The B2B events industry is enormous. More than $300 billion is spent annually on B2B events incorporating nearly two million meetings and 251 million participants.

New research from Bizzabo, an award-winning event technology company, reveals that events are a staple of B2B technology marketing. Bizzabo’s clients are some of the biggest names in the technology industry, including HubSpot, Magento and OmniconGroup.


A small sample of Bizzabo’s client list. Source: Bizzabo.com

The Bizzabo 2019 Event Marketing Report summarizes findings from a survey of 1,000 mid- to senior-level marketers in the technology sector.  The report reveals that B2B technology marketers who invest more in events are more likely to adopt event technology, and they can more easily prove event ROI.

In this post, we’ll highlight some of the key findings from the Bizzabo survey, which contains a wealth of detailed stats that can help you understand how top technology marketers leverage in-person events to achieve their business goals.

Demographic profile of Bizzabo survey respondents

The companies surveyed by Bizzabo represent roughly $107.3 billion in total annual revenue. Nearly 70 percent of respondents were key decision makers—from managers to C-suite executives—and the collective marketing spend of these companies was roughly $600 million annually. Additionally, just over 70 percent of respondents were in North America.

ROI is a key driver of event investment

One of the most interesting insights from the Bizzabo survey is that in this age of digital connectivity, in-person events are the most effective marketing tool for B2B tech marketers, beating out content marketing (the second most popular) and other top channels such as email, paid social and paid search.

Source: Bizzabo Event Marketing 2019 Benchmarks and Trends Report

While more than 80 percent of B2B technology leaders are supportive of live events, they’re 10x more likely to be supportive of these events when event organizers can demonstrate ROI.

The survey also reveals that successful marketers – defined as marketers who believe their company is outperforming its goals – are more likely to leverage event technology, measure event ROI, and receive leadership support versus those who represent companies that are underperforming.

Almost all respondents in the survey indicate that in-person events are incredibly valuable to their company’s bottom line.

  • 97 percent of respondents believe that events are a valuable way to form connections in an increasingly digital world
  • 96 percent of respondents believe in-person events can have a major impact on their company’s primary business goals
  • 87 percent of respondents indicate that events are essential to their marketing strategy

Key finding

B2B technology marketers are more likely to invest in events than those supporting companies in other industries, with respondents indicating they are 18 percent more likely to allocate more than 20 percent of their marketing budget to in-person events.

The survey also found that marketers in the B2B technology sector planned to increase their budget allocation for events in 2019 versus 2018.

Trends and adoption of event technology

The use of event technology is growing among B2B tech marketers, with nearly 60 percent of respondents indicating that they are already using it versus 53 percent in other industries.

Event technology can save event teams more than 200 hours a year by using features that enable them to create event websites, sync data between platforms, simplify event registration and more.

Other findings related to event technology include:

  • B2B technology companies that use event technology are better able to measure ROI.
  • Technology users tend to focus on holistic event software that is integrated with other platforms.
  • Companies that use event technology are more likely to host more events per year.
  • Organizations that use event technology are 12 percent more likely to prove event ROI than companies that don’t.
  • Two-thirds of overperforming B2B technology companies organize more than 10 events per year.

Source: Bizzabo Event Marketing 2019 Benchmarks and Trends Report

Key finding

The fact that overperforming companies organize more than 10 events per year—and that underperforming businesses do not—is a significant revelation. Also, since the ability to measure ROI is a factor in gaining C-level support for events (including allocating more marketing dollars to this tactic), ensuring you are able to measure ROI from your event activity should be a big focus of your event marketing strategy.

The strategy of event marketing

B2B technology marketers believe that hosting or sponsoring events is incredibly valuable for generating leads and sales. This tactic is a major component of their overall marketing strategy.

Here’s a quick look at how B2B technology marketers compare to their peers in other industries:

  • 73 percent of B2B technology marketers tie events directly to their bottom line versus 30 percent in other sectors (KPIs measured include lead generation, pipeline and sales acceleration).
  • B2B technology organizations are 3X more likely to invest a significant portion of their marketing budget (21 percent) in hosting or sponsoring events rather than in attending them.

Key finding: There were a variety of in-person events that were included in this study (e.g., trade shows, seminars, expos, etc.) but conferences were noted as the best performing in-person event type, having a more positive impact on a company’s business objectives than thought leadership and networking events, trade shows/expos and seminars.

Conclusion

For those in the B2B technology sector, events are an essential element of their marketing mix.

Demonstrating ROI is a priority for marketers who believe their company outperforms its business goals. Leaders, while very supportive of hosting and sponsoring live events, are even more likely to get behind event marketing when ROI can be measured and proven.

Live events help technology marketers connect with current customers and new prospects, with conferences favored as the top event type versus seminars and trade shows.

B2B technology marketers who adopt event marketing technology are more efficient at managing events. They save more than 200 hours per year on average by using event marketing platforms such as Bizzabo.

Companies that use event technology host more events per year than those that don’t. Additionally,  companies that organize more events tend to perform better (from a bottom-line perspective).

Finally, when a company’s event marketing strategy is focused on achieving the organization’s primary business goals – getting more leads, expanding the pipeline and closing more sales – respondents are more likely to say that their company outperforms its business goals.

The full report is available on the Bizzabo website.