What’s in the CEIR Research Pipeline? Reply

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director

In this blog post, I’d like to share a quick overview of research reports that have been published to date in 2014, and what is yet to come in the next few months. This year’s research schedule is aggressive as we aim to conduct research in a broad range of areas to help exhibitions continue to keep pace with the evolving needs and preferences of exhibitors and attendees of business-to-business exhibitions in particular.

Reports released so far this year are focused  on  assisting organizers and exhibitors in developing marketing and content offerings to align with attendee needs and preferences. CEIR released the estimated total direct spend impact of exhibitors and attendees on the U.S. economy, documenting substantial economic impact:

The new edition of the CEIR Index is now available. It is the leading industry resource tracking overall market performance of business-to-business exhibitions in the United States. It reports on historical performance from 2000 to 2013 as well as providing a three-year forecast. Metrics tracked include: number of exhibitors, net square footage, number of attendees and revenues. No other resource offers such a valuable tool to assist in strategic planning and evaluating business development opportunities.

In the next several months keep a watch for more focus reports from the What Attendees Want from Trade Exhibition series. Additionally, data is forthcoming on benchmark data for organizers and statistics to help sell the value of exhibiting. Insights are also coming soon on best practices organizers are engaging in to effectively market to young professionals. Here’s a list of reports to come:

  • Attendee Preferences by Level in Organization
  • Cost to Attract Attendees
  • Floor Interaction Preferences Study
  • Generational Workforce Shift Study Report
  • Staggering Stats Update
  • Cost Effectiveness of Exhibiting


Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director

Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director

Attendees still want to see new products 1

By Barry Siskind, President, International Training & Management Company

CEIR’s report titled, Trends in Use of Exhibitions, (F05.12) is a must read for show managers and exhibitors alike.  One of the many findings focused on attendees reasons for participating in a trade show. Surprisingly the number one reason hasn’t changed in the last thirty years – “look for new products and vendors.” I think this finding points to an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

You have to ask yourself why anyone would go to a trade show to find a new product or vendor when all of this information is available at their fingertips without ever leaving their desk. The internet has made shopping easier and safer. There’s not a product or vendor out there that hasn’t been reviewed by someone on social media. So, for someone looking for a new product or people to do business with there is an unparalleled access to data and testimonials.

So, the question is why do they come to a trade show and identify their number one reason is to find new products? My guess is that it gives them a chance to do what the internet doesn’t allow them to do – experience.

At a show they have a chance to touch and feel, to  question and judge the vendors. In my opinion, that’s why trade shows are still so relevant and the number one place to see new products and find new vendors.

If I’m right then I believe it points to the need for a different approach to marketing a trade show, one that involves both the manager and exhibitor.

Do you agree?

CEIR Blog Contributor: Barry Siskind, President, International Training & Management Company

CEIR Blog Contributor: Barry Siskind, President, International Training & Management Company

What’s in the Secret Sauce that Makes Exhibitions Resilient? 1

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC CEIR Research Director

This week the new edition of the CEIR Index was released. Results reveal that the business-to-business exhibitions channel continues to grow incrementally, in parallel with slow growth of the U.S. economy. And growth in the near-term future is anticipated to accelerate. The Index has tracked the performance of the channel since 2000. In looking at the peaks and troughs of the industry, there is a parallel relationship between the exhibition channel performance and US GDP, as shown in the chart below.




History reveals the exhibition channel weathers each economic storm, it recovers when the clouds clear. So what makes the channel resilient, what’s the secret sauce?

Two white papers offer insights on what keeps exhibitors and attendees coming back.

White Paper – Aligning Exhibitions With What Attendees Want Most

Factors Behind the Resiliency of Business-To-Business Exhibitions


The ‘secret sauce’ is delivering the right mix of content and people for both exhibitors and attendees so they achieve their objectives for investing their organization’s money and their time to be there, basically, delivering ROI.

  • For exhibitors, this means delivering the right mix of the brand marketer’s target audience to the exhibition that enables the company to meet multiple marketing and sales objectives with both existing and prospective clients. It is always first and foremost about the quality of attendance.


