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.

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!



Brian Casey Interview at ACCESS – Insights on Current and Near-Term Trends

Take a moment to hear CEIR CEO and President Brian Casey, CEM share his insights about the outlook and trends for the exhibition industry at last December’s EDPA annual meeting, ACCESS.

EDPA – Brian Casey, CEM President & CEO, CEIR – Interview at ACCESS2014

Brian’s comments shared at that time about the anticipated performance of the industry are affirmed by the newest CEIR Index, released on April 13, 2015. To learn more, download the newest CEIR Index.

Millennials are the future of the exhibition industry, Brian shares some key traits to pay attention to when looking to accommodate young professional attendee needs and preferences. To obtain a fuller understanding, pull down the full reports here:

2014 Young Professional Attendee Needs and Preferences Study

Best Practices by Exhibition Organizers to Attract and Retain Young Professional Attendees

For those who want a complete perspective of young professional needs and preferences, take a moment to access the newest generational research completed by CEIR with young professional exhibitors: 2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study.

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!