CEIR 2018 Marketing Spend Decision Report Shows B2B Exhibit Trends

March 2, 2018

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has released its 2018 Marketing Spend Decision Report, new research profiles marketing practices among business-to-business (B2B) exhibitors of all organizational sizes.

Exhibiting remains the largest slice of the marketing budget, but integrated marketing is key to the strategy at most corporations. Sixty-eight percent of exhibitors surveyed also allocated marketing dollars to digital channels. Free or low-cost channels, such as e-mail promotion and social media topped the list.

The report indicates that top objectives for B2B exhibiting include lead generation, brand and product awareness, and networking/meeting with customers.

“This report shows the continued strength of B2B exhibitions,” said Cathy Breden, CEO of CEIR. “It is the face-to-face marketing channel of choice for brand marketers that use it.”

The data validates many of the assumptions that B2B event marketers make about the challenges they face when planning an exhibit strategy. “Do more with less” has been a mantra at many organizations for a number of years, and survey results regarding exhibition and overall marketing budget shows that this is still true.

Measurement is more important than ever before. According to report data, while tradeshow exhibit success is generally gauged based on both sales and marketing criteria, sales metrics top the list of metrics most important to management.

“The report offers exhibitors and exhibition organizers valuable metrics,” Breden said.

She added, “In addition to profiling the complete marketing channel mix among brand marketers that exhibit, it also includes other important metrics that indicate movement in the market that stakeholders need to understand to effectively respond.”

The median number of exhibitions participated in showed a slight increase from 2015 to 2017, but report results suggest that this trend may change. Quality may prevail over quantity for 2018, with more organizations opting for larger booths in lieu of adding more events to their calendars. It does appear to be an either-or choice: budgets have remained flat since 2015, so when inflation is taken into consideration, spending has declined marginally.

The 2018 Marketing Spend Decision Report contains:

• Top-ranked important objectives for exhibiting

• Success metrics to evaluate the outcome of exhibiting

• Reported marketing spend allocation across all marketing channels

• Digital tactics used among those allocating marketing dollars to digital channels

• Number of exhibitions participated in 2015 and projections through 2018

• Typical booth sizes from 2015 and projections through 2018

• Median spending per exhibition estimate

The report also highlights differences by specific demographics including annual revenues, annual marketing budgets, booth size and specific CEIR sectors.

Survey results in the report are based on a study CEIR conducted during the spring of 2017. The study polled a sampling of exhibitors from lists provided by Freeman, GES, Fern Expositions, Hargrove and Shepard Exposition Services. A total of 424 exhibitors responded.

The report is free for CEIR members, or $99 for non-members.

Click HERE to download the full 2018 Marketing Spend Decision Report.

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