CEIR Research Shows ‘Vibrant Market’ for Sponsorships

Author: Michelle Russell       

CEIR Exhibition Sponsorship Playbook

CEIR has released Part One of its 2019 B2B Exhibition Sponsorship Playbook. (CEIR)

Sponsorships contribute almost 20 percent to a B2B exhibition’s gross revenues, according to the just-released results of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s (CEIR) B2B Exhibition Sponsorship Playbook, Part 1: What Organizers Offer Compared to What Exhibitors Buy.

The results, said CEIR Vice President of Research Nancy Drapeau, “indicate a vibrant market for sponsorships … where 83 percent of exhibitors have invested in sponsorships in the past two years.”

Exhibitors that have purchased sponsorships in the past two years spend an average of nearly 14 percent of their B2B exhibiting marketing budget on sponsorships.

The study was framed using insights from in-depth interviews with executives at exhibiting companies and B2B exhibition organizers. More than 200 exhibition organizer executives and 728 exhibitors responded to the survey.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of what organizers offer and what exhibitors purchase in terms of print marketing/advertising:

  • Combination of print options — 98 percent offer and 66 percent buy
  • Ads in printed show programs — 77 percent offer and 38 percent buy
  • Show signage — 86 percent offer and 32 percent buy
  • Printed trade publication ads — 52 percent offer and 28 percent buy
  • Printed banners on premise — 84 percent offer and 23 percent buy (half of which seek to have them placed in high- attendee traffic areas on the show floor)

In terms of digital marketing/advertising options:

  • Combination of digital options — 99 percent offer and 63 percent buy
  • Social media — 57 percent offer and 35 percent buy
  • Blast email to registration list — 61 percent offer and 33 percent buy
  • Exhibition website ads — 75 percent offer and 31 percent buy
  • Enhanced listing in exhibitor directory — 64 percent offer and 22 percent buy

Based on the responses, the biggest disparity between what exhibition organizers offer and exhibitors want to pay for is on-site signage and banners.

The study is the first in a five-part series to be published by CEIR, made possible by support from ASAE, IAEE, CAEM, and PCMA. The other four reports, to be published over the next few months, cover the sponsorship sales process, evaluating the outcome of sponsorship sales and purchases, the future outlook for sponsorship sales and purchases, and identifying non-buyers and what may prompt them to buy.

A download of Part 1 of the B2B Exhibition Sponsorship Playbook is available ($49 for non-members).

Michelle Russell is the editor in chief of Convene.