By Saskia Smith

Marketers are returning to in-person events in 2023: 5 Reasons why in-person events will be the key to B2B success this year 

The secret’s out: In-person events are alive and well. 

In a recent survey by EventTrack, 91% of technology customers reported that they would be more inclined to purchase a brand’s product or service after participating in a brand activation experience. (EventTrack, 2023)

Surprised? You shouldn’t be, really. In a world where we crave experiences more than anything else, event marketing makes perfect sense. With the increased budget constraints Marketing and Event teams face in the current economic climate, this year we are seeing an increased need for ROE (Return on Events).

Real-life experience shapes our thoughts and memories much more profoundly than anything we read or see online. Not to mention the overload of spam and zoom fatigue your audience is facing during their nine-to-five. 

Need some more convincing? Here’s why your Marketing mix should include in-person events this year. 

1. Drive ROI with social capital and live feedbac

“Driving sales pipeline is the No.1 metric by which event marketers measure event success” (Source: Forbes: The Future of B2B events in 2023)  

In-person events provide a level of social capital that can’t be achieved virtually. According to the Harvard Business Review, face-to-face communication is up to 34 times more powerful than online communication. This is further supported by a study conducted by Forbes where 95% of respondents said face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships. People prefer in-person meetings because they:

B2B marketing events also allow you to get live feedback on what prospects find valuable about your product or services and how it has or will benefit them. It also allows real-time insight on shortcomings, drawbacks, and improvements they want to be added.

2. Build a community of evangelists and get referrals 

78% of B2B marketers say that referral programs generate good or excellent leads (Forbes: 2023) 

In-person events are a great way to have your customers become evangelists for your brand. People attend in-person events to connect with other community members who are tasked with solving similar challenges and complex problems. 

Creating an open and relaxed in-person event offers an opportunity for your customers to build their network and share their positive experiences working with your company. Referrals don’t only generate more leads for your business, but they’ve been proven to be of higher quality. 

With a global increase in on-site events this year, it will be even harder to get the right attendees in the room or even tougher, get them to show up! In-person events can filter down your audience by means of being invitation-only or selectively sourcing the customers you want to do business with. Invite-only events also allow for a more personalised experience for your guests and create multiple touchpoints and interactions with your guests ahead of the event date. 

When it comes to B2B event success, relevance is key. Inviting specific, highly relevant prospects to a more intimate setting, will not only benefit your organisers and sales team but also improve the overall experience for your attendees.

Alisha Louwrens, Marketing Manager at PitchLevel

3. Create meaningful branded experiences

Events hosted in person allow brands and organisers a chance to create a more branded experience for their attendees by using swag, social handles, visuals, banners, photo booths, etc. 

Especially in the technology space, decision-makers are inundated with invitations to B2B events. During an in-person event, all your attendees are present in the venue and brands can use it as an advantage to create awareness and set themselves apart from the competition. They can engage with you on social media, tag you in their posts, and engage with event content after. Not to mention the opportunities branding creates for sponsorship, data collection and future.

“People love sharing positive experiences. Outside of the experience your audience gets at your event, the consumer is connecting and engaging directly with your brand, and as an added bonus, they can often be shared second-hand, through social posts, videos, etc.”

Saskia Smith, Creative Director at PitchLevel

4. Get a handle on the market 

A significant benefit of industry events is the insights you gather about what is happening in your market. Sometimes these insights are more general impressions and other times they may be specific to interest in new technology or concerns about new regulations. Shaking hands with a prospect also gives you access to the strategies of your competitors, what they offer that you don’t, and where your competition is headed in the future. 

5. Great events connect on both a personal and professional level

Investing in new customers is between 5 and 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. (Hubspot: 2022) 

In-person events are an incubator for building rapport and getting to know your customers and prospects on a personal level. In order for this personal connection to form, there needs to be an establishment of trust which can only be achieved in an authentic way. 

Connecting on personal passions is a great way to find common ground and start to build trust. Sharing a passion for sports for instance can bring people together to share their opinions and thoughts which can often prompt lively debates between complete strangers. 

In-person events offer an easy way for people to connect and have authentic conversations. Personal connection is what will set the foundation for building a professional relationship in the new era of B2B events.

Ready to host an event that drives real ROI?

PitchLevel helps high-growth organisations win more business by connecting your sales team with prospective clients at bespoke sports hospitality events. We create better results for your investments by sourcing engaged attendees who match your target audience and are ready to connect.