  • For attendees, this means delivering the right mix of offerings that enable an attendee to achieve multiple shopping and learning objectives. First and foremost, shopping is the primary focus, including interest in in seeing new product technology, interacting with new products and having a chance to interact with the people behind the products. They also aim to achieve multiple learning objectives, both in accessing learning opportunities made available by an event or in an exhibitor’s booth, but also from their peers through networking. Exhibitions that are known to deliver the industry ‘under one roof’ offer the most compelling value proposition.

To obtain specific insights, take a minute to download the white papers above.

To pull down the most current edition of the Index, go to: http://www.ceir.org/store_products.view.php?id=2563

EXHIBITOR 2014 Recap Reply

by Adam Polaszewski, Director of Marketing, INXPO

Exhibit programs come in many different shapes and sizes. This was evident when walking the expo floor at EXHIBITOR 2014 last week in Las Vegas. From magicians to massive digital LED displays, this was the conference to see the best of the best compete for foot traffic. Having a small 10×10 booth on the show floor, I couldn’t help but feel intimidated but yet amazed by the creativity and execution of the surrounding exhibits. Each booth had a story to tell and everyone did it in their very own unique way.

CEIR_ALex Photo

In conjunction with the expo floor, the halls were filled with attendees hurrying to their next session or workshop. With so many different options and topics, ranging from deploying a basic exhibit program to the intricacies of booth design, it was great to see material being covered for all levels. As a co-presenter with Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director at CEIR, contributor of A Digital Playbook for Your Exhibit Program, I was surprised to see many exhibition professionals in our audience without a digital marketing strategy surrounding their events.

Having been on that side of the fence and not really understanding how or what digital tactics I should use to promote my exhibit/event, our session gave a variety of examples that highlighted trends in how exhibitors are implementing digital tactics in their exhibit marketing programs. To help attendees recap key takeaways from the session, we also thought it would be beneficial to give everyone access to a Digital Marketing Checklist. This checklist was designed to guide anyone interested in deploying one or many of the tactics mentioned, including:

  •          Social Media Outreach Channels
  •          Targeted Email Marketing Campaigns
  •          Using you Website a Promotional Vehicle
  •          Paid Media Strategy
  •          Utilizing Marketing Automated to Stay Connected & Informed

Here is where you can download the checklist. For those interested in reading the full report that was discussed in our session, go to: Digital Playbook. This report is available to you at no cost.

EXHIBITOR2014 Digital Playbook Session- Sneak Peek Video Reply

by Jennifer Rivera, CEIR Blog Manager

Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director, and Adam Polaszewski, Director of Marketing at INXPO, are gearing up for their session on Do You Have a Digital Playbook for Your Exhibit Program tomorrow at EXHIBITOR2014 held in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas. View the video to find out what is in store for tomorrows session! 

A Deep Dive into the Generations Reply

Jen Headshot lo-resBy Jennifer Rivera, CEIR Blog Manager

In the exhibition industry face-to-face interaction is very important; it’s what makes the industry go round. Many articles are taking a closer look at the future of the industry through research on the different generations. Millennials are said to be a generation that could potentially exclude themselves from face-to-face interaction. In the CEIR report Generational Differences in Face-to-Face Interaction Preferences and Activities, findings suggest this opinion is far from reality.

This report shares insight on the generational differences and similarities within all generations currently in the workforce.

  • The youngest professionals have preferences that mirror older professionals.
  • Findings among Boomers and Traditionalist professionals indicate continued commitment and perceived value of exhibitions in fulfilling their business needs.
  • This report suggests that the ability to interact online with colleagues offers synergistic opportunities to attract attendees to exhibitions, more so with younger professionals.

To access the full report, click here.

Exhibitors Get It – Exhibitions Deliver Unique Value Reply

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, CEIR Research Director


In today’s frenetic, fast-paced world, where business professionals are time-starved, forced to do more with less and the demands placed on their time keep piling up like a mountain under threat of an avalanche, business-to-business, brand marketers struggle to get the precious, in-person face time with their prospects and existing clientele.

When an exhibition is done well, where the event brings the buyers and sellers ‘under one roof,’ where it is truly a meeting of the industry, whether on a regional, national or international level, it provides an oasis to brand marketers, a setting to complete multiple, important objectives in a compressed time frame. Bottom line, it can deliver a time and cost efficient way to get many objectives done.

