No in-person events until 2nd half of 2021, marketers say

75% said they were satisfied with virtual event experiences

Marketers continue to say they won’t attend in-person events into 2021 and are overwhelmingly satisfied with virtual events, according to MarTech Today’s July Event Participation Index. Third Door Media is the publisher of MarTech Today.

Only 3-in-10 marketers said they would attend an in-person event through the end of the first half of 2021, mirroring results from the June index. (At that time, we asked only about the likelihood of attending in-person events through the end of 2020.)

These results suggest that the surging number of COVID-19 cases, especially in the United States, as well as the absence of a vaccine, make it difficult for marketers to envision a time when large-scale, in-person gatherings will be safe to attend.

Online for now… and satisfied

Bright spots in the findings were the level of participation and satisfaction with online or “virtual” events that have proliferated since the onset of the pandemic.

Eighty-one percent of marketers said they attended a virtual event in the past three months. Three out of four respondents said they were satisfied with those experiences.

EPI Attendee Responses

Making the change

Some organizations are trying to replicate the trade show experience with virtual learning sessions, booths, and even networking receptions, while others focus exclusively on educational sessions.

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research has been tracking how trade show organizers, forced to cancel in-person events, have responded. Four-in-five are now producing virtual events. About 65% said they offered online educational sessions, 47% served sponsored or exhibitor content, and 41% attempted to host the full trade show experience including exhibition online, CEIR found.

We will continue to field our Events Participation Index throughout this pandemic so you stay informed of changes in attitudes toward in-person gatherings and apprised of sentiment toward alternate marketing opportunities including virtual events.