• By Category

  • By Type

  • Reset Your Search

How the Worldwide Pandemic Spurred Event Modernization to Drive Engagement and Maximize ROI

For B2B marketing and event teams, 2020 delivered a crash course in hosting virtual events. As social distancing rules relax, marketers are starting to shift to hybrid models that incorporate the most successful elements of virtual, while also using in-person events to build relationships with customers.

Key Findings

  • Although companies continue to invest in events, most are unable to measure event ROI. Events help companies generate leads and deepen customer relationships, but most companies struggle to quantify the return that individual events – and their overall portfolio of events – deliver back to the business.
  • The pandemic exposed many events technology modernization and skill gaps. Prior to the pandemic, most companies had little to no experience using event management software other than for registration purposes.
  • Companies are investing in event modernization to enable personalized experiences, drive engagement, and measure ROI. As respondents continue to plan virtual and/or hybrid events, they can access more insights to design personalized experiences and drive engagement.

Event Management Leaders Differ from Followers In Digital Maturity And Acumen

In 2020, all companies faced pandemic-induced event disruptions. Only a few had previous experience with virtual events that allowed them to pivot more easily.

Forrester built a maturity model to understand how a company’s experience with virtual events — and event management technology in general — shaped its event execution during the pandemic.

This model assesses key differences and helps us better understand how event teams are preparing for the return of in-person gatherings.

Respondents’ organizations were placed into one of three maturity groups: followers, intermediates, and leaders.

The maturity groups each organization was assigned were based on its level of experience using event management software, familiarity with hosting virtual events, level of collaboration between event-planning and marketing teams, and ability to measure event ROI.


Marketers and event teams learned new and helpful lessons about putting digital elements into action to make physical events more engaging and valuable to attendees.