What’s in the CEIR Research Pipeline for 2016?

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director

CEIR Census

In a previous post, I provided an overview of research completed in 2015, now let me share research plans for this year, which by all accounts is aggressive! CEIR strives to conduct research in a broad range of areas to help industry stakeholders – exhibition organizers, exhibitors, attendees, destinations, venues and other suppliers – keep pace with evolving trends.

New Digital Toolkit Series – This multi-part study takes a comprehensive look at digital tactics attendees value and expect during their attendee journey and compares these preferences to what exhibition organizers and exhibitors use or offer. Results from this research reveal where exhibition organizer and exhibitor offerings align with attendee preferences and where they miss the mark. It is a practical resource for benchmarking and prioritizing digital efforts.

Four focus reports are included in this study series:

  1. Now available! Organizer Pre-event Communications & Registration Offerings
  2. Exhibitor Offerings
  3. Exhibition Organizer Onsite and Post-event Offerings
  4. Attendee Technology Profile

The quinquennial (that’s a mouthful!) edition of the CEIR Census is now available. Just published at the end of January, this document is updated every five years. It is a treasure trove for convention center facilities, venues, business development professionals and anyone tasked with analyses looking to define the size of the exhibition industry in North America overall, by country or by region. FMI, go here.

For those thirsting for exhibition industry performance the newest edition of the CEIR Index will be released in April. This report is the leading industry resource tracking overall market performance of business-to-business exhibitions overall as well as by 14 industry sectors.

Provided below is an overview of the additional research efforts slated for the year. So, keep a watch for reports that will be produced based on findings from each effort. Also, take a moment and visit the newly redesigned CEIR web site. We have made it easier than ever to search reports and find the data that is most important to you.

STUDY DESCRIPTION
Attendee Retention Study Series When it comes to gauging the success of an exhibition, the first measure is the event’s ability to attract a quality audience. This success begets exhibitor retention and loyalty. This study will identify the key factors which prompt professionals to become a repeat/loyal attendee as well as organizer best practices that generate high attendee retention rates.
Repeat of Changing Environment of Exhibitions Study Last done in 2011, this popular study generated multiple fact sheets articulating the power of exhibitions from the perspective of exhibitors. This initiative will update data, profiling the areas where exhibitions deliver value in supporting exhibitor marketing and sales objectives. It will also quantify commitment to the exhibition channel in the next several years.
Cost to Attract Attendees Study Last done in 2012, this study provides organizers with metrics on the cost to attract qualified attendees. In addition to quantifying costs metrics, overall as well as by type of organizer and by event demographics, this study also identifies which tactics are most effective in drawing qualified attendees.
Floor Interaction/ Attendee Engagement Preferences Study Following a two-phased research approach involving qualitative and quantitative research efforts, this study will identify the most popular and effective methods used to interact and engage with attendees on the exhibition floor, from both the perspective of activities in exhibit booths and activities in organizer-sponsored spaces on the exhibition floor.
How to Grow Attendance – Best Practices Organizers are constantly striving to find ways to retain and grow their attendee bases in competitive markets. Which tactics are most commonly used in attendee marketing to maximize the outcome of a campaign and most importantly, which tactics work best? This study will document industry benchmarks on key elements of attendee marketing campaigns and identify which tactics are effective in retaining and growing an event’s attendee base.
Industry Insight Series Reports Leading industry experts offer practical advice on how to maximize the success of exhibiting. Topics will address strategic and logistical aspects of exhibiting.

CEIR 2015 Research in Review

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director

Another year has concluded. Hoping all of you had an enjoyable holiday season. Now it’s time to get back to business!

CEIR conducted many studies last year. To help determine which new reports may be of use to you, l have summarized 2015 activities below.

Market Performance Focus: Each year the CEIR Index is updated, the most current report documents historical performance from 2000 to 2014 and a three-year forecast for 2015 through 2017. It is the leading industry resource tracking overall market performance of business-to-business exhibitions in the United States. It offers a valuable tool for strategic planning, benchmarking and evaluating business development opportunities.

