Every exhibitor knows that the battle for attendees' attention begins long before the show floor opens. The first salvo, so to speak, is usually a direct mailer, LinkedIn post, or email inviting clients and prospects to visit a company's booth. But which tactics are exhibitors employing most often? How much are they investing in them? And are they successful? Those are just a few of the questions EXHIBITOR hoped to answer when it issued the 2017 Pre-Show Marketing Survey, which queried more than 100 corporate exhibit managers regarding their experiences with, predictions for, and opinions of their organizations' pre-show marketing tactics.
According to the results, 85 percent of companies currently use at least one form of pre-show promotion in an attempt to improve the return on investment from their exhibit-marketing spend. Not surprisingly, the most popular tactics include a host of low- to no-cost options such as social media and email. In fact, 33 percent of respondents spend less than 1 percent of their exhibit-marketing budgets on pre-show tactics. But not everyone is pinching pennies when it comes to courting new and existing clients leading up to an event: One in 10 companies invests more than 10 percent of its exhibiting budget on pre-show promotions.
While only one-third of exhibitors who utilize such tactics set measurable goals to gauge their effectiveness, 91 percent of those who do reported their efforts met or exceeded initial expectations, helping to drive booth traffic and generate sales leads. Still, despite the fact that 63 percent of exhibitors believe the importance of pre-show marketing will increase, only 40 percent plan on boosting their investment in such efforts.