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This Just In

CEIR Exhibit and Sponsorship Sales Approaches Report Reveals the Top Ranked Revenue Generators to Guide Sponsorship Offerings

MADDY RYLEY, MANAGING EDITOR
Graphic that says, "CEIR Exhibit and Sponsorship Sales Approaches Driving Revenue Growth"

CHICAGO — The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released the first report of its CEIR Exhibit and Sponsorship Sales Approaches series, detailing the challenges B2B event organizers are facing while trying to generate revenue through exhibit and sponsorship sales, as well as what approaches are credited with being the most effective.

Like previous CEIR reports, the biggest challenges respondents reported were economic, including inflation (55%), travel costs (51%), the state of the economy (49%) and supply chain disruptions (35%). Given these concerns, executives are getting laser-focused on growing sales, with 92% focusing on how to maximize sales outcomes via retention and new business, 88% focused on event content considerations and 75% focused on economic and sector-specific factors.

When considering what sponsorship offerings to make available, event organizers can look to channels that are rated as the most effective at generating revenue. According to CEIR’s report, the percentage of users rated the following marketing, advertising and signage options as very effective/effective: 

  • Email blast to registration list (83%) 
  • Printed banners on premise at exhibitions (83%)
  • Show signage (81%)
  • Push text messaging (80%)
  • Social media community engagement (78%)
  • Digital signage on-premises (78%)
  • Digital education events (77%)
  • Exhibition website advertising (74%)
  • Mobile app ad (72%)

On-site sponsorships can be very effective at generating revenue as well, including fan-based, curated experiences, which, although not widely used, are reported as being highly effective by 74% of users, according to CEIR. Other effective on-site sponsorship offerings, according to users, were food service and meals on the show floor and at networking breaking (76%), guided tours of the show for first-timers and/or international attendees (69%) and other live experiences (65%).

Education, which is a motivating factor for professionals to attend B2B events, also offers opportunities for sponsorship sales and revenue generation. Of those that offered education sponsorships, 85% of organizers reported it as effective at generating revenue. Special activities and receptions during or outside of show hours were also found to be effective by more than 80% of users.

Branded items and attendee amenities also offer opportunities to increase sponsorship sales and revenue, while covering costs. 84% of users said lanyards given out by the exhibition were effective, 77% of users found exhibition giveaways to be effective and 74% reported registration badges as being effective at generating revenue. Hotel keycards were rated as effective by 73% of users, and the shuttle bus service also proved effective for more than 50% of users.

Custom sponsorships that are negotiated with the exhibition are being offered more now (by 65% of B2B organizers) when compared to 2019 (by 56% of B2B organizers). Offering custom sponsorships can potentially enhance the show floor and attendee experience as well as be a lucrative revenue generator. Out of the show organizers who reported offering custom sponsorships, 85% found it effective in generating revenue.

“So, the question is, what is the right mix of sponsorship offerings? Spoiler alert, no one size fits all,” CEIR Vice President of Research Nancy Drapeau, IPC, said. “There are some differences reported by event size, industry sector, and other segments. Sponsorships that are most effective in revenue generation are a mix of traditional and new. Organizers that have met or beat 2019 gross revenues appear to be more practical and discerning in what they offer. There are areas where their practices differ from organizers in general.”

According to the report, the outlook on the future is bullish, with a majority expecting all metrics —NSF, number of exhibiting companies, sponsorship sales and booth space rates — to increase by the next edition of their event and outperform 2019 results.

Download the CEIR Exhibit and Sponsorships Sales Approaches Driving Revenue Growth Report One here.

Reach Nancy Drapeau at ndrapeau@ceir.org

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