The Event Marketer of Tomorrow: 5 Must-Have Skills for Success

May 11, 2022

Meisha Bochicchio, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Goldcast

Believe it or not, event marketing managers have been working their magic for over a century.

In 1893, the Chicago World’s Fair became the first documented example of experiential marketing, with soon-to-be million-dollar brands like Wrigley's, Pabst, and Cracker Jack introducing their products to the world.

Nearly 130 years later, the corporate event marketing industry is set to be worth nearly $511 billion by 2030. And the 20’s era of virtual and hybrid events? It’s already estimated to be worth $114 billion. 🚀

As the world of events has blossomed over time, so too has the role of the Event Marketing Manager. 

Today’s Event Marketer is expected to do so much more than simply put on a good show — they’re expected to take on crucial revenue-generating tasks integral to the growth of the company.

At Goldcast, we’re proud to partner with the many field and event marketing managers who are out there making it happen. 

Whether you’re just starting your career as an Event Marketing Specialist or you’re a seasoned Head of Events, here’s what we’ve been learning about the top skills required to excel in this field.

Top 5 event marketing skills:

  1. Impeccable B2B marketing skills
  2. An eagle-eye for branding
  3. Top-tier tech skills
  4. No fear of numbers
  5. The ability to lead

The evolution of the Event Marketer 🧬

With so much on the modern Event Marketing Manager’s plate, it’s hard to pin down exactly how this role has changed over the years.

Thankfully, Sarah Reed, Senior Director of Global Events at Zendesk, did a pretty stellar job of summing up the shift when we sat down with her in a recent episode of Event Marketers Live

“The traditional ‘event planner’ role at B2B companies is evolving into ‘event marketing.’ That’s where the industry is going. The big difference is event planners are all about overall event management. But marketers are also responsible for both the event management and performance-based components. It takes a lot of strategic thinking.”

According to experts like Sarah, in the past, B2B event pros were essentially event-focused project managers. They’d be assigned an event, plan it, and execute it. And don’t get us wrong, they did a truly epic job. (Seriously, kudos!👌🏻)

But a couple of decades later, the role of the Event Marketer now requires a much broader skillset — and the pressure to perform has risen.

Take e-comm giant Amazon, for example. In one of the company’s latest recruitment drives, they published the following Event Marketing Manager job description:  

‘The Events Marketing Manager will develop bar-raising content; drive the strategy and execution of the demand generation campaign; work with vendors to produce world-class online and offline events; and dive deep into post-campaign analysis to ensure all activities are delivering against predefined targets.’ 

Yep, all in a day’s work. 😅

Of course, no two event marketing roles are ever the same. Our own Field & Event Marketing Manager Compensation Report revealed that a variety of factors, including where you’re based, the industry you’re in, and the size of the company you work for, all impact what’s expected from an event marketing manager.

But one thing’s for sure: employers across the board value their event marketing managers, offering an average salary of $125K a year — nearly $70K over the national average.

If you’re an event marketing manager looking to elevate your role (and up your salary in the process), you’ll need a pretty impressive skill set — one that spans design, data, and leadership.

The five skills every event marketing manager needs

As a B2B event marketer, you’re already wearing more hats than a British monarch. But with the future of event marketing looking quite a bit different from the past, the key areas of responsibility are constantly changing. 

In our ongoing conversations with leading field marketers, we’ve pinpointed five core skills every event marketing manager needs.

1. Impeccable B2B marketing skills

Unsurprisingly, today’s event manager is expected to be a marketing mastermind. 

For experts like Michelle Cogliano, Senior Director, Global Field Marketing & Events at Transmit Security, full-circle marketing expertise is a prerequisite to the modern event marketer role.

“Field marketers need to understand all aspects of marketing and how they impact the sales organization and pipeline achievement,” she explains.

Today’s event marketers have mastered the complexities of a lengthy B2B sales cycle and tend to view events with an eye for the entire marketing funnel and how each stage creates a smooth path toward the next.

They also have a knack for understanding key demand gen tactics, content marketing, PR & media, marketing ops, and more.
As a field marketer, you truly are the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of your region.

2. An eagle-eye for branding

Today’s leading Event Marketing Managers don’t just understand the inner workings of a robust B2B marketing strategy; they also recognize the long-term value of event branding.

