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Marketing Events & Conferences 2021

Even throughout the trials and tribulations thrown at us by the year 2020, there have been a number of resilient marketing events that have refused to call it quits. Instead, they innovate and adapt to the unpredictable circumstances we find ourselves in and pave the way into a new and revolutionary events marketing era.

If you’ve been sick of staring at white space and blank boxes in your calendar for the past 6 months, we feel you. That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of marketing events being hosted online and by the hopefuls around the world that have been brave enough to plan for in-person marketing events in the coming months.

And as if that wasn't enough, we've created a Marketing Events Planner and Calculator template to make your life even easier. See that big blue box over there? -> Fill it in and we've deliver a little gift straight to your inbox. We will also be updating this list monthly and will dash you an email when updated.

So, grab your dairy (or spread sheet) and pack it jammed full of the biggest and baddest marketing events below. 

PS If you're on the hunt for alternatives to events marketing for lead generation chat to one of our team about our sponsored marketing services including webinars, branded content and more. 

December 2020

When Who Where What
Dec 1-3 Gartner Marketing Symposium Xpo Online Marketing
Dec 1-2 B2B Online Europe TBC B2B
Nov 2-5 Web Summit Online Digital
Dec-02 #DMWF Asia Online Digital
Dec 2-3 Forward Marketing Summit Hong Kong Hong Kong Digital
Dec-03 WebCongress Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA Digital
Dec-03 App Promotion Summit: Berlin Online Mobile
Dec 7-9 Influencer Marketing Conference Online Social
Dec 8-10 Digital Travel APAC Online Industry
Dec 15-17 Traffic & Conversion Summit Online Digital

 

January 2021

When Who Where What
Jan 20-21 CommerceNext Online Retail
Jan 27-29 Japan IT Week Osaka 2021 Osaka, Japan Digital

 

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February 2021

When Who Where What
Feb 1-5 SUPERWEEK Hungary Budapest, Hungary Analytics
Feb 2-4 Affiliate Summit West Las Vegas, NV Affiliate
Feb 2-3 Savant eCommerce Stockholm Stockholm, Sweden Retail
Feb 9-10 Digital Food & Beverage EU London, UK Industry
Feb 10-11 MGS21 (Mobile Growth Association) Online Mobile
Feb-18 E-Commerce Berlin Expo Berlin, Germany Retail
Feb 22-25 eTail Palm Springs Online Retail
Feb 22-24 B2B Marketing Exchange Scottsdale B2B
Feb 23-24 eTail Connect Spring Online Retail
Feb 24-25 Digital Marketing for Financial Services West Summit San Francisco, CA Industry
Feb 28-Mar 2 Social Media Marketing World San Diego, CA Social

 

March 2021

When Who Where What
Mar 2-3 DX3 Canada Toronto, Canada Retail
Mar-04 MGS India 21 (Mobile Growth Association) Online Mobile
Mar 5-7 PodFest 2021 Orlando, FL Podcast
Mar 9-11 eTail Germany Berlin, Germany Retail
Mar 15- April 12 #MarTechFest Dial Up Series 3 Online MarTech
Mar 17-18 IRX & eDX Birmingham, UK Retail
Mar 23-24 Savant eCommerce Berlin Berlin, Germany Retail
Mar 24-25 #DMWF North America New York, NY Digital

 

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April 2021

When Who Where What
Mar 15- Apr 12 #MarTechFest Dial Up Series 3 Online MarTech
Apr 6-8 Web a Quebec 21 Canada, Quebec Digital
Apr 7-9 Advanced Search Summit Napa, CA Digital
Apr-15 EiQ: The Intelligent Email Gathering Atlanta, GA Email
Apr-15 MGS Asia 21 (Mobile Growth Association) Online Mobile
Apr 15-16 Savant eCommerce London  London, UK Retail
Apr 25-26 DMIEXPO: Digital & Affiliate Conference Tel-Aviv, Israel Digital
Apr 26-27 SearchLove New York New York, NY Search
Apr, TBD Savant eCommerce NY New York, NY Retail

 

