Digital solutions are increasing at a fast pace. For organizers and brand marketers alike, it is very hard to know which digital solutions are worth testing and which are ideas that will disappear as fast as a Snapchat message.
This report series offers insights on the digital experience attendees want to have throughout the entire journey, from the beginning of searching for prospective events to attend to pre-event planning, needs on-premise and follow-up communication preferences. It compares these preferences to organizer and exhibitor offerings, and highlights where current practices are in alignment with attendee preferences and where there are gaps. It offers a road map for organizers and brand marketers alike to inventory their own digital practices to industry norms, help identify where their practices align with industry trends and where they may be ahead or behind.
President and CEO Brian Casey, CEM notes, “In keeping with CEIR’s mission to provide insights on leading edge trends, research offering guidance on where organizers and exhibitors need to invest in digital offerings is essential. Other CEIR research has consistently found that digital is a complementary medium to the exhibition channel, it supports and enhances exhibition marketing and extends its marketing impact for organizers and exhibitors. Though research is wanting on what attendees want. This study offers answers. It helps organizers and exhibitors prioritize the use of digital to have a maximum, positive impact on the attendee experience.”
CEIR Research Director Nancy Drapeau, PRC explains, “This initiative was a massive undertaking. Given that it covers attendee digital needs and preferences throughout the journey, focus reports will be released on specific topic areas. The report released today provides insights relating to which digital tactics attendees use to search for prospective events, and their registration and pre-event planning practices. Later reports will be forthcoming providing insights relating to exhibition organizer mobile apps, exhibit booth preferences, among other topic areas. The data is still being analyzed. Other insights may generate further focus reports.”
Key findings from this focus report:
- A digital multichannel mix is a must to help prospective attendees decide whether to attend an event. Results indicate an exhibition organizer’s information sources carry the most weight; the event’s website is its flagship marketing vehicle, identified as an important resource by 70 percent of attendees.
- Organizers could do a better job in collaborating with their exhibitors, as any information from them helps persuade an attendee to come.
- The exhibition website is the gateway to an event. Attendees engage in extensive pre-event planning. A majority of attendees rate 17 of the 18 listed pre-show planning tools as important to have access to on the exhibition website. They are looking for interactive tools to search, sort and evaluate all aspects of attending and sign up for events and services if they so choose. They also want to be able to pull down the information they need for their visit as well as access to an attendee list.
- When comparing attendee preferences to digital options organizers offer for badge and event ticket pick-up, gaps are uncovered that offer opportunities. The biggest opportunity is an affinity for self-serve options.
This report offers interesting results relating to gamifying pre-event planning. In addition to overall results, this report uncovers unique preferences by gender, age, frequency of attending, purchasing authority, organizational size and industry sector.
BACKGROUND ON METHODOLOGY
This study involves research from the vantage point of attendees, exhibitors and exhibition organizers. Online survey research was conducted in the summer of 2015. A nationally representative sample of 421 business-to-business exhibition attendees was generated using ResearchNow’s online business panel. Qualified executives at organizations that run or manage business-to-business exhibitions, belonging to IAEE, SISO and PCMA were invited to participate in the organizer study, generating a sample of 194 executives. For the brand marketer perspective, sample from Exhibitracs and Global Experience Specialists was used, to which a total of 186 qualified executives responded.
Click here to download 2016 Digital Toolkit to Enhance the Attendee Experience, Focus Report on Pre-event Communications and Registration Offerings.
CEIR serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research 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.