In CEIR’s Changing Environment of Exhibitions study, almost all exhibitors surveyed, 99 percent, identified one or more aspects of exhibiting that are unique, that are NOT replaceable by other channels. Telemarketing, digital, direct mail and the like can deliver certain benefits but the exhibition channel, for those who invest in this medium understand its power. The top-ranked, unique values of exhibiting speak to the ROI of participating, including:

  • The ability to see a large number of prospects and customers over a short period of time (60%)
  • Face-to-face meetings with prospects and customers (51%)
  • Ability to meet with a wide variety of players face-to-face (47%)

There are more key values identified in the full report, is available by going to: Exhibitions Offer Unique Value Not Provided by Other Marketing Channels

Digital Amplifies the Importance of Face-to-Face Marketing Reply

By Dr. Jeff Tanner

Provided below is an excerpt from Dr. Tanner’s blog, www.tannerismsontues.blogspot.com. He shares reactions to findings discussed at the AMA Educators’ Conference held in late February where he and other colleagues co-presented with CEIR’s Research Director Nancy Drapeau, PRC, to discuss trends relating exhibition attendee preferences.

Nancy Drapeau’s presentation on the value of trade shows at AMA last Saturday was not particularly surprising to me (no offense to Nancy, I just thought I was already aware of what the study had to say) – at least until she said, “Digital amplifies the importance of face-to-face.” In other words, yes, digital media is an important channel of communication for companies and of learning for shoppers and business buyers. But, when you really get down to it, the importance of that face-to-face communication is intensely greater. You don’t want to waste it and it’s not just random window shopping.

If you are responsible for a trade show booth, you cannot afford to take the chance on a bad experience. That attendee is there for a reason. That attendee made a significant investment to be there, both in time and money. That attendee wants more from you than the attendee of the past did.
Which is why it boggles my mind that booth babes are still part of some exhibit marketing plans. Not only is that offensive to half the population, it’s offensive to every attendee who is there to do more than get a brochure, which is most of them.

Further, Nancy’s data also show that large theatre presentations are not particularly useful, yet the last technology show I went to had about 15 percent of the booths built around a theatre. Ok, it was a small show, maybe five theatres out of 30 or 35 vendors, but still, way more than what people want. Do not give me the same pitch you have in a video on YouTube, I have already seen it.

Today’s attendee, especially the Millennial attendee, wants to talk to a real person, one-on-one, and preferably not a salesperson. They (and I have to say “they” as I’m not a Millennial) want to speak to a product designer, an engineer, or senior management – someone who will listen and has the power to change things, not just sell them something. This is the empowered generation and they demand to have their voices heard and that means someone has to be there to listen.

But isn’t listening to the customer a central tenet of today’s customer centric marketing philosophy? It is not just sell, sell, sell, we have to listen to the customer. Hah, just kidding.



Dr. Jeff Tanner, Professor of Marketing at Baylor University and Director of Baylor’s Business Collaboratory. To follow Dr. Tanner’s blog, go to: www.tannerismsontues.blogspot.com





For access to the presentation delivered go to: AMA Educator Conf – Highlights of Key Value of Exhibitions to Attendees

The Rewards of Integrating Digital Tactics in an Exhibit Program 1

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director

This past Sunday my family engaged in the annual ritual of watching the Oscars, staying up until midnight EST to find out in real-time which film was awarded Best Picture. I could have gone to bed but I wanted to be there to see the reaction of the winners, hear the speeches and all the rest. The event did not disappoint. I was also fascinated to see the ramifications of Ellen DeGeneres’ use of Twitter. In her nonchalant way, she kept taking silly selfies and posting them via her phone. By her simple actions, she temporarily brought down Twitter and effortlessly broke the most retweet record, with retweets still climbing, now over three million. Here, join in the fun, here’s the link to the famous selfie: https://twitter.com/TheEllenShow/status/440322224407314432/photo/1


 So, what does any of this have to do with exhibitions? Well, everything really. It is a great example of the power of digital media, how it can amplify the impact and connection with a physical event. It personalizes the engagement with those who choose to take that action. Hey, I have a picture, taken by Ellen DeGeneres with a number of actors and actresses I love!