May 2021

When Who Where What
May 2-6 Confab Minneapolis, MN Content
May 11-12 C3 (Conductor) New York, NY Search
May-13 MGS UK 21 (Mobile Growth Association) online Mobile
May 17-18 Interact 21 Columbus, OH Digital
May 18-20 Unbounce Call to Action Conference Vancouver, Canada Conversion
May 19-20 SMX London London, UK Search
May 25-26 Savant eCommerce Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands Retail

 

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June 2021

When Who Where What
Jun 2-3 HeroConf: Austin Austin, TX PPC
Jun 2-3 #DMFW Global 2021 London, UK Digital
Jun 6-8 NRF2021: Forward Together New York, NY Retail
Jun 9-10 DigiMarCon Midwest Chicago, IL Digital
Jun 10-12 Digital Elite Camp Laulasmaa, Estonia Digital
Jun 15-16 Savant eCommerce Amsterdam  Amsterdam, Netherlands Retail
Jun 16-17 DigiMarCon West Los Angeles, CA Digital
Jun-17 MGS LATAM 21 (Mobile Growth Association) online Mobile
Jun-18 MNSearch Summit St. Paul, MN Search
Jun 21-24 COLLISION Toronto, CA Other
Jun-25 Social Media Day: San Diego San Diego, CA Social
 Jun 30 - Jul 3 London Affiliate Conference  London, UK  Affiliate

 

July 2021

When Who Where What
Jul 7-8 Affiliate World Europe Barcelona, Spain Affiliate
Jul-15 MGS New York 21 (Mobile Growth Association) online Mobile
Jul 15-17 NamesCon Europe Budapest, Hungary Domains

 

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August 2021

When Who Where What
Aug 5-6 Engage Conference 2021 Portland, OR Digital
Aug-12 MGS Canada 21 (Mobile Growth Association) Online Mobile
Aug 25-26 DigiMarCon Australia Sydney, Australia Digital
Aug-27 Utah DMC Digital Marketing Conference Salt Lake City, UT Digital

 

September 2021

When Who Where What
Sep-02 Growth Marketing Summit Frankfurt, Germany Digital
Sep 14-15 Savant eCommerce London 2021 London, UK Retail

 

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October 2021

When Who Where What
Oct-12 MGS MENA 21 (Mobile Growth Association) Online Mobile
Oct 22nd  #MarTechFest 2020 London, UK MarTech

 

November 2021

When Who Where What
Nov-4th  #MarTechFest APAC Sydney, Australia MarTech

 

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How long will we stay in the virtual world? Will we ever venture out into the real world again? The answer – yes. Probably. At some point – maybe?  

So, no one has the perfect answer, but what we do know is that we have an abundance of digital opportunities at our fingertips, so let’s use them. We don’t know for sure what the future holds for events marketing, but we won’t let that stop us from continuing to innovate, educate and captivate. If we know one thing for sure, it’s that events marketing is not about to sit still.   

We’re going to give you a little helping hand to hone in on the opportunities events marketing has to offer pre, during and post pandemic. From the explosion of digital events and the variety they have to offer, marketing events best practice, questions to ask your organiser to what the industry has in store from 2020 and beyond. So, you’d better buckle up. 

The Power of Events Marketing

For many businesses, in-person interaction is the life and soul of the strategy. In-person events present an exclusive array of hyper-targeted, high value leads with a unique level of engagement which has yet to be replicated in any virtual scenario.

The personal connection that can be formed from a face-to-face conversation often translates into a unique, memorable engagement and potential ongoing relationship between client and customer.

It removes us from the noise and distractions of our day to day lives so we can be fully present in the moment with no overrunning meetings or last-minute cancellations. The power of the in-person interaction may even go as far as solidifying a sales meeting there and then.

So here lies the challenge. How do we replicate the value that in-person events offer in a world that currently restricts us from being within 2 metres of any new acquaintance? A world still filled with unpredictability as restrictions are continuously being released and retracted.

The events marketing space have been forced to get creative. Rather than strike out the possibility of all events for the foreseeable, many event organisers have tapped into technology and turned to the digital world. And 7 months in, the digital event space is booming.