Exhibitor Focus: Several reports are available, offering metrics for benchmarking activities and an inside view of what young brand marketer exhibitors think about trade shows.

  • The Marketing Spend Decision Study tracks the percentage allocation of marketing budget spending across all channels among companies that exhibit at business-to-business exhibitions, statistics are provided across several years. Results document the staying power of the trade show channel, which captures the largest share of exhibitor marketing budgets. It also reports multiyear trends relating to number of exhibitions participated in and booth size.
  • A new landmark study was added to the CEIR library. This report quantifies the extent of use of ROI and other performance metrics by exhibitors for evaluating the outcome of exhibiting. Users identify metrics where they find exhibitions perform best: 2015 Exhibitor ROI and Performance Metrics Practices
  • To assess the future outlook of the industry from the vantage point of young exhibitors, SISO commissioned the 2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study. Spoiler alert: the outlook is positive though young exhibitors will demand value, organizers take notice!

Attendee Focus: For readers needing guidance for attendee marketing and event content development and a way to determine if attendees in their sector have unique preferences or are in line with trade show attendee preferences in general, this report can help, Industry Sector Infographic on What Attendees Want Study Results. Each topic area is summarized in quick to read infographics: preferences for information sources relied upon when searching for exhibitions to attend, reasons for attending, pre-event preparation activities, and exhibition floor preferences.

Data Analytics Usage by Exhibition Organizers: This is one of the hottest topic areas that businesses across sectors continue to grapple with. Access to treasure troves of data has never been easier and the array of analytic tools have exploded, offering many ways to jump into the analytics game. When dione well, analytics helps businesses save money and gain business advantage over competitors. So, what is the state of the exhibition industry relating to analytics, are organizers jumping into the fray or are they staying on the sidelines? Among those actively engaging analytics, for which purposes are analytics used most extensively and where are analytics delivering results? Two CEIR reports offer answers:

Use of Analytics Today by Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizers

Use of Analytics by Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizers Case Studies

Industry Insight Series Reports: Formerly called Guru Reports, these reports offer practical advice written by leading industry experts to help exhibitors maximize their exhibiting success. Four new reports published last year include:

Managing for Results: Benchmarks for Exhibit Growth by Barry Siskind

Separating Signal from the Noise – How to Make Your Emails Better by Jason Falls

The Right Place to Exhibit – A Strategic Approach by Barry Siskind

Best Practices for Exhibit Booth Design – for Companies of All Sizes by Justin Hersh

In addition to the reports published in 2015, fielding of two additional studies was completed. Analysis of results is underway with reports rolling out in 2016:

  1. Digital Toolkit to Enhance the Attendee Experience report series, will include several focus reports highlighting attendee digital technology preferences at different stages of their customer journey and compares how well organizers and exhibitors are faring in meeting these needs.
  2. Building a loyal attendee base is essential to the health and growth potential of any exhibition. This study, based on a sampling of over 6,000 attendees from 23 of the top 250 trade shows in the U.S. provides a snapshot of key demographics and preferences. Results of these attendee profiles will be compared to organizer perceptions of who they believe their repeat attendees are and efforts they engage in to build a loyal attendee base. This comparative exercise will offer organizers a practical way to compare their event practices to industry norms, as well as a framework to identify strengths and opportunities of current attendee retention efforts.

Have a question or want to learn more, feel free to email me at ndrapeau@ceir.org. Cheers and wishing you all a happy, successful and peaceful New Year!

-Nancy

 

Transforming One’s Trade Show – Call to Action to EVOLVE!

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director, CEIR

CEIR Predict was a phenomenal event this year. Presenters challenged attendees to push the boundaries of how they think about their events, what goals they should strive to achieve, and what this means about how the trade show model needs to evolve. Commentary spanned from real world examples on how today’s organizers and exhibitors ‘knock the socks’ off those who attend their events and futuristic thinking, a call-to-action to experiment, to evolve.

