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Is There Still a Seasonality to Event Marketing?

Is There Still a Seasonality to Event Marketing?

Live events play a big role in B2B marketing strategy.

They give marketers and sales teams the chance to connect with customers, build brand awareness and generate new leads. 

Bizzabo research found that most B2B brands (55%) spend about 21% of their marketing budget on events. This sounds about right, as we found that the annual value of trade shows is something to the tune of $63 billion — and it’s only growing.

Today’s events are lively, motivational and provide immense value for organizers and publishers. 

Events and trade shows have traditionally taken place in the first quarter. Now that we are solidly into 2020, we were wondering if that still holds true.

The answer is a resounding yes! 

The first quarter of the year remains the most active time of year for B2B events. 

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Media Radar Insights: Annual Event Budgets

Percent of Annual Event Budgets Allocated by Quarter

Over the past 3 years, 70% of the dollars spent on sponsoring or exhibiting at events has happened during Q1. This is followed up by Q2, in which 21% of dollars spent on events occurs.

CES and NRF Retail’s Big Show are two of the big events helping to drive this massive January spend. 

CES: CES 2021 will be the 54th annual gathering of business’s driving consumer technology. CES attracts over 175 thousand attendees and 4,500 exhibitors. CES takes place every January in Las Vegas, NV. 

NRF Retail’s Big Show: Retail’s Big Show, organized by the National Retail Federation (NRF), brings together over 40,000 leaders in retail. Billed as the world’s largest retail conference and expo, this event has over 18,000 participating retailers and over 800 exhibitors. Retail’s Big Show takes place in New York City every January.

Only 3% of annual event budgets take place during Q3, that is summer. There is a slight uptick at the end of the year, with Q4 taking up 6% of event budgets. However, the amount spent during the second half of the year pales in comparison to Q1 and Q2.

We broke the event budgets down even further.

Percent of event spending first half year

We found that 43% of annual event budgets took place in January. 

This suggests that January is prime time for marketers to take advantage of large events. There are a number of ways to make the most out of these events, and planning for your first quarter to be ‘event season’ certainly seems like one way to prioritize this marketing strategy.

February sees a significant drop off in event spending, but is still noteworthy. 20% of allocated spending occurs during this month.

Following months trail off, hovering between 6-9% of event budgets. 

2020 events threatened by coronavirus outbreak

In January and February, we have seen rising concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. 

Companies and organizers are taking necessary precautions, which has already resulted in the cancellation of major conferences.

The world’s largest phone conference, Mobile World Congress, was scheduled to be held in Barcelona between February 24th and the 27th, but was cancelled for health and safety reasons.

Exhibitors and companies were already changing their plans when GSMA CEO John Hoffman released a statement, saying that it would be “impossible” to carry out the event. 

The coronavirus has already infected over 42,000 individuals and the death toll has reached over 1,000. It has been detected in over 25 countries. Considering that the conference was expected to showcase major phone makers from the Chinese market, it was prudent to reduce any risk of further outbreak. 

Other trade shows are proceeding with caution, while others scheduled in May are already cancelled.  

While it is too soon to tell exactly how much of an impact the coronavirus will have on events this year, we certainly will see shifts in spending.