“Smartling’s identity and voice look professional, cohesive, digestible, and sleek,” says Smartling’s brand designer, Charrel Montalbo of the team’s Global Ready Conference. 

As an Event Marketer, you may or may not be the one whipping out Adobe XD and designing your event branding, but you will need a firm grasp on what works and what doesn’t.

That’s because the Event Marketing Manager is THE primary connector between your brand and your target audience. 

In this role, you’ll be expected to master your company’s branding guidelines, coordinate with the design team, and make sure every aspect of your event is 100% consistent with the brand. 

3. Top-tier tech skills

With 72% of Vimeo survey respondents expecting to maintain or increase their virtual event attendance even after the return of in-person events, it’s safe to say that knowing the ins and outs of a modern MarTech stack is a top skillset for event marketers.

Event marketing managers should be ready to evaluate, procure, and optimize a robust set of tech tools, including:

  • AdTech platforms
  • Social media engagement tools
  • Email marketing systems (EMS)
  • Marketing automation platforms (MAP)
  • Client relationship management (CRM) systems 
  • Content management systems (CMS)
  • Virtual and hybrid event technology
  • And more

Clearly, this list isn’t exhaustive. But if you’re looking to increase your event marketing skillset and level up in your career, it’s a great place to start.

4. No fear of numbers

With 13% of gross annual revenue at B2B tech companies going straight to marketing departments and 22% of that going directly towards events, it’s understandable that the C-suite expects something a little more concrete than ‘70% of attendees enjoyed our event’. 

As a modern event marketing manager, it’s your job to make sure every dollar you spend ties back to your event return on investment (ROI).   

To keep everyone from your executive to your sales teams fully on board with your events strategy, you’ll need to master two key financial areas:

  1. Event budgeting - knowing exactly what goes into a healthy B2B event budget, whether that be in-person, virtual, or hybrid.
  2. ROI and revenue tracking - mapping each attendee’s journey with deep data insights that flow seamlessly into your CRM is key to attributing revenue back to your events.

With the increase in virtual and hybrid tools, event marketing is fast becoming a numbers game. You’ll need to manage an event marketing strategy that drives pipeline and impact for your company. So pop on that revenue hat, and don’t be afraid to dive deep into the data. 

5. The ability to lead

By now, one thing is clear—event marketers are true superheroes. But even Batman needs Robin and Batgirl on hand to help save the day. 

The best event marketers out there know that B2B events are a team sport, which is why the ability to lead is probably the most crucial skill on this list.

Every event is different, but here’s just a glimpse at some of the different roles and individuals an event manager will need to collaborate with:

  • Sales: to execute an account-based management approach, utilizing event data to create ultra-personalized sales enablement and follow-ups 
  • Design & Production: to create your event branding, generate your event content and repurpose it to use across channels
  • Speakers: to make sure your event content is as impactful as possible
  • Moderators: to keep the event running smoothly on the big day
  • Attendees: to ensure everyone walks away from a successful event with an experience they’ll never forget

Leadership and management skills are essential for running great events—but don’t take our word for it! Michelle…

For modern event marketing managers, the days of “event planning” are over

The world of event marketing was already evolving fast. Then along came the 2020s. 

Clearly, what used to be a blanket “event planner” role has evolved into a critical revenue-generating function, and we’re here for every second of it. 

At Goldcast, we’re on a mission to champion the event marketers of the world and help make sure this role gets the respect it deserves. But don’t take it from us.

“One of the reasons we brought Goldcast on is because we’re data hounds. For us, a blind spot that we had in events was that data: Who are we capturing? How do we thoughtfully and correctly put them into the customer journey pre-event? How do we then get them back after the event? But also, do these events actually drive product adoption?” 

Fearless field marketers like Nina Butler, Senior Director of Revenue Marketing at Alyce, are using Goldcast to help bring their skills to light while driving greater outcomes for the organization.

“With Goldcast’s insights, we could say, ‘Here are our attendees month-over-month, and here's their product usage.’ What a powerful thing to be able to say without hours of manually stitching that data together.”

There you have it—the top five skills for event marketers according to top B2B event professionals. 💪🏽 

Prove your event ROI. Try Goldcast for your next event.

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