January 7, 2020

Event Strategies

Event Marketing 101 – What You Need to Know in 2020


Patrick Leary

See what every event marketing professional needs to know to run and manage the best events in 2020 with our event marketing 101 guide.


The start of a new year presents a perfect opportunity to take a wholesale look at your event marketing strategy. With the calendar flipping to 2020, consider evaluating every aspect that shapes how you manage and market your events. Taking such a broad approach can seem understandably intimidating, so here are a few places to start to get you on the right track in the new year.

Start with “Why?”

It sounds simple, but it’s the backbone of any good field marketing event. Developing a clear event objective will not only help you as a marketer develop a coherent strategy for your event, but will also help potential attendees know what to expect and determine whether the event is right for them.

Aventri’s 2020 Event Marketing Guide calls the “Why?” question the starting point for any event. Specifically, marketers need to focus on why people should attend their events. A selfless approach to the “Why?” question that emphasizes the perspectives of participants and other stakeholders like sponsors and event partners will naturally lead to more successful events that generate more value for everyone involved.

Match your content to your event

A clear, coherent objective is crucial across all types of field marketing events. As you dig deeper into your strategy for a particular event, it’s crucial to consider what type of event you’re running and how to create content that corresponds with your audience and event constraints.

In a recent interview with Banzai, Argyle Forum’s Sara Lopatin, who runs more than 50 events per year geared toward business leaders, said events for manager and director level leaders should emphasize presentations where they can take away actionable insights, while a VP- and CXO-level audience prioritizes networking and exchanging ideas on how to resolve their pain points. Sara also said that your tone and method of delivery at an all-day forum should be much more direct and educational than it would be at a VIP dinner, where a more fun and casual tone is appropriate.

Bizzabo also chimed in on several marketing event types in its 2020 event marketing guide. For example, for large conferences Bizzabo suggests balancing a professional environment with an energetic, social atmosphere. For more intimate events like seminars, Bizzabo recommends more in-depth discussions that lead to valuable knowledge sharing.

Consider running more intimate, personalized events

Sure, it can be a real feather in your event marketing cap if you successfully pull off a massive conference featuring countless significant executives. However, sometimes the impact your event makes can be enhanced by more direct and authentic experiences offered by smaller events. At Banzai, we prioritize the quality of attendees we drive to field marketing events, not just the quantity, and we firmly believe in the value of genuine interaction at small events.

According to Marketing Insider Group’s Biggest Event Trends for 2020, demand is growing for simpler, smaller events with authentic opportunities to meet face-to-face. That demand is backed by a shift in consumer expectations and priorities that are tilting toward authenticity from prominent brands in the face of greater mistrust. Smaller, more intimate events offer the opportunity for attendees and customers to interact with businesses on a personal basis that makes them feel less like a faceless corporation.

This personal approach should extend to your invitations for events of all sizes. Banzai prioritizes personalized invitations across all of its channels and Marketing Insider Group recommends using event attendee behavior data for more personalized follow-ups and post-event communication.

Prioritize sustainability in your event planning

Environmental sustainability ballooned in importance at the corporate level in the 2010s, and it’s a mistake to not consider it as a part of your field marketing event heading into 2020.

In an article at The Vendry, leaders from San Francisco-based experiential marketing agency Manifold wrote that forward-thinking businesses ask their agencies to work with sustainable or reusable materials for their events. The article reports industry-wide disappointment in the amount of waste often created by major field marketing events. It’s not necessarily a simple step, as attendees will have to grow more comfortable with event materials that look less new and fresh, but it’s a trend that reflects an important shift that’s been happening at the larger corporate level for years.

Augmented reality could change the game

While the recent rise of virtual reality experiences proved to be more of a novelty, some serious event marketing value could be found in augmented reality. Marketing Insider Group reports that while VR has limited real world applications, AR, the alternate reality space experiencing the most growth, is a more attractive and practical option for field marketing events that can be used for product demonstrations, advanced networking, and more.

Banzai CEO Joe Davy hosted a podcast in 2018 with Liz Pearce, a former CRO of AR company Streem. Streem uses augmented reality to connect experts directly with customers to streamline the process of fixing home appliances. The key to the experience is utilizing something almost every American has, a smartphone, and it’s easy to see how AR could translate to more hands-on product demonstrations for field marketers.

“New year, new me,” can sound overused and cliche, but in the context of your event marketing strategy, it’s a perfect time to make changes that can ultimately enhance how you reach your customers. You never know when a subtle tweak could open up a new world of possibilities for your events.

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