5 Research-Backed Insights to Grow Your Show Attendance

With increasing show attendance remaining a top challenge for most, organizers continue to expand and add new tools to their audience acquisition toolkit. Increasingly, it’s not just about how you market your events, but where you market them too – especially in a fragmented media landscape.

To get to the heart of the where question, we dug into the recently released Part Two of the “How to Grow Attendance” series from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). Here are five research-backed insights event organizers can use to help grow show attendance:

Insight #1: Multichannel marketing is where it’s at.

CEIR found that on average, 14 tactics are used in the course of a marketing campaign today, including a mix of established and newer digital tactics and longstanding non-digital tactics. Because target attendees expect more personalized media consumption, CEIR notes that makes “multichannel marketing a necessity, not a luxury.”

Insight #2: Digital dominates traditional tactics.

CEIR ranked the effectiveness of fifteen of the top traditional marketing tactics for growing show attendance and found that only five are non-digital.

Several of the most effective digital tactics include:

Insight #3: Now is the time to consider emerging tactics.

While many organizers rely on traditional tactics, CEIR notes it’s important for marketers to keep pace with new trends. “Today’s new tools may well indeed become tomorrow’s popular tactics.”

According to CEIR, several emerging tactics to keep an eye on include:

Insight #4: Marketing automation adoption on the rise.

CEIR found nearly half of attendee marketers use automation technology to reduce the volume of work associated with executing attendee acquisition campaigns.

Insight #5: Personal, collaborative activities help grow attendance.

CEIR found that collaborative relationship and partnership activities, including exhibitor and partner invitation programs, relationship selling to key buyers, and invite -a-friend efforts, are effective in growing show attendance.

And more so, CEIR indicated these personal kinds of touches “help penetrate the information glut to reach and resonate with the broader community.”

Whether it’s a multi-channel approach that includes both traditional and emerging digital tactics, engaging in collaborative relationship building activities, or other novel ideas, research confirms organizers need to continue evolving their audience acquisition strategies to increase attendance.

For more insights about using emerging tactics like social referral marketing to grow your event, follow Gleanin on Twitter.

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