Email – Consistent and Reliable Performance – The Duct Tape of the Digital Marketing Toolkit

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Research Director

I know the title of this blog is a little tongue and cheek though I think the analogy holds, no pun intended. I used this analogy at a recent session at EXHIBITORFastTrak in Atlanta, it resonated with attendees and so I want to share it with you in this blog.

Think about it, duct tape is a versatile, consistent performer in addressing so many needs – whether to repair a boat cover, bicycle seat, vacuum hose or whatever else, it is often a solution that does the job well. It even was used to repair the lunar rover during Apollo 17!

The same is true of email. It is a versatile and consistent performer, according to results of a number of CEIR studies. Despite the onslaught of new, digital marketing tactic alternatives, email still serves an important role in the exhibition marketing mix for both organizers and exhibitors. Here are a few examples:

  • In the Digital Playbook, email is found to be a top performer for both organizers and exhibit brand marketers for cost containment and revenue generation. It is the most popular tactic used in exhibition marketing (86% of business-to-business exhibition organizers, 86% of business-to-consumer exhibition organizers and 84% of brand marketers). The popularity and effectiveness of email is documented in earlier CEIR research.
  • The use and effectiveness of email in organizer marketing efforts to drive attendance is noted in the recently released report, Cost to Attract Attendees.
  •  These results make sense, and align with the resources prospective attendees rely on when searching for prospective exhibitions to attend. According to Attracting Attendees, email from different sources – colleagues, organizers and exhibitors – are in the top 10 important information resources relied upon by them.
  • And for young professionals, according to The Young Professional Attendee Needs and Preferences Study Report released this past August, email from organizers and vendors is relied on and trusted more than content from social media when hunting for prospective exhibitions to attend. Emails from colleagues is also a more used and trusted resource for this purpose than social media.

Now the consistent performance of email does NOT mean it is wise for brand marketers and exhibition organizers to indiscriminately use this tactic for any and all purposes. Over emailing will fatigue a list, this is a longstanding rule and is just plain common sense. If anything, it speaks to the high importance of using email lists carefully and strategically. Marketing needs to assure that content is valuable to the recipients and that the number of emails is managed carefully, to avoid the spam filter and ‘block sender’ classifications.

Let me close in sharing an example of the strategic use of email that one of the EXHIBITORFastTrak attendees explained. This exhibiting company, in striving to avoid blast emails and at the same time striving to promote their participation at an upcoming exhibition, included an invitation to register to attend the exhibition as a part of the signature at the end of the email. It was a click thru link to the exhibition’s registration site. The email was sent from sales staff as a follow-up to a phone call. Interestingly, the exhibitor was paid by the exhibition organizer for any individuals who registered and attended the exhibition. This email campaign approach was a ‘win-win’ for the exhibitor and exhibition.

Trends on Integrating Digital in Exhibit Programs – Join Me in Atlanta Next Week

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, Director of Research

I am looking forward to sharing trends with brand marketers who are attending EXHIBITOR FastTrak next week in Atlanta. This session offers an intense 1.5 hour discussion of current trends in the use of digital tactics in exhibit marketing programs. Along with sharing research insights, this session includes case study examples and peer-to-peer discussions. Adam Polaszewski, Director of Marketing at INXPO, will dial in and share his personal experience using digital tactics that generated outstanding results in meeting overall objectives for his company.

Which digital tactics are most popular and tend to deliver the most consistent results? Are companies abandoning traditional tactics entirely in favor of digital alternatives? How does a company magnify the power of the face-to-face marketing experience with digital tactics? Well, come to the session and find out. I look forward to sharing these trends and case studies that will help exhibitors determine whether their digital approaches are in line with what is found to work best or whether adjustments are needed. If you’re in Atlanta next week, it’s still not too late to register. I hope to see you there!



Booth Staff Attendee Engagement Techniques that Help Maximize Lead Generation

By Nancy Drapeau, PRC, CEIR Research Director

For many exhibitors, a primary goal of exhibiting is to generate new leads, nurture existing ones and maintain relationships with customers to feed the sales pipeline. Business-to-business exhibitions enjoy the reputation of delivering high value in this area. According to CEIR research, 99 percent of surveyed exhibitors say that business-to-business exhibitions deliver unique value not fulfilled by other marketing channels. The most popular unique value speaks to the ROI of participating, the ability to see a large number of prospects and customers over a short period of time.

Though to maximize the power of lead generation and nurturing at an event, exhibit staffers need to connect with as many qualified attendees as is logistically possible. How can an exhibit manager create the mindset among booth staff to be as effective as they can be in this area?

CEIR offers two reports, written by Barry Siskind, an internationally recognized exhibit marketing consultant that addresses two basic, though crucially important skill sets that need to be put into action to help achieve success in this area, techniques to:

  • Connect and engage with attendees effectively; and
  • Disengage with attendees in a positive manner to enable exhibit staff to move on to the next prospect or customer.

Sounds obvious right? Though how does one do this? Exhibitions are unique marketing mediums, a sales pitch or consultative sell approach is different in a booth where there is time pressure to achieve exhibitor goals. It is not the same as a phone call or an in-person visit over a meal or at a prospect’s office where there’s more time for engagement. Which techniques work well and where can one find examples to use in role-playing to use in exhibit staff training for an upcoming event? Check out these two reports to learn more about these basic, though critically important topic areas:

Approaching Prospects on the Exhibition Floor

Once the Conversation Is Over – It’s Over!

