The pandemic has highlighted the need for fundamental change for in-person events
The B2B events industry has taken one of the biggest economic hits of any sector over the last 12 months.
Right at the start of the pandemic, the tech sector went in to overdrive to provide the infrastructure for working from home, food outlets pivoted to delivery, retailers sharpened their ecommerce offerings and musicians brought their kitchen disco to our living rooms. The B2B events industry, on the other hand, went into pause mode and simply cleared their forthcoming events calendar altogether.
Certainly for pure events players, the revenue taps were abruptly turned off at the onset of the pandemic and according to a report by Arrowpoint Advisory and Plural Strategy, publicly listed events operators saw their market valuation collapse by over 50%.
B2B events – an industry ripe for change
It’s been argued that the B2B events industry was broken long before the pandemic came along. Certainly, some view in-person events as an excessively expensive opportunity for closing a sale that could have been done back in the office.
Many are highly critical of the industry for failing to fully embrace and exploit technology.
However, there are others who see a significant bounce back for in-person events in pretty much the same format as before.
A recent survey of 500 senior international B2B marketers by Space Global showed that they do not see virtual events as sufficiently effective. In fact, post-pandemic, these B2B marketers expect to increase their marketing spend by 8% compared with pre-pandemic levels.
And while these senior marketers do recognise the need to make improvements to in-person events, precisely what and how significant those changes turn out be remains to be seen.
Events and marketing teams must lead the change
Whether you are an event producer or marketer, what is clear that the B2B events sector cannot simply press the resume button and carry on from where things were placed on hold at the start of the pandemic. There is now a clear need to deploy the reset button. Event producers and marketers need to embrace this challenge.