The Explosion of Digital Events

Back in 2019, the majority of marketers (61% to be exact) believed that in-person events were the most critical marketing channel – according to Bizzabo, a whopping 93% of event marketers plan to invest in virtual events going forward - Bizzabo, 2020.

events marketing statevents marketing stat

However, we’ve seen mixed success with the shift. It’s not enough for organisers to simply pick up the previous success of an in-person event and replicate it online. In order to reap the rewards of an online event, organisations will have to re-strategise and review their event goals.

A lot can be lost within the journey from stage to screen, and the way content is consumed virtually is a totally different ball game that needs to be re-considered. How is the event utilising digital opportunities and not just using it as a substitute? While digital events can offer a wider reach to the audience and save costs, it’s much harder to replicate engagement and captivate the attention of the attendees.

Has the host factored in where the conversations are going continue now that they can’t take place in person? Is there a seamless journey for follow up calls to be scheduled? A live Q&A? Online chat? Or social media?

It’s also important to consider the virtual platform that will play the ‘venue’ in the online event. An online event hosted on a high-quality virtual event platform has the capability to streamline the process and customer journey. Nothing kills a virtual event like a technical issue. Attendees will use the platform to view content, network and interact with sponsors, so the power of the platform shouldn’t be underestimated.

Virtual event platforms have the ability to host:

  • Event livestreams
  • Virtual networking
  • Schedule and agenda

Sadly, gone are the days of excitement for a virtual pub quiz and a zoom catch up call. As virtual is becoming the new norm – our attention span begins to wear thin. Virtual events are quickly becoming a crowded space and there needs to be something special in order to stand out from the crowd. If it’s not the venue, the music or the atmosphere then what’s it going to be and how will it translate into the virtual world? Online events that have thought outside of the box to offer an experience that is different to their competitors are the events that will likely generate the greatest returns.

Our top 4 virtual events not to miss:

 

Making the Most of a Digital Event

Amongst new cost per lead considerations, a new scope of audience reach and a decrease in face-to-face interactions, virtual events offer a variety of benefits as well as obstacles to be considered.

One of the big questions to ask in the new era of events marketing is: Are you getting the most out of digital exposure?

The power of online promises higher reach, and potential for seamless, digitally enhanced conversions if digital brand exposure is utilised, and utilised well.

Building social media into an event marketing strategy is essential now more than ever as it allows brands to connect with attendees both before and after the event.

As a sponsor, negotiating the maximum amount of social posts that mention and tag your brand can increase both reach and visibility to the audience. This provides a platform to open the conversation and continue the communication with not only the attendees of the event, but also with a wider audience that may not have been able to attend.

Consideration checklist: 

  • Agree a specific quantity of promotional social posts from the organiser tagging your brand 
  • Negotiate your brand logo and backlink on the organiser’s website 
  • Negotiate additional promotional content (blog post, Q&A etc.)

Variations of Digital Marketing Events

Online marketing events don’t have to be a one-stop shop. There are a variety of traditional marketing events that can be transported into, if not enhanced by the power of the digital world. Each one attracts a slightly different attendee list offering individual benefits depending on the goals of an events marketing strategy.

Webinars

Webinar’s are often hosted live by one or two presenters who can virtually address a large audience at any one time. While webinars often feature a Q&A at the end of a session, attendees' interaction is typically limited throughout the presentation.

Webinars often cater to a specific industry and level of skill and seniority in order to provide the most value to the attendees. By registering with personal details often such as company and job title, webinars can provide the perfect stack of virtual business cards from a very targeted audience.

Virtual round tables

Round table events are often made up of a pretty exclusive guest list of VIPs, targeted mainly at the decision makers of a company. They provide the opportunity to engage in meaningful and thought-provoking conversations and build a solid base of trust with the attendees. With the guest list being about quality not quantity, the number of attendees are often are the lower side - making it much easier to engage in conversation in a virtual setting.

