As we work our way through the 2nd quarter of 2015, it’s a good time to review the economic outlook going forward. Earlier this year, Exhibitor Magazine published the results of their 2015 Economic Outlook Survey. After compiling the results for over 400 exhibit and event professionals, they state that the future of face-to-face marketing is very strong, despite the stagnation of event budgets. In fact, 87% of exhibit and event marketing professionals are saying that their company’s trade show programs will achieve increased results this year.
The trade show industry follows the national trends very closely, and we can see the parallels. Kiplinger reported a positive 3.3% growth increase in the US economy this year, and the exhibit industry is following a similar path.
Let’s take a closer look at the trade show and event industry. While the number of shows attended has stayed the same, approximately 33% report an increase in their annual budgets. But when combined with other marketing efforts along with the reallocation of funds, the spending levels have remained basically the same.
However, there seems to be some very optimistic managers out there. Approximately 75% of respondents reported their budgets either growing or at least remaining the same, plus 24% reporting definite plans for purchasing new exhibits this year. And almost 90% claim their programs will achieve better results that last year, citing enhanced lead retrieval programs, better booth staffing and improved execution along with increases in show attendance, new exhibit materials and an improving economy as justification for the optimism.
For the complete article in Exhibitor, follow this link, http://www.exhibitoronline.com/topics/article.asp?ID=1827
In addition to this article, we reviewed a report from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research titled “The Marketing $pend Decision.” The report provides insights among business-to-business exhibitors of various sizes as they measure the marketing spend and report their metrics from 2012 through 2014.
Here is a summary of their findings:
- The top ranked objectives used by exhibitors are: to reach new customers, gain new sales leads, build product awareness and meet with existing customers
- Both sales and marketing metrics are used by exhibitors to evaluate the success of exhibiting at trade shows
- Six out of 10 use the number of sales closed after the show as a success metric
- Median spend per exhibition is approximately $20,000.00
- Exhibitor’s most popular digital marketing tactics are emails, social media, websites and microsites, and online advertising
- Business-to-business exhibiting is the marketing channel of choice, which captures over 40% of the marketing dollars
This last point is the most intriguing. Business-to-business exhibiting, meaning trade shows and events, are the main marketing channel of choice. Creative websites and fancy brochures aside, the concept of meeting with your customers, shaking their hand while looking them in the eye is still ideal method of doing business.
So as these organizations continue to report their research on the exhibit industry and the economy, the indicators continue to point to a steady growth for the exhibition business. These findings will be a positive influence on the decisions and strategies being made in the marketing departments all across the various business sectors. As businesses and the economy grow, companies will continue to attend more shows, which will in turn spur more business growth, which will drive participation at more shows, and so on.
In summary, the exhibition industry has shown some very positive signs of growth already and will continue to grow through the remainder of this year.