Report: Trade Shows Ripe for Mobile Marketing

Attendees at trade shows and exhibitions are ready for and receptive to mobile marketing techniques, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), which last week published the second report in its new "Digital Toolkit" series.

Titled "Focus Report on Attendee Technology Profile," the new report provides a snapshot of attendee attitudes toward the use of technology, mobile app habits, and digital device preferences for business use in general as well as when attending exhibitions.

Information in the report includes: when an attendee is apt to adopt new technology; percentage of time spent online for business purposes by device (desktop/laptop, tablet or smartphone); average number of mobile apps used by attendees; device where mobile apps are typically downloaded; devices typically used when visiting a business-to-business exhibition and average number of devices brought; and comfort level with the use of attendee tracking technology on an exhibition floor.

Among CEIR's key findings:

• Mobile device usage is pervasive across all age groups: Nearly all attendees (96 percent) reporting that they carry a digital device at exhibitions and 75 percent that they carry a smartphone.

• Attendees may be open to being tracked, especially if there are benefits to doing so: Half of attendees say they are comfortable with attendee tracking on a show floor and 31 percent are neutral, having no strong feelings either way.

• When it comes to crafting digital offerings, "cutting-edge" isn't always the best choice: The largest percentage of attendees wait for technology to mainstream before trying something new.

"This report is a call-to-action to exhibition organizers and exhibitors alike to pay attention to attendee digital media habits," CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey said in a statement. "The study indicates that the mobile marketing wave is upon the business-to-business industry today. The pervasive use of digital devices while attending an exhibition offers the organizer a tremendous opportunity to enhance the attendee experience. It also offers exhibitors a chance to maximize engagement with attendees to further enhance the experience of current and prospective customers while they are on the trade show floor."

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