendees (62 percent) would like to further this improved exchange of information via social media groups. In turn, organisers seem to not (yet) recognise this potential – a mere nine percent of the organisers use this channel for communication and attendee retention.
Bottom line for organisers
“By using various channels like email marketing, organisers are on the right track”, Ziegler sums up. “However, they still need to catch up when it comes to innovative marketing activities – especially viral channels, making use of influencers and content marketing.”
About the research
During a representative online survey conducted between June and July 2017, XING Events GmbH analysed event marketing methods of organisers along with how attendees search for suitable events. In total, 1,630 national and international organisers as well as 2,621 national and international attendees participated in our online survey.
63 percent of organisers organise seminars and 39 percent organise conferences and congresses. 34 percent are trade fair organisers. 31 percent stated that they organise other kinds of events as well, e.g. networking and corporate events. 86 percent of organisers have completed the survey.
A look at the attendees’ answers reveals that they are mainly interested in business events: 61 percent predominantly attend seminars, while 54 percent attend conferences. 42 percent mostly attend trade fairs, and 10 percent make up the rest of the event types. This question also allowed for multiple answers. 94 percent of attendees have completed the survey.