Digital tactics fulfill many more roles than this one example. It is an effective method for communicating, engaging with audiences in a variety of ways and offers methods to propagate a message, as Ellen did with the selfie tactic, which worked amazingly well!

How can this parlay into a digital playbook for exhibitors? Digital tactics are currently being used to fulfill a variety of complementary purposes to maximize the success of exhibit programs. What are exhibitors doing today to integrate digital into their exhibit programs and what examples are out there to help build a digital playbook strategy for their exhibit programs? There are examples from very simple to quite involved approaches, options that can meet the needs of companies with small budgets to the largest.

At a session to be held at EXHIBITOR2014, I look forward to discussing topline trends in use of digital media by brand marketers, sharing examples of how marketers are integrating digital tactics and hearing stories and ideas from the audience.

I am also delighted to be joined by a guest presenter, Adam Polaszewski, Director of Marketing at INXPO, who will share Glassdoor’s use of digital media tactics along with traditional tactics that generated substantial rewards for the company.

If you are planning to attend EXHIBITOR2014, I hope you join us!

FMI :http://www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitorshow/2014/session.asp?ID=W301#.UxXoaVKPI5s

To pull down the Digital Playbook report at no cost, click here.

Exhibition Organizer Best Practice Approach of Digital Media Integration – How CES Does It Reply

By Karen Chupka, Senior Vice President of Events and Conferences, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)

Ms. Karen Chupka’s guest blog post offers an excellent example of how to effectively use digital media in exhibition marketing in a way that enhances an event’s communications, makes participant onsite experiences fuller and extends the conversation with constituents year-round. To learn more about current trends in the use of digital media in exhibition marketing, pull down the Digital Playbook report.

International CES  is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technology. CES represents the entire tech ecosystem and draws more than 150,000 attendees. We place a high value on our digital strategy, and engagement is the cornerstone of that strategy. Engagement provides us crucial opportunities to connect with our core audiences– International CES attendees, exhibitors and members of Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the association that produces the International CES.
The experience of attending a trade show like CES is all about interaction. We say that CES is an experience that engages all five senses. As a result we use digital media to extend this interaction at CES – from our website www.cesweb.org to our social media interactions to the experience the attendee has on the show floor. Each of these touch points gives us an opportunity to further engage with our audience and get to know them better.

This year more of our attendees were using smart phones and tablets to access our websites and social media sites.  As a result of this, we decided to adopt a mobile-first perspective. Our website is designed so that users can have the same navigational experience whether they access via their desktop or their smart phone.  To keep our attendees coming back to our website, we populate it with new content year round so that CES can continue their experience beyond the show floor.  Attendees can access streams of conference sessions, videos from the show floor as well as information about the upcoming events.

Another important digital tool for preplanning and onsite is our CES app. The app preloads information like maps, exhibitor listings, conference info and an event schedule so that attendees can access the information whether they have a signal on their device or not.

We have a robust social media plan that engages our fans and followers all year long.  This helps us build a sense of community and also gives us the opportunity to have a dialogue with our attendees. If someone tweets about an issue with registration or finding a hotel, we can immediately tweet back and help the customer. We engage our speakers in our social media efforts by asking them to tweet about our show, write a blog or host a Google hangout.

Onsite, social media takes center stage on the CES show floor through our Social Media Command Center (SMCC). CES attendees can walk right up to the SMCC and get a first-hand look at what brands, keynote speakers, locations or CES related items are trending in the social-sphere. At the 2014 CES, we saw our official hash tag (#CES2014) trend on Twitter making more than two billion impressions across the globe. This was due to us integrating our social media strategy into as many aspects of CES as possible. These feeds helped attendees find out in real time what was making news at CES.

Our social media programs opened up new sponsorship opportunities via special events like our Social Hour or the social vending machine, which garnered much attention at CES.

Digital is integrated into everything we do for the International CES. As a major global technology event, it is important that we leverage technology in ways that our attendees and exhibitors want us to. Meeting the needs of our attendees is what keeps pushing us each year to get more innovative. Digital media gives us many ways to stay engaged with our customers.  It is now at the core of our promotional and information strategy. I cannot wait to see what we come up with for the 2015 CES!