CEIR Predict header_w_title-sponsor

There were two presenters that really forced Predict attendees to think beyond today. Their role was to plant the seed, motivate a call-to-action to innovate. They didn’t give the solution. They challenged trade show leaders to experiment and find a new path forward. World renown designer Bruce Mau discussed the power of invisible design, and how the trade show floor is ripe for evolution to a new reality. Marc Pomerleau, VP of Strategy at Freeman XP intertwined the evolution of human society from early times to today, advancements in philosophy, the industrial revolution to today’s technological advancements which he argues increases the power of face-to-face marketing. He asserted that technology has created a heightened sense of alienation of individuals, that it increases the need, the desire to connect face-to-face. This assertion is not the first time I have heard this. Back in college, I recall this statement being made, relating to evolving philosophical and political thinking in the 16th century, pre-industrial revolutionary times. So here we are in the 21st century with all our gadgets, which connect us on one level to each other, but not in the physical space. We are humans and crave that connection. I agree with Marc, digital heightens the need, the craving for communities to connect face-to-face. Digital and exhibition channels complement each other.

still waitingIn CEIR’s Generational Differences in Face-to-Face Interaction Preferences and Activities, it was found that interacting online prompted attendance to business-to-business exhibitions, the younger the attendee, the higher the percentage indicating this.

Pomerleau and Mau argue that today, the face-to-face medium needs to ‘transform,’ evolve with changing norms. The trade show format has not changed much since its hey days of the 1970’s. Perhaps it is time to do so. How to evolve the trade show floor in a way that retains and perhaps even grows profit and delivers a profound experience for both brand marketers and professional attendees? The message of Predict is that organizers need to transform or disrupt themselves, before someone else does…. Though what does that mean? Where and how can trade show organizers evolve?

  • To take on this challenge, an organizers needs to understand two things:
    1. What is the core essence, value about the trade show medium that is unchanging? Organizers need to avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water.
    2. What aspects of a trade show are not core, can change? It is in these areas where organizers need to experiment.

Let me assert the core values of a business-to-business exhibition based on CEIR research:

  • Connecting attendees with product – ability to touch, feel, smell, test-drive, evaluate the products in-person, in the physical space. One example I love to give is the World of Concrete’s demonstration area. They give attendees the chance to rip up concrete, test drive jack hammers, experience new product. Does it get any more visceral than that? If you’re an organizer, how does that example apply to your industry?
  • Connecting attendees with people – the people behind a product, product experts, product designers, industry experts, peers, mentors. PEOPLE.
  • Learning/education – this is accomplished in many ways – via attending education sessions, interactions with industry experts, product experts, peers, etc. In many industries, professionals attend to satisfy certification needs though the core essence, value is the power of what is learned or the power of how much is learned, accomplished.
  • Serendipity – the real-time, interaction of people and product generate experiences and learnings that the attendee didn’t expect to takeaway. Connecting with an individual in a similar work role who turns out to be a mentor, a life-long friend who helps the individual and his or her organization advance. The discovery of a product that addresses a current challenge that an organization is facing. It can be for a challenge that wasn’t even on the attendee’s radar before going to the show.

The gist of this blog is this, be brave, dare to experiment, evolve your event, begin to generate new concepts, test them, and if they show promise, expand the concept more broadly into your event. EVOLVE!

Want to take a deep dive into CEIR reports that may help in strategic planning? Here is a laundry list of recently released reports. Happy reading! If you have any questions, reach out to me at ndrapeau@ceir.org. I am happy to point you to CEIR studies that can answer your information needs.

Attendee Focused Research

Quick Guide on Attendee Preferences by Industry Sector

2014 Young Professional Attendee Needs and Preferences Study

Exhibition Floor Interaction: What Attendees Want

Purchase Process and Customer Relationships

Exhibitor Focused Research

Best Practices for Exhibit Booth Design – For Companies of All Sizes

2015 Exhibitor ROI and Performance Metrics Practices

2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study

The Marketing Spend Decision

Using Data Analytics – Where to Begin? How to Start?!

