Conference News: What business brands want from their B2B experiences in 2024

Scott Micklethwaite, Managing Director, Wonder, forecasts the trends impacting brand experiences in 2024.

  • Business experiences are an increasingly effective marketing tool for B2B brands, with events taking 21% of corporate marketing budgets. As the strategy matures, big players – such as Google, Canva and Visa – are refining what they want from a new breed of B2B experience. Just a few years ago, businesses asked for experiences to be stuffed full of celebrities and the latest wow factor tech. But 2024’s B2B events are likely to take a more grown-up turn:

    TED Talkification

    ‘TED Talkification’ of culture has led to shorter and more youthful anecdotal presentation styles. Events are less about delivering specific information, a la lecture hall. Instead of focusing on five facts, focus is shifted to demonstrating why the facts are useful. Position the audience as a friend who’s not talked at, but presented with their needs specifically in mind. Such interactions become more human and personal. 

    The Polymath

    Celebrities are no longer enough. Attendees want more value. Enter the Polymath. Rihanna, Ryan Reynolds and Gwyneth Paltrow – they’re all as well known for their business credentials as their star power. Storytelling is more interesting when featuring a celebrity who also has links to the business world. Their public persona opens the door for delivering something different but insightful; like talking about how an acting career can lead into exploring the crossover of different ecosystems. 

    Carpe Diem

    During the pandemic, we sat indoors and wished we’d done something back when we could have. This has had a lasting, behaviour-changing impact. We now approach a B2B invitation with a Facebook cull mentality, making more astute choices about how to spend our time. Audiences aim to seize the day, but only in a well curated way. Events must be tailored to the right people, giving them justification to attend and an exciting point of difference. Even for sexy B2B brands, heightened audience expectations mean pushing the boundaries of briefs. 

    Legacy Kickstarter

    Clients want events to start something special, to start a legacy. By investing in audiences, the power of community can be leveraged: creating long term connections, building communities for the following year and bringing people together for a shared experience. Once a legacy is formed, brand stories can evolve and conversations can be entered with a level of familiarity. The more a community of advocates is fostered, the less a brand has to start every conversation by promoting itself.

    Helpful Tech

    Advancements in technology have made events more complex. But the rush to cram in all the latest tech has evolved into a more nuanced approach, such as ensuring a 15-minute talk is available online immediately after an event. This approach means attendance can be tracked to help deliver more personalised experiences. Something as simple as an NFC tag means, once tapped, an attendee receives useful digital content with no need for printed materials. Although the event tech conversation is dominated by OpenAI, the most useful advancement is cloud technology that means presentations can be updated at the drop of a hat. 

    As client briefs continue to shift in pursuit of audience attention, it’s important to remember the catalyst for these changes lies in increased expectations; a goal that can only be achieved by delivering interactive connected experiences, stepping back from headline talent and focusing on adding value to people’s working lives.