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March 23, 2015

CEIR Looks at How B2B Exhibition Organizers Are Using Data Analytics

Today, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research released two reports from a new study on data analytics practices among business-to-business exhibition organizers. The first report, Use of Analytics by Today's Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizers, documents overall trends in use of analytics. The second report, The Roads Traveled to Data Driven Decision-making relates the data analytics journey of 12 different exhibition organizers in case studies.

"The term Big Data is hot and provocative – it is everywhere in today's business media," CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey said in a statement as the studies were released for purchase. "How can exhibition organizers use data analytics effectively? These reports cut through the hype to offer a practical, no-nonsense look at how exhibition organizers are using data analytics today and where it is delivering results. The study was designed to evaluate the extent of analytic activities aimed at serving specific important business objectives that enable organizers to plan and grow their events, including use of analytics for: attendee marketing, exhibitor sales and operations."
"Data analytic tools are quite powerful," CEIR Research Director Nancy Drapeau added. "It is very easy to fall into the trap of 'Analysis Paralysis.' One can study and analyze so many things. Though when it comes to supporting an exhibition organizer, what matters? This report offers significant insights from some key industry leaders that are already practicing data analytics offering the reader a perspective on answers to these questions."

The top five findings from this study found that that:

  • Most business-to-business exhibition organizers are jumping into the analytics game: 68 percent of surveyed organizers are engaging – or will engage – in data analytics within a year. Organizers that are sitting on the sidelines should consider how to use their data for business advantage, as competitors may very likely be engaging in these activities.
  • Small Data or Big Data? Findings suggest that organizer data does not meet the definition of Big Data, which entails the three V's of Volume, Variety and Velocity. Two-thirds of organizers work with data sets of 100,000 or fewer records.
  • Size Does Not Matter; Effective Use of Analytics Does. The size of the data, large or small, does not matter as the same analytic procedures and techniques are applied regardless of the size of the data set. Findings indicate analytics are delivering business results. And that is what matters.
  • Findings suggest that exhibition organizers are in the early stages of using data analytics for business decision-making. Applications used for analytics suggest efforts are more basic and siloed activities. The most typical applications include:
  • General software, 82 percent – such as Excel and Access; and
  • Analytic tools in function specific software, 76 percent, e.g., software for marketing, CRM, sales, email marketing, website (Google Analytics especially), social media and event management.
  • The most popular uses of analytics are to support decision-making for attendee marketing (95 percent) and exhibitor sales efforts (82 percent).

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