US corporate-event market size is growing along with its virtual segment: The global virtual events market was valued at $392.10 billion in 2023, and it's forecast to reach $1,388.4 billion by 2035—a CAGR of 11.2% from 2024 to 2035—according to a report published by Allied Market Research,

Two of the factors fueling such growth are (1) the expanded opportunities to use events for lead generation and brand awareness, and (2) advancements in event technology that reduce the complexity and cost of hosting virtual events.

External virtual events are an effective marketing channel for connecting and engaging with existing and potential customers. And companies recognize the business value that accrues from external events: 60% of business leaders and 80% of marketers indicate that events are critical to company success.

The ROI of Business Events

Business events— conferences, partner meetings, product launches, customer experience summits, and the like—can deliver both short and long-term marketing ROI in various forms:

  • Brand exposure
  • Customer engagement
  • Lead generation
  • Data and analytics
  • An enhanced digital footprint

Brand Exposure

External events are a powerful way to increase brand exposure; they allow companies to expand their reach, build brand presence, and raise brand value digitally.

By integrating external virtual events into their media mix, companies have an impactful opportunity to tell the brand's story and create excitement about products or services online.

Connecting with target audiences through external events also provides several ways to optimize brand identity. For example, companies can dynamically customize digital event registration pages and graphics to showcase and reinforce their unique brand online.

The promotion of external events also increases brand exposure. Email and social media campaigns, landing pages, search ads, and display ads all work to increase the visibility and awareness of both the company and virtual event itself.

Customer Engagement

The impact that virtual events have on enterprises' ability to forge meaningful connections is another valuable benefit. Starting conversations and building relationships through virtual events provides organizations with a pathway to learn more about their customers, strengthen customer trust, and increase loyalty.

Marketers can increase virtual audience engagement in their events by adding features such as chat, polling, and Q&A sessions that allow attendees to participate and interact.

Virtual events also provide an opportunity to gather feedback, which can unlock insights on customer needs and expectations.

When marketers involve participants across different touchpoints during events, participants remain engaged and feel more connected to the organization. That sense of connection can help build the sales funnel and generate warm leads.

Data and Analytics

The data and analytics of external virtual events are the best return on investment for marketers.

Data tells the story of how successful an event was. Event platforms with analytical data and reporting functionality are great tools for analyzing target-audience preferences, behaviors and engagement patterns. And when that data is integrated into marketing automation systems, the sophisticated marketer is provided with important event and lead information.

Such comprehensive analytics functionality provides a snapshot of the entire event lifecycle, telling marketers what worked well, what can be improved, and what should be repeated. All that data can be used to optimize the time, date, and format of future events to drive better interest, engagement, and business.

Insights from external virtual events can also be harnessed to look for trends, surface content ideas, and develop personalized email campaigns and offers.

Lead Generation and Revenue

External events yield literal ROI by generating pipeline and revenue. Digital event platforms that offer seamless integration with CRM and other tools make it easy for sales teams to follow up with leads post-event, address their specific pain points, and close deals that align with sales targets.

The technology unlocks behavior analytics and demographics, providing reports and actionable insights that increase lead generation to keep sales pipelines full and speed up the customer acquisition process.

Digital Footprint

Enhancing a company's digital footprint also extends to the figurative ROI of external events.

Marketers can repurpose virtual event content in a variety of ways to expand their digital footprint across various channels:

  • Blog posts are a valuable tool to highlight key takeaways from an event.
  • Polls, surveys, and infographics can be shared across social media platforms.
  • In-depth exploration of event topics can be used to create whitepapers and e-books.

Repurposing video content generated from external virtual events is also a great way to extend the life of an event, ultimately leading to a positive impact on ROI by providing an on-demand experience to target audiences.

Although event video is often long-form, it can be edited down so that it is appropriate for use on social media and other channels. For example, an hour-long webcast can be edited down into digestible 10-minute videos that can be hosted behind a gated form.

Marketers can also repurpose that shorter video content into email nurture content or a welcome sequence when someone signs up for the company newsletter.

Reposting video on social media such as LinkedIn or YouTube extends the shelf life of event videos and webcasts, and it provides audience engagement metrics that can be analyzed to determine the topics that resonate best, helping to inform future content.

Growing External Event ROI With Technology

Digital event platform technology is now a vital part of helping marketers realize ROI from external events.

These platforms can help marketers create interactive events that maximize attendee participation, bring virtual events to life with immersive experiences, personalize content around the unique needs and preferences of target audiences, and keep brand identity at the forefront.

The technology supports livestreaming, networking, and real-time data and analytics that help marketers give audiences the best possible experience so that they feel as if they are participating in an engaging, one-of-a-kind event.

Whether an external event is virtual or hybrid, digital event technology supports a seamless, interactive experience for all participants.

Marketers are also increasingly using event platforms to simplify event coordination, save costs, and increase attendance, as well as eliminate the technical challenges and glitches that can negatively impact participant experience and event ROI.

The digital platforms that deliver the most external event ROI for companies are user-friendly and scalable. They enable HD video streaming, they offer engagement opportunities along with powerful reporting and analytics features, and they provide enterprise-grade security to securely connect audiences.

* * *

Incorporating external event marketing into the media mix can greatly help with brand exposure, customer engagement, lead generation, data and analytics, and expansion of a brand's digital footprint.

Today, advancements in technology are boosting external event ROI in those areas and more, by providing new ways of reaching audiences and building meaningful connections with them to drive conversions, increase revenue, and boost brand awareness and recognition.

More Resources on Virtual Events for Marketing

How to Run Your Own Successful Virtual Conference

Virtual Events: 18 Ways to Rock at Virtual Engagement and Prove Value to Event Sponsors

Rethinking Industry Events: Get Comfortable With Flexibility

B2B Virtual Events: 12 Ways to Ensure Impact and Drive Topline Growth

Enter your email address to continue reading

The Case for Incorporating External Events Into Your Media Mix

Don't's free!

Already a member? Sign in now.

Sign in with your preferred account, below.

Did you like this article?
Know someone who would enjoy it too? Share with your friends, free of charge, no sign up required! Simply share this link, and they will get instant access…
  • Copy Link

  • Email

  • Twitter

  • Facebook

  • Pinterest

  • Linkedin

  • AI


image of Ken Roberts

Ken Roberts is CTO of webcasting solutions provider GlobalMeet. He helms Engineering, IT, Dev, Sales Engineering, and Product, spearheading GlobalMeet’s software strategy. He has 2+ decades of experience leading design, development, and integration of technology and digital road maps across dynamic environments.

LinkedIn: Ken Roberts