Online masterclasses

Like webinars, masterclasses usually cater to a specific industry with an even more specific topic area in mind. They typically attract more senior attendees with a singular focus or skill-set that they’re looking to expand on, in depth. Masterclasses are usually hosted in more intimate groups so where more engagement is encouraged.

Long-term relationships can be established and built between a brand’s marketing and sales teams through demand generation. In most cases, the digital climate doesn’t act as a hindrance and even during a pandemic - budget permitted, you could find yourself lucky enough to continue to utilise demand generation – business as usual.

Some great demand generation options to consider are as follows:

  • Ebook Content Syndication
  • Ebook Content co-sponsorship
  • Paid media outreach: e.g. LinkedIn & Facebook

The Future of Marketing Events

It's likely that any in-person marketing events during the rest of this year (and who knows how far into the future) will have to be run on a smaller scale with fewer attendees, taking into account social distancing measures and travel restrictions - which look to be sticking around.

However, the production and management required to run a small event can be surprisingly similar to running one 10X in size – which in theory doesn’t make for a great ROI. Similar costs going out, but a significant decrease in number of attendees going in. But this may not necessarily be a bad thing. Smaller guest lists could mean more intimate conversations and more personal relationships can be formed between client and customer.

But what if there was a solution on the horizon that offers the best of both worlds? Enter: Hybrid events.

Hybrid events are a creative combination between both in-person and virtual marketing events. That’s right, you really can have your cake and eat it too. Hybrid events have already proved their success and take place across the globe. A great example is the Olympics. A live event set in a real-life venue with an engaging crowd along with attendees and interviewers on site. The event is also broadcast live to millions of viewers around the world.

So, there may have to be a little more crowd control in this day and age, but you get the idea. By even having 1% of your audience in-person, the atmosphere can resonate through the screen to the remaining 99%.

In a rapidly expanding digital world, we’re collecting more customer data than ever before. Understanding and utilising this data means we can better understand our customer and offer them a more meaningful, personalised experience. With the majority of our customer data living online, and virtual marketing events here to stay, it’s time to unite the two and inject a personalised experienced into our marketing events strategies.

The digital marketing event space so far has been restricted to standalone webinars and versions of virtual events we haven't yet figured out. Webinars have remained completely disconnected from in-person events and these gaps have been reflected in the customer journey.   

Could 2021 be the year that marketing events step out of the silo?

68% of event marketers reported that a hybrid solution that can manage both virtual and in-person events will play a key role in the 2020 and 2021 event strategies according to Bizzabo, 2020.

hybrid stat graphic

If organisers are able to innovate the same level of experience online, while hosting more intimate (socially distanced) in-person events, the hybrid event may be the answer to all our prayers.

Bviewing both in-person and virtual events as part of a series of connected engagements, marketers will be able to create a connected, omnichannel journey and step out of the event marketing silo once and for all.

 

Events Marketing Best Practice

There’s no shortage of marketing events to choose from, so selecting the best fit for your brand and narrowing down the most successful marketing events can often seem an impossible task. While the common goal for events marketing is to build brand exposure and generate leads, to measure the true success of an event - there’s more to it than totting up ticket sales and skimming over ROI.

It’s also important to consider getting out what you put in. The best results come from great communication and collaboration between sponsor and organiser.

Your events marketing success can be bolstered by a great session type, topic and title, ensuring maximum promotion via your own channels as well as the organisers, seeking content publishing opportunities to the event audience, considering attendee special offers and ensuring speed to lead processes are defined for post event connectionsPre, during and post event planning are equally as important to ensure maximum exposure and success. 

Event selection

The criteria for selecting your events should centre around the attendees the event brings in. Attendees are where you will find 90% of your value as a sponsor, so if the attendees aren’t right for your brand chances are the event isn’t either. Focus on audience relevancy and access to the attendees rather than being blind-sided by the size of the guest list.

Quantifying objective measurements and demographics of the type of audience a specific event attracts can determine whether the event is right for you.

Begin with the end in mind. Lead generation and conversion comes first.

Make sure the people you’re going to be surrounded by are decision makers and budget spenders. Ask your hosts the provide job title overviews so you can grasp the seniority of the attendee list. You want to be talking to people in the position to make your conversions count. Even if they’re not in a position to spend the budget there and then, you want to be connecting with the people who have the power to do so at some point in the future.