Reprinted with permission from CAEM October Communique

Article Written by Jeff Tanner, Ph.D., Dean of the Strome College of Business, Old Dominion University
Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director at the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)

Take a deep breath. Relax. Ignore all the hype. You don’t have to have BIG data to make data-driven decisions.

True, the stories of self-weighing beer kegs that automatically issue purchase orders when empty or identifying which customers are pregnant by whether they buy larger jeans and vitamins sounds amazing but the data systems that make these kinds of Big Data applications possible aren’t commonplace in expositions.

come shopping

The reality is we’re in business-to-business and the data are different and not as readily available. So what makes sense for our industry?

The first thing is to focus on attendee marketing. Doesn’t matter who you are, that’s where the biggest gains are to be made. It’s also where you’re likely to have the most data.

The second thing is to recognize that this is the era of small markets. Every large market is made up of individuals, even when the customer is a company. When you are able to take the data you do have and segment more effectively, you can create relevant content (show floor offerings, educational offerings and more) that make sense for each of the small markets you’re trying to reach. And more importantly the messaging is more tailored to the individual; it will speak to them, which inevitably will increase engagement, response, attendance!

Use of analyticsWhat you can’t do is let the problems of data stop you. According to CEIR’s report Use of Analytics Today by Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizers, 32% of organizers are staying on the sidelines, not taking advantage of their data. That same CEIR report, though, does say that more than two-thirds of exhibition organizers are currently or soon to be actively engaging in data analytics.

There are three levels of data usage. The first is reporting, or using data to track activities or outcomes, for the purposes of monitoring activities or work processes. Examples might be exhibitor churn rates, attendance, and the like. The second level of usage is discovery, or analyzing data in order to generate new insights or understanding. Examples might be traditional marketing research to segment the market to develop target personas, using existing data to identify customer motivation or purchase patterns, and similar projects.

The final usage of data is production, or the use of data in real-time to identify customers and take appropriate actions. We call it production because models are put into production as part of the marketing process. In this application, models to decide what to do next in tandem with marketing automation, such as which email a potential attendee should receive based on what the attendee’s behavior has been on the website or dynamic scoring models that change how you respond to prospects based on what they do following a show or what offer they may receive to invite them to register to attend your event. Production models can seem complicated – but there’s a lot that can be gained just by using your reporting mechanisms and discovery opportunities more completely. You don’t have to be Google or Amazon to make the most of the data you have!

app_13

Designed by Freepik

The reality is that you can gain a lot with real-time monitoring, such as using location data (through RFID, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi technology) to identify where a high value prospect is on the show floor and react accordingly. For example, perhaps an exhibit manager could text or email an invite to that prospect to stop by. Or perhaps real-time monitoring of conference attendee movement throughout the event is needed to confirm they are making their way to your exhibition floor – if not, then you could change your plans for inviting attendees more directly. Real-time monitoring by organizers can signal a need for tactics to make sure that the right actions are happening in-show to keep exhibitors satisfied. These sound like scary Big Data applications, but in reality, it’s fairly easy once you sign on to the technology.

i excel

There may also be more data available to you now through the systems you already have. With some creative applications of analysis, you may be able to find new segments or micro-segments to reach with more relevant communications. For example, instead of segmenting by title, segment instead by previous session attendance, white paper downloads, and other content-driven data that signal interest by topic. Simple frequency analysis with a bar or pie chart created in Excel can help make these decisions.

So using Big Data principles is easier than you may have thought. But how do you begin to pull value from data?

