Emerald, a builder of dynamic, market-driven platforms that integrate live events with B2B digital solutions, released its first annual research report reflecting the changing expectations influencing and shaping the future of the B2B events industry.
Developed by Emerald’s content strategy and marketing agency Content4Demand, “B2B Event Industry Outlook Report 2022: Charting Success Amid Evolving Expectations” surveyed more than 1,000 B2B event planners, vendors/providers and attendees in the U.S. and Canada to understand how events are driving business growth in an industry that’s both recovering and evolving. Additionally, the report examined how constant connectivity is driving the demand for year-round engagement.
Emerald’s “B2B Events Industry Outlook 2022” underscored that while in-person events remain a lynchpin for driving business growth, there is a common thread that identifies a growing demand for virtual and digital offerings. Previously considered as complementary and optional, these digital offerings are now deemed core and essential components to augment the in-person event experience and drive year-round engagement.
Key takeaways include:
- In-person event organization and attendance are expected to rise in 2022, but won’t fully offset 2019 vs. 2021 declines;
- The 2022 growth projection estimates a 50% increase in the number of in-person events and participants from 2020;
- An expectation for sales pipeline attributed to events — live and digital — will make up for the downturn from 2019;
- The No. 1 priority for the future was the quality of contacts and engagement levels beyond actual events;
- All survey groups are searching for a dynamic model to combine physical and digital; and
- All survey groups, including 84% of attendees surveyed and 67% of B2B vendors/providers and planners polled, want organizers to enable and help facilitate E-commerce transactions.
“Events have served as the central part of pipeline-building strategies for most B2B brands, and while the survey responses suggest that will continue, there are evolving expectations around how events will guide more of the entire buying journey,” said Andrew Gaffney, President of Emerald’s G3 Communications division, in a statement. “While the core, in-person aspect of an event will remain critical, companies appear to be looking for year-round engagement, diversification, commerce and community. Event organizers would do well to consider using content to build dialogue, meet buyers where they live and make it a more seamless process to move from discovery to evaluation to selection.”