The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has released the first report in its new research series, Omnichannel Marketing Insights. Entitled Report One: Marketing Channel Mix During Pandemic and Outlook Moving Forward for Brand Marketers That Exhibit at B2B Exhibitions the first report details omnichannel marketing practices during the pandemic and anticipates plans moving forward through 2022.
Along with benchmarks on the marketing channel mix used during the pandemic, the report assesses the extent by which participants will return to B2B exhibitions, and whether needs and preferences will shift in any way. Report One summarises overall findings from the exhibitor perspective. Results indicate the outlook for the B2B exhibition industry is strong among exhibiting companies that have used the channel pre-Covid-19.
“This report is a must-have for organisers looking for benchmarks and insights to help position their in-person B2B exhibitions for 2022,” said CEIR vice-president of Research Nancy Drapeau, IPC. “Exhibitors are intent on returning to exhibiting. The high value in using the channel to help achieve their high-priority marketing and sales objectives is the catalyst driving their return to events.”
“This report speaks to the importance of face-to-face marketing to brand marketers and buyers who attend,” added CEIR CEO Cathy Breden. “Digital and other channels have helped exhibiting companies and attendees meet their needs during the pandemic, though study results point to their limitations. For companies that exhibit, face-to-face marketing is an essential part of their marketing mix. They are looking forward to getting back to business in person.”
The 26-page report provides benchmarks and insights on the following:
- Marketing channels used by exhibitors compared to what attendees relied upon during the pandemic
- Current high-priority marketing and sales objectives of exhibiting company organisations
- Effectiveness of channels used during the pandemic in helping achieve marketing and sales objectives
- Marketing budget outlook for 2021 and 2022
- B2B exhibition channel overall image/perceptions
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Unique values of exhibiting not furnished by other marketing channels
- Importance of face-to-face interactions at exhibitions at purchase process stages
- B2B exhibition activity
- Volume of exhibitions and typical booth sizes from 2019 through 2022
- Booth staff in 2019, plans for 2021/2022
- Commentary on reasons for participation levels
- Among those exhibiting in 2021 through 2022
- Value of exhibiting to help achieve high-priority marketing and sales objectives
- Planned use of in-person representation at international B2B exhibitions if Covid-19 persists
- Exhibitor interest in integrating digital options into event lifecycle in next two years.
The new series of reports from CEIR is based on survey research done with attendees and exhibitors. The complete Omnichannel Marketing Insights series will include a further five reports.
CEIR’s Research Council commissioned this study and identified top-ranked US-based exhibitions, those with at least 45,000 net square feet (NSF) of paid space or larger from its CEIR database, with a goal of recruiting at least one exhibition per CEIR industry sector. The end result was the recruitment of 20 B2B exhibitions, which gave CEIR permission to poll their attendees and exhibitors from the 2019 edition of their events. For the exhibitor sample, a list was also purchased from Exhibitracs’ top 250 US trade show list for 2019 events.
Online surveys were fielded from July to early August 2021 generating samples of 1,799 attendee surveys and 316 exhibitor surveys.