Issues and Trends in Exhibit Space and Sponsorship Sales Report Released

October 21, 2014

Exhibit Surveys and Lippman Connects recently released the second annual report: “Issues and Trends in Exhibit Space and Sponsorship Sales”.

According to the survey of event organizer executives, growth in both exhibit space and sponsorships sales appears healthy. 

Improvements in the economy and support by industries represented by the events were cited as the primary reasons for growth in both areas.

Even with the positive news for both exhibit and sponsorship sales, Sam Lippman, president and founder of Lippman Connects, pointed out there was room for improvement.

He said senior management could offer more time to the sales effort (46 percent thought that senior management offered “weak support”); senior management could provide additional staff to the sales team (50 percent thought that senior management offered “weak support”); and Sales and marketing could be more aligned (49 percent thought that marketing strategy and tactics were not aligned with sales).

Skip Cox, CEO of Exhibit Surveys, said the survey results “shed more light on the strong correlation between attendance growth and exhibit space sales, as organizers confirmed that the biggest challenge to space sales is the need to grow and validate growth in buyer attendance.”

He added, “With the majority of respondents indicating that space sales had increased over the previous event, it was surprising that most organizers (83%) are making use of incentives to close these sales.  An interesting disconnect here was that the incentives most frequently being offered (e.g. postal mailing addresses for exhibit promotion) were NOT the incentives that organizers thought were most effective (e.g., email addresses).”

Here are some of the report’s findings:

·         Exhibit space sales provide half of event revenue, while sponsorship sales account for 16 percent.

·         A healthy 63 percent of respondents reported an increase in exhibit space sales for their most recent events.  Changes to the sales strategy, including the adoption of a more consultative relationship with exhibitors, along with an increase in personal outreach to exhibitors, were credited for the increase in sales.  More than half cited the need to grow attendance as the leading challenge in selling space.

·         Half saw an increase in sponsorship sales for their most recent events.  Demonstrating the ROI value of sponsorships to potential sponsors was the most significant sales challenge.

·         Most (83 percent) organizers offer incentives in their effort to grow sales.  USPS lists of attendees, discounted sponsorships, and discounted advertising are offered most frequently.  However, organizers consider attendee email address lists, crediting some of the drayage cost, and discounted exhibit space to be the most effective.

·         40 percent of organizers did not feel the need for sales training.  For those wanting to train their staff, most are interested in training on the use of audience demographics and event data in the sales process, followed by training on consultative selling techniques.

This study was released at the October 2014 Lippman Connects Exhibit Sales Roundtable. A link to the full report is HERE

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