What keeps event planners up at night? What’s working and what’s not? Eventbrite offers answers in its annual report on trends in the event industry. One thousand event professionals in the United States and Canada were surveyed on a wide range of topics, including budgets, marketing strategies and technology. Here’s a snapshot.
Who Took the Survey?
Forty-four percent identified as a CEO, founder, director or equivalent position. Eighty-three percent are charged with setting up ticketing or registration, and 82 percent are involved in promoting events.
Forty-five percent of survey takers had teams of two to five, while 28 percent said they ran the entire operation. Those with 10 or more employees comprised only 12 percent.
More than half expected their current team to remain the same size throughout this year, while 38 percent expected their team to grow.
Which Strategies Work and Which Don’t
Email marketing was considered the most effective and most-used tactic, with 86 percent of survey takers noting that they include email marketing in their strategies; 41 percent said electronic outreach was “moderately to extremely effective” in their marketing campaigns. Seventy-eight percent said they would continue using email marketing in 2018.
On the other end of the spectrum, webinars were considered the least effective promotional tool, especially for smaller businesses trying to reach a wider audience. Tools that could take their place included experiential marketing, influencer marketing and content marketing—95 percent of companies using these methods considered the tactics effective.
Social Media Superstars
Social media tactics were tremendously important in 2017, and that doesn’t appear to be changing in 2018. Facebook was considered the most popular platform to reach a desired audience, with 57 percent using paid ads.
When it comes to reaching and engaging with online followers, 96 percent of event planners said social media content was the best choice, with nearly half stating that they were “very or extremely effective.” Added incentives are one of the easiest ways to boost response from your audience.
Where the Money Goes
Forty-three percent reported that most of their budget goes to marketing and promotion. Locking down speakers and talent was the next top expense, at 32 percent. Printed materials come in third, at 29 percent—despite the popularity of electronic media, handouts and mail are still prevalent.
Top Challenges of 2018
In 2017, 91 percent reported that insufficient budget was the top stressor; 72 percent of event planners had an annual budget of less than $30,000. Other sources of stress included reaching new attendees and securing sponsors, at 86 percent and 83 percent, respectively.
This year, 89 percent said reaching new attendees is becoming the top stressor, especially with budget constraints, tying with securing speakers and talent.