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CEIR Explores Attendee Acquisition Trends Driving Growth

CEIR reveals its latest findings on where attendee marketers are most successful in meeting or exceeding shows’ pre-pandemic performance levels.

By Mary Tucker, CEIR Sr. Communications & Content Manager

Originally published on

As the business-to-business (B2B) exhibition industry continues to rebound from the pandemic, show organizers continue to maneuver challenges such as global supply chain snarls that hinder exhibitor participation and inflation ramifications that impact the costs to run and participate in events.

Turnover in employee staff, driven by COVID, and the great resignation movement among Boomers exiting for retirement place pressures on organizers to update their attendee and exhibitor lists for event marketing and promotions. How do organizers in today’s fast-changing business environment reach target audiences and deliver content that will entice them back to their shows? And, how do attendee fees support event revenues?

These are the questions CEIR delves into in its upcoming report series, Attendee Acquisition Trends Driving Growth.

“This report series provides insights on how attendee marketers are succeeding in rebuilding their attendee audiences today,” notes CEIR Vice President of Research Nancy Drapeau, IPC.

Report One: Planning, Tools, Performance Metrics, Costs, Gross Revenues and Outcomes tells the story of an industry in recovery. Readers will gain insights on where to focus during these transitional times, to the end goal of meeting or surpassing their 2019 performance levels (the litmus test for most organizers).

Drapeau explains, “Successful marketers are laser-focused on areas where they can succeed in attracting the most professionals to their events. This report identifies which performance metrics are most successful in meeting or exceeding 2019 results.”

Among the challenges B2B exhibition marketers face today are the impact inflation is having on attendees’ and exhibitors’ ability to participate in events; shorter marketing campaign cycles; and smaller staffs taking on the same workloads. This report examines how show organizers are tackling these challenges and adapting their marketing plans accordingly.

CEIR recently shared a preview of this data in a webinar moderated by CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP-F, CAE, CEM and co-presented by Drapeau along with Director of Event Experience for the American College of Healthcare Executives Gregg Lapin, CMP and Senior Marketing Director for Emerald X Jennifer Yarber.

In addition to trends relating to performance metrics, study findings show that the messaging that resonated most with attendees focused on connecting with one’s community, face-to-face (F2F) engagement, speaking to key values of the channel, and was written in language that resonated with target attendees because it was specific to them. The webinar participants gave examples of how their marketing campaigns reflect these and other trends uncovered in this study. Access the complete webinar here.

Report One: Planning, Tools, Performance Metrics, Costs, Gross Revenues and Outcomes includes detailed recommendations on how to adjust marketing approaches today to position a campaign for success. Issues covered include:

  • Re-evaluating and quantifying the universe of prospects for an event by target markets.
  • Creating registration volume targets that are strategic, more specific than just setting an overall registration goal.
  • Other tactics and tools that help boost registration numbers.

Report One: Planning, Tools, Performance Metrics, Costs, Gross Revenues and Outcomes will be followed by Report Two: Marketing Channel Mix, Messaging and Other Tactics that Drive Recovery and Report Three: Areas of Focus for Improvement for Future Attendee Acquisition Efforts.

Report One: Planning, Tools, Performance Metrics, Costs, Gross Revenues and Outcomes is available here to CEIR subscribers and IAEE members at no charge, and costs $49 for non-members. You can also find plenty of other CEIR research here.

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