  1. First, decide what business problem or problems you want to solve. Is it retention of exhibitors or increasing sponsorships? Or is it making attendee marketing or exhibit sales efforts more cost-effective, or attendee growth or targeted attendee engagement? Look for the low-hanging fruit, areas where an easy win can be had. CEIR’s report, Use of Analytics Today by Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizers, suggests that looking at ways to make marketing or sales more cost-effective is a good place to start.
  2. Get the right people involved. Buy-in from the top is very helpful – but insufficient. If you’re trying to make a decision about exhibitors, involve salespeople. Don’t forget someone from finance or accounting. They have data and, perhaps more important, insight that might accelerate the time to value.  Also, don’t forget to involve the keepers of the data at the outset. They know where your data is, in what format it is in and what it takes to have data ready for analysis.
  3. Identify what data is needed and see if you already have it.  The data keepers will know what you have and where it is but be sure to ask for data definitions. If you are combining data from different sources, you want to make sure that what is a customer in one data source is the same thing in the other data source or you need to come to agreement on what a ‘customer’ is for the analysis. In one instance, for example, a customer may be defined as an association member and in another, an attendee to a conference and trade show event and in another, a user of online education offerings. And these issues raise another, how do you make sure that one person’s activities are linked together into one record? If you are looking to better understand a customer’s relationship with your organization, linking such information is important. All these issues need help from the data keepers to assure the most useful and effective analyses.
  4. No access to a statistician? Then use analysis that makes sense to you.  Even simple bar charts or pie graphs provide a way to make sense of complicated data. Or consider acquiring visualization packages like Tableau that can add greater sophistication to those charts. Don’t forget, too, that professors who teach analytics at your local university are always looking for real projects for their students. If you can take the time, these are great resources.

If you want to take a deeper dive on this topic, several sources are available to you.

Analytics and Dynamic Customer Strategy (by JF Tanner Jr., Wiley, 2014) offers a road map for using data to inform customer strategy with many real world examples from small to the largest companies in the world.tanner

CEIR offers two documents offering a snapshot on the use of data analytics in the exhibition industry today; as well as 12 case studies revealing a range of uses of analytics by for-profit and not-for-profit exhibition organizers in different industry sectors.Use of analytics

Use of Analytics Today by
Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizers

data driven

Use of Analytics by Business-to-Business
Exhibition Organizers Case Studies

ABOUT OUR GUEST AUTHOR:

John F. (Jeff) Tanner Jr., Ph.D.

Dr. Tanner is Dean, Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business in Norfolk, Virginia. Author or co-author of 15 books, his latest, Analytics & Dynamic Customer Strategy: Big Profits from Big Data (Wiley) was released late 2014 to wide acclaim. Dr. Tanner has taught executives and graduate students in a dozen countries, including India, France, Malawi, Australia, and Colombia, and recently spoke at E2MA’s Red Diamond Congress, National Retail Federation’s Big Show, Oracle’s OpenWorld, CRM Evolution, MSI’s Big Data Conference, and Teradata’s Marketing Festival.  Consulting clients include Cabela’s, EMC, and Procter & Gamble, among others. As a scholar, he has published 75 journal articles in such top journals as Journal of Marketing, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Education, and Psychological Bulletin and his research has been supported by grants from NIH, HHS, Walmart Foundation, CEIR, TSEA and others. In addition to research awards, he was the Society for Marketing Advances Distinguished Teacher (2013). Dr. Tanner sits on the boards of several corporations and non-profits. He and his wife, Karen, breed and race thoroughbred horses.

Nancy DrapeauNancy Drapeau, PRC, Director of Research, Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)

Ms. Drapeau is an admitted trade show junky and data geek. More than 15 of her 21 years as a market research professional have been spent in the business-to-business exhibition channel. She has had the privilege of serving as CEIR ‘s research director since 2011. She is a Nielsen Burke trained focus group moderator, holds a degree in Government from Georgetown University and a Masters from L’Institut Europeéns des Hautes Etudes Internationales.

