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Marketing Executives’ Outlook on Trade Shows and Events

by Gwen Parsons 7. August 2013 20:22

The Chief Marketing Officers Council and the Exhibit and Event Marketers Association recently partnered to benchmark the value of trade shows and events based on a survey of senior level corporate marketing executives. The results have been released in a report entitled “Customer Attainment from Event Engagement” and addressed in a symposium held last week. Here are some of my key takeaways:

Trade shows and events are core to the marketing mix

  • Exhibitions and events are viewed as a major source of new prospects and opportunities for gathering leads and meeting with customers.
  • Survey respondents rated conferences, conventions, trade shows, expos, and customer hospitality events as most important to their business development strategies. Online events, large event sponsorships, and dealer meetings were rated least important.
  • Forty percent of survey respondents are replacing big shows with more vertical market events that offer targeted audiences.
  • Forty-four percent are hosting their own customer events.

Marketing budgets remain steady

  • The CMO Council’s “2013 State of Marketing” study reported that an average of nine percent of the marketing budget is allocated to trade shows and another three percent to corporate events for an impressive total of twelve percent.
  • More than half of survey respondents said their budget allocation will remain the same next year.
  • One of the top challenges identified by marketers was managing escalating costs within their trade show budget.

Marketers anticipate increased demand for justification

  • In order to make a strong business case for trade show participation marketers are seeking front end and back office measurements to demonstrate event effectiveness.
  • Attendee mix and quality is the top criteria used by marketers to select events. Marketers expressed their need for reliable attendee information from show organizers - before and after the event.
  • In addition, the study revealed interest among marketers for show organizers to employ new technologies such as RFID badges, QR codes, and Apps to provide metrics such as booth visits, length of stay, and conference content access.

There’s room for improvement in the back office as well. Marketers continue to wrestle with how trade shows and events contribute to sales revenue. Only about one third of marketers feel their company does a good job converting leads into business opportunities. Although more than 40 percent of marketers say they have CRM systems they are happy with, they don’t have visibility into the sales funnel and conversion pipeline.

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.