CEIR Survey Kicks Off Sponsorship Sales Series

Hil Anderson, Senior Editor
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DALLAS – The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has released the first of its five-part series of reports on sponsorship sales just in time for the upcoming First Quarter sales push.
The first installment of the “B2B Exhibition Sponsorship Playbook Series” compares how the sponsorships offered by show organizers line up with the always-evolving preferences of exhibitors who are looking for greater exposure for their companies at a trade show than routinely setting up a booth and standing by. The first report is titled  “What Organizers Offer Compared to What Exhibitors Buy” and is now available to CEIR members on their website: https://store.ceir.org/.
“Report One goes deep, detailing which sponsorships are most popularly sold by organizers to what is most purchased by exhibitors,” said Nancy Drapeau, CEIR’s Vice President of Research. “The benchmarks can help both stakeholders compare their practices to determine how they can refine their programs and investments.”
Sponsorships are an entrenched component of trade show revenue. The development of robust websites and social media as well as experiential networking events has provided more sponsorship opportunities for exhibitors to make their brands known to attendees. “Our results indicate there is a vibrant market for sponsorships,” Drapeau said. “They provide an average contribution of 19.5% to a B2B exhibition’s gross revenues, and 83% of exhibitors have invested in sponsorships in the past two years.”
CEIR took a deeper look at exactly what types of sponsorships were most likely to attract buyers. The results found that larger shows were most likely to attract exhibitors with hefty marketing budgets and were more willing to sign up for a sponsorship. The survey also interestingly found that old-school products, such as banners on the exhibit floor and advertisements in the show program, were still solidly popular, although digital advertising was more popular with millennial exhibitors than with the baby-boomer demographic of decision-makers.
At the same time, however, some respondents said they felt their sponsorships could get hopelessly lost in the shuffle at shows with large exhibit floors and longer lists of sponsors.
The four other reports in the Sponsorship Playbook series will look at more-specific angles of a successful sponsorship program:
  • Part Two: Sponsorship Sales Process — Customer Satisfaction, Package or A La Carte? Self-Serve or Staff-Assisted?
  • Part Three: Evaluating the Outcome of Sponsorship Sales and Purchases
  • Part Four: Future Outlook for Sponsorship Sales and Purchases
  • Part Five: Who Are Non-Buyers and What May Prompt Them to Buy?
The statistical conclusions drawn in Part One were the result of in-depth surveys conducted in the First Quarter of 2019 and an online survey offered in the spring. A total of 213 show organizers took part in the polling for a 7.0% response rate. CEIR said percentages were enough to “provide statistically reliable results at the 95.0% confidence level with a margin of error of plus or minus 6.7%.”
There were also 728 qualified exhibitors, culled from the client lists of three general-services contractors, who took part, providing a response rate of 2.2% with a 3.6% margin of error.
Cathy Breden, CEO of CEIR, said the rich haul of data was “a result of industry-wide support.”
“The organizer sample is made possible with support from the American Society of Association Executives; International Association of Exhibitions and Events; Society of Independent Show Organizers; Canadian Association of Exposition Management; and Professional Convention Management Association,” Breden said. “The exhibitor sample was made possible with assistance from Fern, Hargrove and Shepard Exposition Services.”
Release dates for the next four parts of the Sponsorship Playbook have not been announced. Follow Trade Show Executive for updates.
Reach Cathy Breden at (972) 687-9242 or cbreden@ceir.org; Nancy Drapeau at (972) 687-9242 or ndrapeau@ceir.org.