Gail Chiasson, North American Editor
With many if not most of the digital-out-of-home/digital place-based industry exhibiting at various trade shows around the world – from ISE, ScreenMediaExpo, DSE, InfoComm, CETW down to small exhibits associated with company conferences and many in-between – we were interested in the 2011 Changing Environment of Exhibitions Study from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.The study explores how the exhibition industry is evolving and provides key market insights on opportunities and threats. Results will be released in 10 separate fact sheets with actionable suggestions for organizers and exhibitors who can use the results to enhance their business objectives.
The findings explore the current and planned use of the full array of available marketing, communications and sales tactics; positioning of business-to-business exhibitions in the mix; current, high-priority marketing and sales objectives and perceived value of using business-to-business exhibitions to achieve them; as well as the factors that drive the decision to exhibit or pull out of an exhibition.
The first fact sheet, ‘Exhibitions are Highly Valued in Achieving Marketing & Sales Objectives’ shows that marketing executives assign high value to using business-to-business exhibitions to achieve their most pressing marketing and sales objectives.
The top five, current high-priority marketing objectives for companies using B2B exhibitions are:
- building or expanding brand awareness – 83%
- new product or service promotions or launches – 63%
- reinforcing brand awareness – 63%
- promotions targeting specific business sectors – 58%
- existing product service promotions – 45%.
For executives identifying these objectives as high priority, 73% or more rate exhibitions as highly valuable in helping their companies achieve these goals.
The top five, current high-priority sales objectives for companies are:
- existing customer relationship management/engagement – 73%
- relationship management/engagement with key accounts – 67%
- relationship management/engagement with prospective customers – 64%
- generating new sales orders with existing customers – 57%
- generating new sales leads in general – 56%.
For executives identifying these objectives collectively as high priority, 77% or more rate exhibitions as highly valuable in helping their companies achieve these goals, with the exception of generating new sales orders with existing customers, where over 57% percent) assign high value to using exhibitions to achieve this objective.
The second fact sheet, Marketers Intend to Maintain or Expand Number of Exhibitions’, reveals that the use of business-to-business exhibitions remains constant and is projected to grow modestly, as companies adopt a broader array of marketing, communications and sales tactics.
Four out of 10 executives indicate they are participating in the same number of exhibitions today as they did several years ago. Looking out to the next several years, 85% of executives say the number of exhibitions will hold to current levels (60%) or will increase (25%).
The fact sheets are available online at CEIR’s web site. CEIR’s online research library offers industry professionals an array of tools to assist in the planning and marketing of exhibitions for organizers, exhibitors and suppliers.
This initiative is funded by grants from the Exhibition Industry Foundation, the MPI Foundation and CEIR.
The data for this study was obtained from an online survey of marketing executives across industry sectors who are involved in marketing and promotions decisions, including deciding whether to exhibit at exhibitions.