Five Key Experiential Trends for 2023

As a result of the COVID pandemic, which began in early 2020, companies, organizations and individuals quickly decided the risks of in-person events made these meetings, conferences and trade show too risky to attend. In just a few months, virtual events had largely replaced in-person events, a trend that continued through 2021 and into 2022.

As we’ve become more familiar with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and methods and practices to better contain its spread, exhibitors, organizers, sponsors and participants have begun to return to live-in person events.

(IAB), the digital media and marketing trade association, released its lineup of events for the first half of 2023 that are “Bigger and Better.”

A 2022 survey of marketing professionals by the firm MarTech for their Event Participation Index found respondents were enthusiastic about returning to live events in 2023, particularly in the second half of the year.

The outlook is for greater live attendance at public events like concerts, sporting venues, cultural get-togethers and private events like conventions, trade shows, and conferences than in recent years. It could return to 2019 levels as soon as 2023 or 2024.

This positive direction provides savvy marketers with greater opportunities to engage with their target customers on a personal and technological level and be able to collect critical insights. Here are five tips for engaging with your existing and potential customers more efficiently and effectively.

1. The Digital Transformation of Experiential Marketing

ATN staffing seen here helping an experiential marketing Galaxy S7 Edge event

One trend that came out of the global pandemic from which we are emerging is developing and implementing sophisticated digital marketing. In the same ways that wars have pushed technologies forward in the past (i.e., the US began WWII with biplanes and ended with jets), so has the pandemic spurred the development of technologies to reach your marketing targets.

The goal of experiential marketing is to engage with participants in a live setting and interact with the brand promoted. Executed properly, the engagement will generate positive participant experiences, making them more likely to seek out the promoted brand.

Digital communications are implemented to promote an event, activity, show, etc. before it occurs. While it takes place, it can also keep the conversation between the brand and the participants after the event ends. The trend is to create more relevant, informative digital interactions throughout your event, from pre-event interactions to on-site activities and post-event surveys and follow-ups.

2. Recycle Event Content for Added Effectiveness

Content is expensive to create. If you’re utilizing an agency to create your content, there’s the direct expense for the hours the agency has invested in it on your behalf. Even when it’s generated internally, there’s time involved for the creator to develop it. Both incur the costs of approval across multiple levels before being implemented. Why not utilize the creative output across several applications?

In-person events are among the best opportunities to engage with existing and prospective customers. Further, ongoing interactions with these crucial targets can boost your relationships with them. Maintaining your messaging across all communications channels is an effective strategy to improve the effectiveness of your outreach.

Repurposing the content developed for the event can help extend the messaging into virtual post-event marketing activities, keeping your prospects engaged and extending the event’s reach.

3. Greater Personalization through Event-Generated Data

Perhaps more than any other marketing outreach activities, events provide one of the best opportunities to connect with prospects. As much as they’ve been sharpened over the pandemic, digital marketing tools cannot replicate the impact of in-person connections. After all, human beings are social animals.

PredictHQ’s Guide to setting up event data is a good starting point.

With the increased opportunities (through advancing technologies) to collect data across different events and activities, the result is a more robust picture of those who interacted with your brand. Through this data, prospects can be better targeted, and communications can feature greater personalization.

In addition, the event data collected can be utilized to determine which activities have generated the highest levels of engagement with prospects, which is helpful for future planning. 

4. There Will Still Be a Need for Hybrid Events 

Even though in-person events will become increasingly more popular, many event planners have determined that hybrid events also effectively reach a wider audience at conventions, conferences and trade shows.

In a survey of nearly 400 event and marketing professionals by Bizzabo, almost all (97%) respondents reported that they expect the need for hybrid events to continue into the future.

As hybrid events combine the advantages of both physical and virtual, they will continue to have an essential role in conventions, conferences and trade shows in 2023 and beyond.

Venue selection is critical, not just from a capacity standpoint but also from in-house support and infrastructure perspectives.

Another plus is that hybrid events require less staffing, an advantage in the current challenging job market.

5. Spending on Event Tech Will Increase

Budgets are up for 2023 as well. According to the sixth annual, The State of Experiential Marketing Study conducted by Agency EA, “64% of B2B marketers and 40% of B2C marketers anticipate their budget will increase within the next year. Both B2B and B2C marketers expect that increase to be 5-10%.”

Planners are learning that event tech has moved beyond a device to attract interest to a display. Event tech is now a potential contributor to the organization’s marketing efforts. Data collected at events directly flows into CRM and other systems for a more holistic approach to customer outreach.

The single greatest contributor to event tech’s successful implementation is selecting the right tech partner. While most suppliers can meet your equipment, schedule and budget requirements, success depends mainly on the partner’s ability to support the event and provide a rapid and effective response for even the smallest of details.

2023 is a New World

We’re in a new world, post-pandemic. While in-person events will increase in numbers and participants, they’ll be combined with new digital marketing skills learned through the COVID-19 outbreak. Moving forward, savvy marketers will select from traditional on-site, in-person activities with effective digital implementation before, during and after events to maximize effectiveness and return on investment.

We’re Here to Help

At eTech, we pride ourselves on partnering with our customers to provide the best event experience possible. We closely collaborate with our customers to plan, develop and implement flawless trade shows and events. In addition to event rental technology, our experienced staff provides end-to-end service to ensure your technology is fully operational and performs without error. For event equipment rental needs, reach out to us today for a no-obligation free quote.

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