IPG Strategy Team Jan 6, 2021 2:34:19 PM 8 min read

2021 Event Strategy Study: RainFocus

2021 Event Strategy

At the end of 2020, RainFocus, an end-to-end event marketing and management platform, partnered with Impact Point Group to conduct a study of the industry’s premier events to uncover how organizations are approaching their event strategies for 2021. RainFocus has summarized highlights of the study to help ensure a successful start to 2021.

To review the full summary findings, click here >

About the State of Events Study 2021
The State of Events 2021 Study is a primary research study to uncover how enterprise organizations are approaching their event strategies for 2021. Respondents were asked about their experiences with virtual events, event plans and budgets for 2021, as well as other defining elements of their programs.

RainFocus and Impact Point Group surveyed more than 50 enterprise organizations to understand how their events performed relative to expectations in 2020, successes/learnings from those events and how teams are applying these learnings to events in 2021.

Findings from the Study
To review the full summary findings, click here >

  1. Organizations made the pivot to virtual with mixed results. In 2020, many organizations made the switch to virtual events, but depending on their goals, experienced mixed results.
  2. Expanded reach with virtual. Virtual exceeded expectations for many organizations due to the expanded reach they had achieved. According to RainFocus’ 2020/2019 Global Event Management Survey And Benchmark, most free virtual events saw an uptick of 4-6x the number of registered attendees and the ability to reach audiences that were previously unknown, which was great for awareness.
  3. Lower engagement remains a top concern with virtual. According to respondents, the biggest risk factor for virtual events is lower engagement (38.6%), followed by technology failure (28.1%).
  4. Teams are eagerly anticipating the return to physical events. When asked if they were planning in-person events in 2021 (if permissible) 41.4% indicated Yes; 43.1% were undecided while 15.5% indicated that they were not planning in-person events for 2021.
  5. Physical events will re-emerge with a virtual dimension, ushering in a new events era. With uncertainty around vaccine timing and some good results with virtual, 76.2% of respondents indicated that they will incorporate a virtual component into their event, while 22% were undecided. 70.4% of respondents indicated they are planning for hybrid events.
  6. Tips and tricks to fight virtual fatigue. While organizations look to up the ante to balance what’s “cool” with risk, organizations offered their own tips for combatting virtual fatigue.
  • Live content
  • Offer a variety of content formats
  • Shorter program and sessions
  • More how-to content
  • Small group calls
  • More live engagements
  • Inject fun into the conference
  • Big name talent or engaging speakers
  • Adding more breaks between

Attendee Engagement

  • Swag kits shipped to homes
  • Polling
  • Live Q&A
  • Chat between end-users
  • Gamification and giveaways
  • Micro-segmentation
  • More social interactions
     7. Events budgets are expected to remain flat or decrease. 45.5% of teams are expecting event budgets to remain flat, while 34.5% expect a decrease headed into 2021.

    8. The convergence of events and marketing teams. Traditionally, demand and digital marketing teams have been responsible for the pre-event promotional and post-event follow-up activities. Events teams manage the high-impact experiences to attendees, speakers, and exhibitors—from registration to tear down. Due to unprecedented circumstances of this past year, events have gone fully virtual creating a powerful convergence of events and marketing—and that won’t be changing any time soon. In fact, 59.3% of survey respondents indicated that they expect their events and marketing teams will work more closely together in 2021. 

The highly-valuable Digital Event Forecast will be released in February 2021, which will include further insights and event strategy recommendations. To review past versions of the Digital Event Forecasts, click here > 

To review the full summary findings from RainFocus, click here >