CEIR Releases Updated Attendee Promotion Campaign Spending Report

March 8, 2017

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has released an updated version of its Cost to Attract Attendees Report.

As an invaluable resource for industry executives responsible for business-to-business exhibition attendee marketing, the report provides spending metrics and marketing mix allocation for exhibition attendee promotions, including the most effective marketing tactics for driving show attendance.

“This report is a resource for organizers to compare their attendee promotion spend and marketing mix practices with industry trends,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE.

She continued, “To maximize the usefulness of this report as a planning tool, we have broken out the benchmark statistics by key exhibition metrics. This enables organizers to compare their practices with similar events. For example, a smaller exhibition organizer by attendance volume can compare its approach to events of similar size.”

The 29-page report provides statistics on overall median spending levels, as well as on a per-verified attendee basis. 

Marketing mix by tactics is also examined, including which tactics are the most effective in driving show attendance. The findings are compared to those of 2013 when the study was last executed.

Metrics are also reported by six different business-to-business exhibition categories, including:

·      Gross revenues

·      Verified attendance

·      Net square footage (NSF) of paid space

·      Geographic scope of attendance

·      Whether an exhibition rotates locations

·      Type of exhibition organizer – association versus independent

The study’s biggest takeaway demonstrates that overall attendee marketing budgets aren’t growing and that the per-verified attendee cost has declined, which suggests that attendee marketers are bringing in larger crowds despite flat or reduced show budgets.

In terms of how marketing dollars are spent, the report also shows that there have been shifts away from tactics that involve higher out-of-pocket costs compared to digital alternatives and that direct mail and direct email continue to dominate, together capturing more than half of attendee marketing budgets for all types of exhibitions.

As far as which tactics are found to be most effective in driving attendance, more than 60 percent of users of eight different tactics rate them as effective, which affirms the critical importance of an integrated marketing approach.

In addition, the report cites that email continues to be the most effective attendee promotional tool. Compared to the 2013 report, more marketers also rate other digital tactics as effective attendance drivers.

Also covered in the report are the other notable differences of spending levels and marketing mix by type of event.

IAEE members can access the CEIR library and reports at no cost.

To download the full report, click here

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