Tradeshow exhibitors not seeing results, survey finds

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Although half of respondents to a recent Business Marketing Association/Catalyst Exhibits survey said they are not seeing results when they exhibit at tradeshows, nearly three quarters of them still plan to exhibit at the same level or more next year.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said leads are a crucial factor to their company in making a decision on whether to exhibit at trade shows. Eighty-one percent exhibit to build brand identity and awareness.

Tim Roberts, president of Catalyst Exhibits, believes this indicates a fundamental flaw in how marketers approach trade shows.

Among respondents, tradeshows represent the largest part (23.6 percent) of the overall marketing communications budget. Almost 60 percent of the companies surveyed said they spend 20 percent of their time developing and implementing tradeshow strategy. Three out of four respondents exhibit at tradeshows, with an average of 18 shows per year.

Sixty percent of respondents buy their exhibit properties. Companies use the same exhibit in various tradeshows without considering the audience, message, activity or tradeshow goal.

The survey also found 57 percent of those surveyed would be interested in supporting an industry-wide initiative to audit and publish attendance data on key trade shows and events.

Finally 18 percent of the trade show budget is spent on booth services, such as installation, dismantling, and transportation, but only 10 percent is spent on customer facing marketing opportunities, such as sponsorships or hosted events.

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