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Targeted at business-to-business exhibition organizers, a new study from Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) focuses on spending and the marketing-mix allocation for attendee promotions and marketing tactics found to be most effective in driving attendance at exhibitions: Cost to Attract Attendees.

Cost to Attract Attendees provides statistics on the median spending levels overall as well as on a per verified attendee basis. Marketing mix by tactics is also reported. In addition to disclosing overall industry trends, statistics are reported by key exhibition metrics, including gross revenue, verified attendance, net square footage of paid space, geographic scope of attendance, whether an exhibition rotates locations and type of exhibition organizer.

Exhibition organizers use a broad range of traditional and digital tactics to attract qualified attendees to their events. 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.

Though the mix of tactics varies, email (26 percent) and direct mail (30 percent) take up more than one-half of available attendee promotion dollars. All other tactics are allocated 10 percent or less of available funds.

Traditional attendee promotional tactics are considered to be the most effective methods for driving attendance to exhibitions. Direct marketing is No. 1: 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.

IAEE members can access the CEIR library and reports at no cost – a benefit of IAEE membership. To access the full report, visit here.

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