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Event Marketing


 What are current trends and best practices for event marketing?

"Next-gen" events can drive depth and breadth of customer engagement that lead to better brand awareness, lead generation, retention, and loyalty. However, with the hybridization of events, inflation and budgets tightening for companies and individuals alike, an ongoing concern marketers face revolve around event and activation strategies, which can also be something of a moving target.

It comes without surprise that despite living in an increasingly digital world, with virtual events performing well due to ease, an Adobe report stated that many people still value physical events. Instead of forgoing one for the other, marketers should embrace a varied and holistic approach to events that meet the needs of various audiences. 

The report noted that a Bizzabo survey "discovered that 95 percent of respondents believed that live events provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world." Further, a report by Skift Meetings found that "a clear majority of planners agree that events today use more technology, are planned with shorter lead times, have smaller attendance, and most include the option to attend remotely compared to events pre-COVID."

Leading with purpose and personalization can help marketers plan events that provide value and meaning for attendees. A more localized approach can aid this strategy, and provide a way to speak authentically and effectively to different groups, as well as create more intimate and accessible settings. Bigger isn't always better. 

For instance, the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk did just this and focused on building community through "hyper-local coverage that connects with Walkers on a personal level to emphasize the mission," as described in an ANA case study. Intentionality matters, and makes a notable difference with success.

Matthew McCarthy-Clark, marketing manager at SHRM, explained at an ANA event to lead with purpose, and how it's made a difference for SHRM events, stating, "We are more thoughtful about purpose and audience."

Below are resources on event strategies that provide a general sense and flavor of event strategies and trends today – and tomorrow.


  • An Outlook on Events in 2023. Splash, February 2023.
    This global survey asked event professionals everything from the importance of branding and keeping up with today's buyers to event formats, budgets, and event tech. Their collective answers shed spotlights on key trends in event marketing and gave us valuable insights into what's trending, what's working, and what's giving them grief. Sample finding:

  • The Event Strategist's Guide to 2023 Experience Planning. Event Marketer/Cramer, January 2023.
    The stakes are high for 2023 event experience planning. Brands expect their budgets to nearly match 2019 spend levels, according to recent research, yet it's as much a sigh of relief for event strategists as a breathtaking challenge. The way events are produced, consumed, measured, and entrenched in broader organizational goals have all changed. Audiences are everywhere. Personalized engagement is non-negotiable. Timelines are tight. But much of the solution lies in embracing the modern attendee's perspective: Content isn't part of the experience; content is the experience. This presents a playbook for the new event experience.

  • State of Business Events. Skift, November 2022.
    This report represents a vital snapshot of the moment when most of the world's meetings and events came back to in-person formats. Across the industry, there are positive signs for in-person gatherings. Virtual and hybrid gatherings continue, but the tide has shifted back to face-to-face. Even now, while the industry is bustling, it is essential to take an objective look at the data to predict the impact of any upcoming challenges.

    This survey revealed that a clear majority of planners agree that events today use more technology, are planned with shorter lead times, have smaller attendance, and most include the option to attend remotely compared to events pre-COVID. Sample finding:

  • Event Marketing: Everything You Need to Know. Adobe, July 2022.
    Event marketing can help you engage your customers and get your brand noticed. Today's consumer faces countless pitches and advertisements every day, so when it comes to running an event, you need to catch the buyer's eye. This guide talks you through everything you need to get started.

    Also from Adobe, see: How to Measure Event Marketing Performance and ROI.


  • SHRM Cracks the Code in Use of Audience Segmentation Across Membership and Event Marketing. ANA, February 2023.
    SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) is a vital resource for HR professionals, business owners, and companies' leaders worldwide. Since the pandemic, the organization adopted new tactics to provide the right message to the right audience at the right time in the channels where their different audience segments reside.

    Mike Kalyan, events marketing manager at SHRM, and Matthew McCarthy-Clark, marketing manager at SHRM, discussed how leveraging data and content and leveraging email with a mix of direct mail and paid media channels played key roles in their success. They also shared how their cross-functional teams worked together to build a dynamic program that blew through membership counts, attendee registration, and revenue goals in 2022.
  • Creating Meaningful Event Connections with Consumers. ANA, February 2023.
    At a February 2023 meeting of the ANA Sponsorship and Experiential Marketing Committee, Penguin Random House shared its approach to event marketing. The company shared some of the factors it considers when first conceptualizing a consumer marketing event. These factors include:
    • The audience (whether targeting existing fans or a new community that needs exposure to the publisher's offerings).
    • Objective (e.g., whether to show fan appreciation or promote an author).
    • The size of the event needed.
    • The best region (being careful to eschew any East Coast bias).
    • The budget and logistics (to maintain efficiency).
  • Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk Puts Participants at the Heart of New Campaign. ANA, July 2022.
    Using a tailored pitching process and homing in on stories about participants, the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk was able to overcome the challenges for an in-person walk created by the pandemic and leverage a wealth of earned media coverage to inspire thousands of people to participate in 2021's virtual edition of the annual fundraising event.

  • Mastercard Recognizes Small-Business Excellence with an Awards Program. ANA, July 2022.
    Mastercard, in association with Bank of America, created the Small Business Impact Awards to honor small businesses' excellence in the areas of innovation, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and giving.

  • How Westcoast Cloud Reimagined its Event Series Through Listening. ANA, July 2022.
    Westcoast Cloud reimagined the visual identity and messaging for its event series to strengthen its position as a Microsoft expert and help its partners take their business to the next level.


  • Creating Memorable Virtual Experiences. ANA, April 2022.
    Connecting with audiences virtually is here to stay. Brands can capitalize on incorporating virtual experiences into campaigns, but how can they overcome the burnout many audiences feel from constant virtual interaction? In this webinar, learn how to differentiate your brand through innovative digital experiences, how to incorporate digital experiences into offline events to extend audience engagement past one interaction, and what measurement tools and capabilities are needed to successfully execute a virtual experience and leverage audience data captured.


  • Event Marketing Plan Playbook. ANA/Demand Metric.
    Use this step-by-step playbook and set of 21 premium tools and templates to create a comprehensive event marketing plan.


  • Sponsorship & Event Marketing Committee. ANA.
    The Sponsorship and Experiential Marketing Committee is for members who are responsible for their organization's sponsorships, corporate partnerships, and experiential marketing initiatives. Members of this committee benefit from a forum where marketers share case studies, best practices, and network, ultimately elevating each other's expertise while helping to effectively support their organization's overall marketing efforts. To join this committee, select it from the list found here.

The Marketing Knowledge Center actively connects ANA members to the resources they need to be successful. You can visit the ANA website to engage with the MKC in three ways.

              • Explore content to access best practices, case studies, and marketing tools. Our proprietary content includes Event Recaps, which share actionable insights from conference and committee presentations.
              • Connect with our Ask the Expert team in real time for customized answers to your specific marketing challenges.
              • Stay on top of trends with Marketing Futures Pulse issues, which explore how new technologies and innovations will affect marketers and consumers alike. 

Submit a request to Ask the Expert here.


"Event Marketing." ANA, 2023.