The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), an organization that serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events, announced a new landmark study that provides an in-depth look at how exhibitors evaluate the outcome of participating in business-to-business exhibitions.
“The business-to-business, exhibition channel is a powerful sales and marketing vehicle that enables exhibitors to achieve a wide range of important business objectives,” remarks CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey, CEM. “Given this reality, what success looks like for an exhibitor and which metrics are used to evaluate the outcome of participating will vary. One size does not fit all. This study provides benchmark data on the most typical practices of exhibitors.
“The most popular metrics used and assessment of how exhibitions perform against them indicates the solid performance of the exhibition channel. Exhibitions deliver where it counts. The study suggests that exhibitions are valued for their ability to achieve multiple, important objectives in a compressed time and cost-effective setting.”
Several key findings from the study reveal that:
- The most popular way exhibitors evaluate exhibiting is using one or more intermediate, performance metrics, which track activities that precede a transaction, with 86 percent of exhibitors mentioning using one or more of these metrics.
- By far, the top ranked objective for most exhibitors is to generate leads, with 68 percent of exhibitors ranking it as one of their top three objectives in terms of importance. The study reveals that the most popular intermediate performance metrics relate to leads, with 60 percent or more for each lead metric.
- Business-to-business exhibitions deliver results on this top ranked objective, 60 percent of performance metric users say exhibitions perform best on lead metrics.
- ROI metrics are used by 62 percent of exhibitors, with the most popular metrics relating to sales revenue (45 percent) or sales potential (43 percent) to cost of exhibiting.
- Again, business-to-business exhibitions deliver results, with six out 10 ROI metric users saying exhibitions perform best on sales revenue metrics.
This study provides a comprehensive overview on not only how exhibitors evaluate the outcome of exhibiting, but also the type of process followed along with metrics used. CEIR evaluates where exhibitions perform best and how their performance compares to other tactics used to market showcased products and services. The study also profiles non-users of metrics.
Differences in practices and other findings are examined by differences in objectives for exhibiting, product sales cycle, type of product, industry sector, annual revenues of an organization and other key exhibitor characteristics. Lastly, given the importance of lead generation, this report provides an overview of lead qualification practices and outcomes and how these activities influence the outcome of exhibiting.
This study was conducted by CEIR’s internal research staff headed by Research Director Nancy Drapeau, PRC, with consultative support by Shikhar Sarin, Ph.D, Professor of Marketing at Boise State University. Fielding of the online survey ran from end of May to mid-June in 2015. Sample included a list from Exhibitrac, stratified by annual revenues and the 14 CEIR industry sectors, along with a random sampling of exhibitor customers provided by Shepard Exposition Services and Freeman. The final sample includes 568 completed surveys. Results provide statistically reliable data at the 95 percent confidence interval, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent.
For more information, visit ceir.org