CEIR, SISO Unveil 2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study

April 18, 2015

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has teamed again with the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) to produce its latest publication, “2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study”.  

CEIR has conducted research with young professional attendees since 2009. With funding from SISO, this first-ever initiative offers insights on young exhibitor attitudes and preferences about business-to-business exhibitions.

“SISO is pleased to entrust this important exhibition industry research to CEIR with financial underwriting. Young exhibitors today are the brand marketers of the future who will make the decisions to exhibit,” said SISO Executive Director Lew Shomer.


He added, “Understanding what they think about the channel and what they value most is essential to our industry's ability to respond to their preferences and assure a prosperous future. We are pleased that CEIR has done such a great job with our grant to provide this important attitudinal survey about our younger exhibitor personnel."

Here are five key findings:

·  Nearly all (98 percent) of young exhibitors find that exhibitions deliver unique value that cannot be fulfilled by other marketing or sales channels. The most popular aspects speak to the ROI, the ability to achieve multiple sales and marketing objectives in a compressed time period, with engaging face-to-face with customers and prospects top-ranked.

·  For young exhibitors, exhibitions mean business: More than seven out of 10 young exhibitors view the exhibition channel as a medium to accomplish multiple important marketing and sales objectives.

·  For young exhibitors, at the core of the in-booth experience is the product itself and attendee interaction with product and exhibit booth staff. Young exhibitors find tactics which feature the product (71 percent) give attendees opportunities to interact with product (67 percent) and provide settings that enable booth staff to engage with attendees (66 percent) as the most effective ways to interact with attendees. A majority also find various digital interactive elements, giveaways and prizes as effective attendee engagement techniques.

·  It is all about face-to-face engagement and interactions: One-on-one conversations with exhibit personnel, with and without a product demonstration are the number one face-to-face settings of choice.

·  Keep it friendly and inviting! Emphasis on the importance of exuding a 'friendly and outgoing' approach is uniquely Millennial, and at 77 percent, it is a top-ranked trait young exhibitors look for in booth staff.

CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey, CEM, said, "We thank SISO for funding this study. Through partnerships like these, CEIR is able to deepen the value of its research, offering insights on the hottest topic areas that enable organizers and other players in the industry to keep current of trends and respond for competitive advantage. This particular study suggests the future of the industry is bright; though it also points out young exhibitors have unique preferences. Organizers need to pay attention and adjust content and marketing approaches to remain relevant and positioned for growth."

The “2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study” provides a comprehensive overview of young exhibitor attitudes, preferences and habits relating to the exhibition channel. It profiles career attitudes, how they impact attitudes regarding exhibitions and metrics assessing affinity to the channel. The report also takes a look at all facets of exhibiting – from importance placed on achieving marketing and sales objectives, reasons for avoiding exhibiting, as well as effective exhibiting tactics. Specific tactic preferences evaluated include booth offerings, face-to-face setting preferences, exhibit booth staff characteristics, and participation in a range of exhibition organizer offerings made available at each stage of an event. Communication preferences with organizers after signing up to exhibit are also evaluated.

In addition, the “2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study” examines significant differences by subgroups including job role, frequency of exhibiting, role in decision to exhibit and other key demographics.

This is the second generational study sponsored by SISO. In 2014, the organization funded theYoung Professional Attendee Needs and Preferences Study.

Click here to download the 2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study.

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