2015 Predict_FB

2015 CEIR Predict Wrap Up

CEIR Predict header_w_title-sponsor

We just completed Predict: CEIR’s Annual Exhibition Industry Outlook Conference 16-17 September in Chicago, IL and we’re proud to say that this was our largest Predict ever!  It drew a record-breaking 139 attendees, all top level executives, to learn about the future of the exhibition industry.

If you didn’t make it to 2015 CEIR Predict, here are some of the highlights. Don’t forget to watch the wrap-up video on CEIR TV!

16 September

The event started with a welcome from Britton Jones, President & CEO, Business Journals Inc.

2015 CEIR Predict Britton Jones

In addition to evaluating happenings within the exhibition industry, Predict looked outside of the industry for overall economic trends and indicators. Keynote speaker Professor Amir Sufi, Ph.D., University of Chicago & Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research pointed out that a weak recovery in household spending and the persistent issues presented by income inequality will continue to affect the overall economy and, in turn, the exhibition industry.

The day ended with a facilitated panel discussion on the state of the exhibitions and events industry moderated by Nancy Walsh, President-North America, Reed Exhibitions

2015 CEIR Predict Panel 2

17 September

Industry insiders presented topics on notable trends within the trade show industry and how they will affect the way in which organizers approach their strategies for increasing their exhibitions’ performance, sessions included:

What We See – Change! by Marc Pomerleau, Vice President of Strategy, FreemanXP

Design the Desired Outcome by Bruce Mau, Founder, Bruce Mau Design

Innovating Brand Activation at Trade Shows Moderatored by David Saef, EVP, Strategy & MarketWorks, Global Experience Specialists (GES)

Business Models of the Future: A Group Discussion Moderatored by Don Pazour, CEO, Access Intelligence LLC

Even though the two-day event was jam packed with important information regarding the state of the industry, there was still time for discussion and networking between sessions.

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What were the final thoughts about CEIR Predict?

Buffy Levy, Director, Event Services, SmithBucklin said, “This was my first time attending the CEIR Predict Conference, and it was an excellent opportunity to gain further insight into my industry. My best takeaway was how important it is for show organizers to think about our product not as booths, but as experiences, touch points and memories that are made at an event. To succeed, we first need to listen to and empathize with our stakeholders. Then, we must design the show not from our own point of view, but that of our users. By doing all of this, we ensure our shows stay relevant and serve as bedrocks of their respective industries.”

Deirdre Flynn, CFSP, Executive Vice President, North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers said, “The information shared at Predict – by speakers, panelists and peers – is thought-provoking and inspiring. It’s a great opportunity to listen and learn, and create shared experiences for our stakeholders!”

Galen Poss, CEM, Vice Chairman, dmg::Events said, “This year’s CEIR Predict Conference was outstanding! The quality of speakers, content and delegate participation were at all-time highs. It is hard to imagine that anyone attending did not feel they had made an excellent investment of both their time and resources. Hats off to all who made this year’s event an overwhelming success.”

A very special thank you to our speakers and wonderful sponsors for making the event possible!

Visit the CEIR Predict website to learn more about the annual event. You can also view our program, speakers, sponsors, and list of the 2015 Attendees.

Event Data: Iceberg Right Ahead!

iceberg

By Eric Misic
VP of Business Development
Bear Analytics, a data analytics provider to the exhibitions industry

Data is a valuable asset for many organizations in our space. Our industry is buzzing with talk about “Big Data” and event organizers have never had more data at their disposal—from app data, to session scans and traffic flow, to social media.

Despite Big Data’s current “moment in the sun,” many of us are still guilty of making event and business decisions based on gut instinct, superficial statistics or established pathways. Analyzing data can be time-consuming and complex, while cleaning and standardizing our event data never seems to make it to the top of the to-do list. However, decisions based on gut instinct or historical precedence can harm an event and rob your team of the intelligence they need to take your event’s performance to the next level.