For readers interested in a broader discussion of what to include in an exhibit training program, another well-known business-to-business exhibition consultant, Candy Adams, offers a comprehensive overview on what to consider including in such a program, along with a handy check list that is a great reference tool to use when planning each program: An Exhibit Manager’s Guide to Exhibit Staff Orientation.

Keep in mind, this blog does not address the importance of effective pre-event and onsite marketing efforts that drive attendees to a booth. That blog topic is left for another day. This blog assumes that work was done well, the articles listed above provide instruction for exhibitors on how to maximize the opportunities that come their way.

Another Case for Infrastructure Investment

By Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, Managing Director, Center for Exhibition Industry Research

Jeff Werling, one of CEIR’s economists and the executive director of Inforum/University of Maryland, recently sent me a report his team on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) concerning infrastructure investment. Jeff and his team compiled a unique and revealing data set on recent infrastructure investment which implies that real investment in public infrastructure has been falling over a decade, and by investing in public infrastructure benefits the economy in the short- and long-term. These findings reinforce the findings of a White Paper recently released by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

2014.10.16 CEIR Blog_CEIR Index Figure 11.3 HI RESReading the press release made me look at what the CEIR Index Report says about this sector and the table below says it all. Output (infrastructure investment) and employment are very closely related.

Take a moment to read the press release on NAM’s website.

Infrastructure Investment Creates Positive Outcomes for the Economy… and the Exhibition Industry

Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, Managing Director, Center for Exhibition Industry Research

Executive Director Jeff Werling, of Inforum at the University of Maryland, and one of CEIR’s economists, recently completed a report for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). AEM released a White Paper, “The Economic Footprint of the Construction Equipment Industry on the U.S. Economy.” The paper provides a new and innovative estimate of an industry which includes downstream activities such as transportation and distribution.

The Building, Construction, Home and Repair (HM) Sector is the beginning of the food chain. Watching the HM sector’s performance is an indicator of other things to come – whether we are on an upswing or downswing. Here’s why:

  • Construction Equipment contributed a $57.1 billion economic impact in 2012 and supports 370,000 jobs.
  • Construction machinery impacts productivity of construction itself. The Construction Industries Institute indicates widespread improvement across construction activities from 0.2 percent to 2.8 percent, 1976 through 2004, respectively.
  • Infrastructure investment is now about half (1.5 percent of GDP) of its peak of 3 percent in the late 1960s.
  • Deficient surface transportation infrastructure is projected to reduce cumulative GDP by $900 billion over the next decade.
  • Based on research by Inforum, a $1 billion increase in infrastructure spending will increase GDP by almost $2 billion and create 15,000 jobs in the short run.

The CEIR Index reported that heavy and civil engineering construction, which includes utilities and infrastructure, grew 1.4% in 2011 and 4.0% in 2012, and despite government gridlock and weak public construction spending, employment grew another 2.4% in 2013. Will this growth continue if investment is made in public infrastructure investment?

Tell us what you think!

For more CEIR Index insights relating to the construction sector, download the sector report at the following link: 2014 CEIR Index Report: Building, Construction, Home and Repair Sector (HM).

Same Old, Same Old Just Won’t Cut It – Innovate Your Approach Every Year

By Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, CEIR Managing Director

Marco Pardi, President of UBM Tech Events and a panelist at the recent CEIR Predict Conference, suggests that exhibitions in the Communications/IT Sector take a cue from “brick and mortar” companies like IBM, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and HP. “They’re constantly reinventing because they’re competing with new, lifestyle conferences like South by Southwest, which also vie for their core attendee base,” says Pardi.

This is certainly good advice and counsel for any exhibition regardless of industry sector. We must all be thinking about how we create an experience that will make our attendees and exhibitors want to return each year. Every year, we have to be innovative in our approach. We can no longer do the same thing as last year.

Freeman, content curator and a title sponsor for Predict this year, wrote a blog recently on key factors driving growth for events in the technology sector. Regardless of sector, the blog provides a look at key factors for growth which were discussed at Predict. Click here to read the blog.

The Power of PREDICT

By Mary Tucker, CEIR Blog Manager

PREDICT: CEIR’s Annual Exhibition Industry Outlook Conference continues the conversation of where the overall economy is headed and how that will affect the exhibition industry.

Freeman, a title sponsor of Predict, offers further insight into this data on its blog about the event. Cautious optimism is growing as the economy continues its steady movement upwards. The exhibition industry is keeping pace, albeit with slightly smaller numbers in comparison to GDP, but keeping up nonetheless.

Who will come to save the day? According to various panelists at Predict, the Millennials will play a significant role by shaking up the industry through their undeniable power of persuasion. READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

Want to see the hard numbers for yourself? Go straight to the source, the CEIR 2014 Index Report: 2013 Exhibition Industry and Future Outlook.

Want to know how to appeal to the Millennials? Check out the 2014 Young Professional Attendee Needs and Preferences Study as well as Best Practices by Exhibition Organizers to Attract and Retain Young Professional Attendees.

Want general information about trends and behavior on the show floor? Look into Exhibition Floor Interaction: What Attendees Want, Cost to Attract Attendees, How to Stop Attendee Loss and CEIR’s newest offering, Once the Conversation is Over – It’s Over!