Event management

Integrate your content marketing strategy with your sponsorship. Think pre, post and during the event. Connecting with attendees starts before way before you set foot into the venue (or opening your laptop in these #WFH times) and in fact, making the connections beforehand is more vital than ever with virtual events.

Shout out on social media. Follow the event hashtag to connect with those attending before and after the event. DM on the day to meet (or virtually chat) on the day of, ideally by this point you’ve already established some common ground. Connect with all the event speakers and push out organic and paid posts shouting about your sponsorship and ensure you tag the event organiser and speaker to gain maximum reach.

Bring your customer journey to life. Make a memorable experience people talk about and stand out from the sponsorship crowd. In the real world think swag packs and quality merch to bring brand

ing beyond the day. In virtual presentations think about a digital call to action that takes attendees to your site or redirect to other content you have produced.

Have your event follow up sequences seamlessly prepared to send within 1 hour of receiving attendee data from the organiser. Get app contacts researched and email addresses guessed to speed up the follow up process.

Measuring success

According to Integrate, pre-COVID more marketing budget was spent on events than any other channel. However, marketing events continue to be the hardest channel in which to measure a demonstrable return.

The conversations determining the success of marketing events often revolve around three little letters: R O I. And most of the time, the conversation stops there. But often this doesn’t paint the full picture. If you’re only measurement is ROI, you risk assuming too much.

So, here’s a curve ball: a great marketing events’ purpose is not to get you cash in the door – it's to get you connected to the right people. And as you can imagine, this can be a little harder to measure.

Ultimately, it comes down making sure you have sales qualified leads and connecting with people that matter, people who are relevant and profiled against the audience.

However, it would be inaccurate to measure whether or not someone has purchased your product based on that event alone. For example, you could be connected with the right person, but it just so happens that you catch them at a time that they don’t have a budget available to them. This doesn’t mean the event wasn’t successful. It means the timing was wrong.

Equally, it could be that you were connected with the right person, but they ended up selecting an alternative provider over your solution. Again, that’s not necessarily because the event wasn’t successful. It may simply be that one of your competitors had benefits over your own solution, or it could be that the lead hadn’t been converted at the speed, and the depth, that they should have been.

There are a number of external variables that could have contributed to the lead not taking a particular solution. This isn’t to say the marketing event didn’t achieve what it should, in terms of connecting the right people to the right product.

It’s not to say that event marketing shouldn’t be ROI driven, but you need to understand the full customer journey to evaluate the true success of an event. Ensure you base your assessment on metrics which the event provider can control and not on external variables, or you face the risk of an inaccurate evaluation of events where the extraneous variable is a $hit hot salesperson that attended one event and not the other.

It’s important to be aware of external factors that may influence your marking. Take COVID – you could still be attending virtual or social distanced marketing events and being connected with all the right people, but in the midst of a pandemic, marketing budgets are tighter than usual and so you’re not seeing the conversion you would anticipate.

Rather than changing your method of lead generation, change your criteria. You can ask a marketing event to provide you with the right connections, but you can’t ask it to provide you with the cure for COVID, or bags of client cash. The scenario will then unfold where those connections can be nurtured until there is the right time to access their budget.

Top Questions to Ask your Organiser

  • Can I see a sample attendee list?
    Asking for the previous years’ attendee list is a great way to gain insight.
  • Can you provide an audience overview of industry, company size and revenue, job title and seniority splits?
  • How many attendees do you typically attract?
    And many of those are sponsors?
  • Who has sponsored in the past, are they renewing?
    If not why not?
  • Who will speak at the same time as us?
  • Do you offer exclusive vendor category sponsors?
  • Do we get attendee details?
  • How many people can you guarantee at our session?
  • What event tech do you use? 
  • What is the data sharing process post event? 
  • What session topics and themes have been popular in the past? 
  • Are there opportunities to publish to your audience pre-event? 
  • Do you share branded assets for us to use across our own platforms?