Events are a big part of our business here at Media Makers Meet – Mx3, and over the years, we have witnessed first-hand how attendee expectations are changing, some of which are also borne out in our post-event surveys, writes Mx3 Co-founder and COO Cobus Heyl.
We continuously strive to anticipate and adapt to changing demands even before they happen. With this in mind, I asked our long-time research partner Syno International to do a cross-sector survey about the shifts for us.
I specifically wanted to do it cross-sector. On the one hand, I believe that you also need to look outside your own sector for inspiration, while on the other, many publishers in our audience focus on these sectors. We hoped the results could be useful to them.
Some of the notable outcomes include:
- The desire for human-to-human connection continues to trump virtual.
- Learning motivates people to attend; they take the most value from the networking.
- They want add-on activities to enhance the overall event experience. Event organisers should lean into location.
- Almost two-thirds value an event app. Information, seamless check-ins, and networking are key components of what the event app should do.
- Pre-event is about helpful information first and foremost.
- Post-event, people would most like the ability to continue conversations online.
Before we get into the results, here is a quick update on our three upcoming events.
**MX3 HQ Update**
>> Mx3 AI takes place on 7 December 2023 in London. From looking at the big picture to drilling down into current AI experiments, come and learn, discover, and discuss AI and the media with fellow professionals. We have limited tickets for this event, so if you’re interested, sign up ASAP. Click here for more, including speakers and the draft agenda.
>> Mx3 Barcelona focuses squarely on innovation in media, emphasising creator-led, consumer and B2B media operating in and across media verticals. It takes place on 12-13 March 2024. Our pre-agenda discounted offer is still available. Click here for more, including a list of confirmed speakers and what they’ll talk about.
>> The FIPP World Media Congress, which we produce on license from FIPP, takes place on 4-6 June 2024 in Cascais, Portugal. A magazine media world’s flagship global event, this will be the 46th edition since it launched in Paris in 1925. Our limited launch offer is currently available. Click here for more.
About our survey respondents
We surveyed 280 respondents across multiple countries worldwide, with the majority in Europe and the USA.
- Respondents were equally split between male and female.
- 81 per cent were between 25 and 54, with the majority – 34 per cent – aged 35-44.
- 66 per cent were senior managers, directors, and C-level.
- 60 per cent attended two or more events per year, 25 per cent once a year, and the rest less than once a year.
- 70 per cent were event attendees, 40 per cent were event sponsors, and 25 per cent were event speakers (the overlap is because they did not attend every event in the same capacity).
- They attended a wide range of in-person, hybrid, and virtual events. The top in-person events were Conferences (58 per cent), Seminars (48 per cent), Trade Shows (32 per cent), Product Launches (31 per cent), and Breakfast Meetups (29 per cent). Online, 45 per cent had participated in webinars in the past year.
They work in the following sectors:
Types of events
There remains a strong demand for what we can call information-led events, with conferences, seminars, and webinars the top three events of future interest.
They favour smaller events, with a big drop-off for events with 1,000 or more attendees. From our own anecdotal experience and surveys, this is down to two main factors:
- Smaller events have more of a community feel or a “sense of belonging”
- Smaller events make attendee-to-attendee networking better (if not easier)
In-Person or Virtual events?
Humans thrive on connections, so it is unsurprising that in-person events top virtual events.
However, when asked about the barriers to attending events, one can see how virtual events come into play thanks to their convenience.
In-Person Motivations and Value
There is a disconnect between what motivates a person to make an event purchase decision and their perceptions of the value they get out of events.
These naturally vary between the different types of attendees, i.e. whether they are sponsors, speakers, or general attendees. Overall, the results indicated that intelligence gathering (learning) remains a top priority, followed by doing business.
However, when you ask the question slightly differently – not the motivation for attending but the value they get from an event – the picture changes.
While adding other experiences to an event may not be a big purchase decision motivator, the survey results underscore the fact that event attendees want to get more out of their event attendance.
People want immersive experiences, whether that is in how they connect with others, testing local food choices, or experiencing tech. A developing trend is adding healthier activities at events. And event organisers should create “Instagrammable” and social media moments – after all, if you cannot post something online today, were you really there? 😉
Off-site, it is all about location, location, location. Besides the experiences that can be built around it, for example, leaning into local food choices helps.
Language remains a critical factor in the overall event experience. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being very important, 80 per cent of respondents gave it at least an eight:
- 15 per cent scored it as 8/10
- 21 per cent scored it as 9/10
- 44 per cent scored it as 10/10
Event apps are increasingly considered an important part of developing the event experience:
- 63 per cent of respondents said it was important to have an app
- 21 per cent were neutral
- 16 per cent said it wasn’t important
Events are not a “single occurrence” but a campaign. It starts well before the event, with various activities leading up to it. In this question, we asked what attendees find most valuable before an event.
Post-event elements are equally important. The top considerations are the ability to continue event conversations, and opportunities to engage with event content.
Further to the ability to continue event conversations online afterward, 50 per cent of respondents said they are “quite interested” (and 43 per cent “very interested”) in a post-event online community for networking.
This is an interesting consideration compared to the 25 per cent of respondents who said an online community is important pre-event. In the past, here at Mx3, we ran online communities before, during and for a very short while after events.
It shows that the actual event is the main trigger for conversations to be continued online – it probably only takes Psychology 101 to work out that it is because it is easier to connect and engage online with people you have met before.
Related: Also read my interview with Victoria Matey about the Psychology of Events.
Do you have any suggestions you’d like us to incorporate into our events (or even elsewhere across mediamakersmeet.com)? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Re-Cap: Upcoming Media Makers Meet – Mx3 Events
We’d like to see you at our upcoming live events in the UK, Spain and Portugal!
- Mx3 AI takes place on 7 December 2023 in London. From looking at the big picture to drilling down into current experiments, come and learn, discover, and discuss AI and the media with fellow professionals. We have limited tickets for this event, so if you’re interested, sign up ASAP. Click here for more, including speakers and draft agenda as things stand.
- Mx3 Barcelona focuses squarely on innovation in media, emphasising creator-led, consumer and B2B media operating in and across media verticals. It takes place on 12-13 March 2024. Our pre-agenda discounted offer is still available. Click here for more, including the list of speakers so far confirmed and what they’ll talk about.
- The FIPP World Media Congress, which we produce on license from FIPP, takes place on 4-6 June 2024 in Cascais, Portugal. A magazine media world’s flagship global event, this will be the 46th edition since it launched in Paris in 1925. Our limited launch offer is currently available. Click here for more.
We hope to see you at at least one event, if not all of them!
Co-founder and COO
Media Makers Meet – Mx3