At Bear Analytics, we liken this to an iceberg scenario: While gut instinct, precedence, and historical analysis may give you an indication of a problem your event is facing, the majority of the issue still lurks beneath the surface. Without this deeper level of event intelligence, the decisions you make could steer your event to safety, but are more likely to put you on a collision course with issues you cannot even see.

For example: An event organizer sees the same familiar faces from their industry year after year, and since their topline attendee count is growing slightly, they assume they have low attendee churn and stable retention. However, an in-depth analysis of their entire attendee base reveals that beyond this loyal, visible minority of attendees, 75% of attendees only come to the event once and never return. This high churn rate places additional pressure on the marketing team as they are always making first-time sales and trying to source new prospects—the event’s growth is not sustainable. These insights lie beneath the surface of standard “top-line” event metrics and gut feelings, but could drastically change the strategy behind the event’s operations, marketing, and content.

Analyzing your event data is worth the effort and can lead to richer intelligence and insights in many different areas, such as:

  1. Identifying Your Most Valuable Customers
    Can you quickly identify your most valuable customers? This is the group of attendees or exhibiting companies that forms the core of your event. They return year after year and probably spend more per year than first-timers and other less loyal segments. You can empower this group to act as your brand ambassadors and incentive them with loyalty programs that recognize their contribution to your event.
  2. Understanding Geographic Trending & Event Pull
    How does your attendee or exhibitor make-up shift if you hold the event in Philadelphia versus Orlando? This comparative geographic intelligence is critical for events that rotate around the country. Even events that stay put can benefit from understanding how their attendees’ geographic makeup may shift over time. This intelligence helps better target marketing and sales efforts and can inform venue selection and forecasting future events.
  3. Creating an Abandonment Snapshot
    Churn is a necessary evil for events. But have you analyzed these attendees or exhibitors abandoning your event? Patterns in event abandonment can inform your strategy. If you see that exhibitors who abandon disproportionately hail from the same section of the industry, it may indicate that industry dynamics are affecting your event and that your sales team will have to implement creative strategies to mitigate this trend. Likewise, if a certain seniority level abandons your event at a faster rate than everyone else, it may be time to realign your marketing or to evaluate your educational content.

Aside from these three areas, there are many other actionable insights that can be gleaned if you dive beneath the surface of you event data “iceberg”. Ahoy event data ahead!

For more information on how exhibition and event organizers are using data to drive decisions, check out CEIR’s reports available at the links below:

Use of Analytics Today by Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizers

Use of Analytics by Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizers Case Studies

Millennials Are Value Driven Shoppers, This Plays Out in the Exhibition Industry

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, CEIR Research Director

A recent AdAge article reported Walmart is the favorite retailer among Millennials, based on Infoscout data on purchase activity. This article quotes Walmart’s CMO Stephen Quinn admitting, “That kind of shocks a lot of people, including inside the company.”

The value-driven shopping nature of Millennials is not a surprise to me. It is consistent with research CEIR has conducted this year with young professional exhibitors, 2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study. In this study, the top ranked reason why young professional exhibitors have advocated not exhibiting is due to their perception that it cost too much, 44 percent of those who have been involved in such decisions. And other top ranked reasons for advocating not exhibiting also speak to the importance placed on value based spending: perceptions an event has poor attendance quality or low attendance volume.USLaborForceByGeneration

Young professional exhibitors by no means are negative about the exhibition channel, quite the opposite, nearly all surveyed young professional 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: engaging face-to-face with customers and prospects; engaging with a large number of a target audience in a compressed time period; as well as interacting with a wide variety of players including suppliers and others.

So organizers need to pay attention to this focus on value-driven purchasing NOW. This is not something that is a distant, future consideration. It is already the case that Millennials and Gen Xers surpass Boomers as the largest generations in today’s workforce. Their preferences are already beginning to drive exhibiting decisions and this influence will only grow as Boomers exit for retirement. The oldest Millennial is age 34 in 2015, an age when a professional can very likely serve in a managerial or executive role who makes such decisions.

 

To access CEIR’s report, go to 2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study.