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Virtually all event marketers use technology to enhance their marketing efforts, with some 84% using tech inside their tradeshow exhibits and 54% incorporating it into their companies’ corporate events. That’s according to the latest marketing technology study from Exhibitor Magazine [registration required].

This almost universal adoption of at least some kind of technology for face-to-face marketing is likely to only grow in importance for those responding to the survey. Some 85% said they see the value and importance of technology as a marketing tool growing in the coming year, with only 13% believing it will stay the same and just 1% believing it will decrease. Having benchmark results stretching back to 2010, Exhibitor says the results demonstrate that tech usage continues to rise.

This aligns with other data on the market from Gartner that indicates CMOs are spending ever-increasing amounts on tech, with the average percentage of the budget dedicated now exceeding labor costs.

So, how do marketers that run events compare? Below are some highlights from the research.

Event Marketers Brim with Enthusiasm For Tech

The enthusiasm for technology’s potential in the context of exhibit and event marketing is overwhelmingly positive. Seven in 10 (68%) of respondents believe that technology has “limitless” potential, compared with 3 in 10 that hold a more moderate view. At the other end of the spectrum, there remains only a small percentage (2%) of individuals who feel that technology has “little potential”.

Exhibitors are embracing a wide range of technologies for their exhibitions or events, spanning both hardware and software. Some of the top technologies include tablet PCs (used by over half of event marketers), mobile apps, digital signage/messaging and streaming videos or webinars. Emerging technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality are also being used, but to a much lesser extent than more traditional technologies, being used typically by fewer than 1 in 10.

How Event Marketers Are Spending

Generally, event marketers are spending a great deal on exhibitions. Research from early 2018 by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) found that 40.8% of B2B exhibitor marketing budgets are allocated to exhibitions.

This current survey showed that the majority (52%) of companies will also be increasing their technology spend, with 7% reporting that this part of the budget will be increasing significantly. By contrast, just 5% report their spend will be decreasing somewhat, with the same percentage not knowing how their spend will change.

That being said, more than half (56%) will be spending less than one-tenth of their exhibit marketing budget on related technologies. Given the fact that the CEIR data also reported the median per exhibition spend was $20,000, this relatively small percentage may be indicative of the relatively higher cost of face-to-face marketing, rather than this group scrimping on tech investments.

Technology Assists With Many Objectives

Roughly one-quarter (24%) of exhibit managers set measurable goals to gauge the effectiveness of the technologies they used to enhance their booths. Roughly three-quarters (72%) felt that the technologies they incorporated met or exceeded their initial objectives. Only 28% felt that the tech did not meet their objectives.

Brand awareness was one of many of the objectives that tech helped achieve with 64% of respondents saying that helped with increasing awareness of their brand. However, only 16% found that the use of tech helped achieve ‘enhanced quantity/quality of lead data.

A majority (57%) surveyed reported increased leads due to using technology, while another 52% saw an increase in booth traffic.

The full report can be viewed here.

About the Data: Nearly 200 companies were surveyed about everything from which technologies they’re currently incorporating into their exhibits and events to what corporate objectives those technologies are helping them achieve.

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