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2017 CEIR Cost to Attract Attendees COVER

Today the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced the release of an updated version of the Cost to Attract Attendees Report, an invaluable resource for executives responsible for attendee marketing for business-to-business exhibitions. This benchmark report provides metrics on spending and marketing mix allocation for exhibition attendee promotions, as well as the marketing tactics found to be most effective in driving attendance.

“This report is a resource for organizers to compare their attendee promotion spend and marketing mix practices with industry trends,” stated CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE.” To maximize the usefulness of this report as a planning tool, we have broken out the benchmark statistics by key exhibition metrics. This enables organizers to compare their practices with similar events. For example, a smaller exhibition organizer by attendance volume can compare its approach to events of similar size.”

This 29-page report provides statistics on the median spending levels overall, as well as on a per verified attendee basis. Marketing mix by tactics is also examined, identifying which tactics are found to be most effective in driving attendance. The findings are compared to those of 2013, when the study was last done.

Metrics are also reported by six different business-to-business exhibition categories:

  • Gross revenues
  • Verified attendance
  • Net square footage (NSF) of paid space
  • Geographic scope of attendance
  • Whether an exhibition rotates locations
  • Type of exhibition organizer – association versus independent

The biggest take away from this study shows that overall attendee marketing budgets have not grown and the per verified attendee cost has declined, suggesting attendee marketers are delivering larger crowds despite flat or lower budgets.

CEIR Cost to Attract Attendees Graphic

When looking at how marketing dollars are spent, there have been shifts away from tactics that entail higher out-of-pocket costs compared to digital alternatives; though direct mail and direct email continue to dominate, together capturing over half of attendee marketing budgets for exhibitions of all types.

In terms of which tactics are found to be most effective in driving attendance, 60%+ of users of eight different tactics rate them as effective, affirming the critical importance of an integrated marketing approach. Email continues to prevail as the most effective, attendee promotional tool. Compared to 2013 results, more marketers also rate other digital tactics as effective in driving attendance.

There are other notable differences by type of event in terms of spending levels and marketing mix, which are discussed in this report.

Click here to download the full report. IAEE members can access the CEIR library and reports at no cost – a benefit of IAEE membership.

About CEIR
The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering research-based knowledge tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.

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Media Inquiries:
Mary Tucker
Senior Public Relations Manager
+1 (972) 687-9226
mtucker@ceir.org