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June 12, 2009

Research confirms key link between live and digital marketing

A comprehensive new report reveals that corporate exhibitors and exhibition management professionals are committed to integrating digital media into their exhibitions and similar event marketing programmes.

Adapting to the changing information consumption habits of customers and the increasing role of technology in the decision-making process, leveraging digital media is enabling the multi-billion dollar exhibition industry to reach and engage audiences more effectively than ever before.

The report, entitled Digital + Exhibit Marketing Insights 2009, was produced through a unique collaboration between industry research powerhouse, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) and George P. Johnson (GPJ), a worldwide event and experience marketing agency, and funded in part by a grant from the Exhibition Industry Foundation.

It is based on the responses of 287 senior marketers and exhibition management executives, who took an online survey on their use of digital marketing between April and May 2009.

“The findings underscore the complementary nature of the exhibition and digital marketing channels, which are both rooted in communities of interest, dialog, relationships, interactivity and highly personalized experiences,” said Doug Ducate, president and chief executive of CEIR.

“What’s more, each channel eliminates the inherent weakness of the other: digital expands the reach of the live experience while events facilitate the face-to-face contact critical to forging real relationships.”

Key findings include:
• 40% of respondents consider digital marketing to be a vital component in the execution of live events; 17% consider it a lead tactic
• E-mail marketing is the digital marketing tactic most used by exhibition production (95%) and corporate brand marketers (87%)
• 40% of corporate brand marketers and 31% of exhibition management executives report using virtual media; 71% of respondents use virtual media to accommodate geographically widespread workforces and customers
• On average, the webinar (81%) is the most commonly used virtual event type among respondents
• Respondents dedicate 10% of their exhibition production budget to digital marketing sponsorship tactics

“The report’s findings reinforce the need for the marketing industry to embrace best practices around digital in order to optimise exhibit marketing portfolios and programme return on investment,” said Robert G Valleee, Jr., chief executive of George P Johnson.

“Going into 2010, this report is an absolute must-read for those formulating their exhibit marketing budgets and looking for the data necessary to make sound judgments about where and how to spend on digital media as part of the usual mix.”

A pdf of the global report can be downloaded at www.ceir.org and www.gpj.com

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