Today, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced the release of two reports from a groundbreaking study on data analytics practices among business-to-business exhibition organizers. The first report, Use of Analytics by Today’s Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizers, documents overall trends in use of analytics. The second report, The Roads Traveled to Data Driven Decision-Making tells the data analytics journey of 12 different exhibition organizers in case studies.
“The term ‘big data’ is hot and provocative – it is everywhere in today’s business media,” stated CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey, CEM. “How can exhibition organizers use data analytics effectively? These reports cut through the hype to offer a practical, no-nonsense look at how exhibition organizers are using data analytics today and where it is delivering results. The study was designed to evaluate the extent of analytic activities aimed at serving specific important business objectives that enable organizers to plan and grow their events, including use of analytics for: attendee marketing, exhibitor sales and operations.”
CEIR Research Director Nancy Drapeau, PRC added, “Data analytic tools are quite powerful. It is very easy to fall into the trap of ‘analysis paralysis.’ One can study and analyze so many things. Though when it comes to supporting an exhibition organizer, what matters? This report offers significant insights from some key industry leaders that are already practicing data analytics, offering the reader a perspective on answers to these questions.”
The top five findings from this study reveal that:
- Most business-to-business exhibition organizers are jumping into the analytics game: 68 per cent of surveyed organizers are engaging – or will engage – in data analytics within a year. Organizers that are sitting on the sidelines should consider how to use their data for business advantage, as competitors may very likely be engaging in these activities.
- Small data or big data? Findings suggest that organizer data does not meet the definition of big data, which entails the three V’s of Volume, Variety and Velocity. Two-thirds of organizers work with data sets of 100,000 or fewer records.
- Size does not matter; effective use of analytics does. The size of the data, large or small, does not matter as the same analytic procedures and techniques are applied regardless of the size of the data set. Findings indicate analytics are delivering business results. And that is what matters.
- Findings suggest that exhibition organizers are in the early stages of using data analytics for business decision-making. Applications used for analytics suggest efforts are more basic and siloed activities. The most typical applications include:
- General software, 82 per cent – such as Excel and Access; and
- Analytic tools in function specific software, 76 per cent, e.g., software for marketing, CRM, sales, email marketing, website (Google Analytics especially), social media and event management.
- The most popular uses of analytics are to support decision-making for attendee marketing (95 per cent) and exhibitor sales efforts (82 per cent).
About this study
CEIR conducted an online survey in the fall of 2014. Executives from the C-suite down to managers serving in core roles for business-to-business exhibitions managed or run by their organizations were invited to participate, including members serving in any of these roles from: The International Association of Exhibitions and Events™ (IAEE); Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO); Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA); and a sampling of CEIR Index participants.
A total of 307 executives responded, for a response rate of 11 per cent. In addition to this survey, executives from 12 different exhibition organizers were interviewed by Meg Handlin Marketing and CEIR.
Click here to download Use of Analytics by Today’s Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizers and click here to download The Roads Traveled to Data Driven Decision-Making. IAEE members can access the CEIR library and reports at no cost – a benefit of IAEE membership.