Study: Where Trade Show Organizers Spend Their Marketing Budgets

Exhibition organizers use a broad range of traditional and digital tactics to attract qualified attendees to their events, finds a new study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).

The study, “Cost to Attract Attendees,” examines spending and the marketing-mix allocation for attendee promotions in order to determine which marketing tactics are most effective in driving attendance at exhibitions. Among its key findings:

• Direct marketing methods — both email and direct mail — are most popular, with more than 90 percent of organizers using either tactic. Additionally, 40 percent or more use print magazine advertising, social media, online advertising, exhibitor complimentary tickets, trades for lists or advertising, exhibiting at other exhibitions and telemarketing.

• Email (26 percent) and direct mail (30 percent) take up more than half of available attendee promotion dollars. All other tactics are allocated 10 percent or less of available funds.

• The promotional tactics considered to be the most effective for driving attendance to exhibitions are direct mail (87 percent) and email (86 percent). Other top-ranked tactics include exhibitor complimentary tickets; exhibiting at other exhibitions; telemarketing; trades for lists or free advertising; and other referral, gift or discounts.

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