Key Insights from The 2018 State of B2B Event Marketing Report

In December 2017, Certain teamed up with Heinz Marketing to conduct a survey in order to better understand and identify the current state of B2B event marketing going into 2018. As a result, we received the unique insights of 271 B2B professionals from various functional areas and organizations of all sizes, who are all decision-makers for their company’s hosted events.

Here are a few of the key findings to come out of our research:

The importance of events is increasing

Nearly 3 out of 4 B2B professionals agree – the importance of hosted events to their company’s success is increasing. Today’s most successful companies leverage events to drive brand awareness, demand generation, pipeline acceleration, and customer engagement, allowing their sales and marketing teams to meaningfully impact every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Tracking ROI remains elusive

The importance of events might be increasing, but over half of all surveyed B2B professionals report that tying event spend to revenue generation is an elusive task. In fact, of the 1 in 4 companies that spend 25-50% of their marketing budget on hosted events, fewer than 20% of them actually make that direct tie to revenue.

For marketing, quality over quantity matters

Though there are dozens of pre-, during, and post-event tactics one can employ to impact event success, just because one can doesn’t mean one should, especially when those activities take up resources and budget you don’t have to spare. Of all the channels available to sales and marketing, email was identified as the most used and most effective activity.

Marketers stuck with an ineffective mix of tools and tech

You might have an impactful event, but ineffective technology could cause your efforts to be in vain. 3 in 4 B2B professionals report that their current mix of technology and resources is ineffective, resulting in lost data around leads, spend, and revenue.

Missing the hand-off to sales

The lead hand-off to sales is arguably the most critical point in an event’s lifespan, however, over half of B2B professionals report that this hand-off is ineffective. When leads are either lost or inappropriately assigned to sales, it hinders marketing’s pipeline accountability, prevents the sales team’s ability to close deals, and affects the likelihood of future events.

The Bigger Picture

Top marketing and event industry professionals recently reviewed these findings in order to discuss the gaps addressed by survey respondents, offering their own take on how companies can maximize their events in 2018.

Certain’s VP of Marketing, Kristen Alexander, cautioned against an over-emphasis on pre-event marketing and planning, suggesting instead that marketers take a more comprehensive approach to their event strategy. “The opportunity for events and increasing the effectiveness of events is thinking about events holistically, throughout the entire journey, from pre-event to the opportunity to market during an event, and the opportunities to market after an event.”

The report provides a list of best practices for sales and marketing that takes event professionals through the full event strategy cycle, supporting Alexander’s assessment that each phase of the event strategy requires an equal amount of planning and action in order to ensure a successful event with measurable results.

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