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Face-To-Face Trumps Face-To-Device

CEIR Strikes Again

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released a report early in February, Organization Size: What Really Matters, which focuses on how an organization’s size influences attendee preferences at exhibitions.

BigLittleDogs

The report provides insights to assist exhibition organizers and marketers in understanding the shared and unique preferences of professionals by the size of their organization. The study addresses motivations for attending exhibitions, resources relied upon when searching for exhibitions and factors considered when evaluating whether to attend an exhibition for the first time.

Some key findings:

• Attendees from mid-sized and large-sized organizations are more likely to want to achieve a greater number of shopping objectives when visiting an exhibition than attendees from small-sized organizations. Attendees also place higher importance on the ability to compare brands, find solutions to existing problems and meet with other product users.

• Word-of-mouth resources and emails from colleagues are the primary information resources of choice, regardless of an attendee’s organization size; however, there are differences examined in the report.

CEIR representatives note that this report provides insights on how to attract and retain attendees from small-, medium- and large-sized organizations. Exhibitors and show organizers should not assume that all attendees go with the same needs, wants and desires.

This study was conducted using a panel of exhibition attendees provided by ResearchNow and with a grant from CEIR. The sample consisted of 421 respondents from fourteen industries.

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Preserving the Art of Networking

The National Conference Center (NCC) has just released a white paper on the importance of face-to-face networking. The paper asserts, “With the amount of online resources readily available to us on our desktops and smart phones, blindly attending events becomes obsolete. We must remind ourselves that social media does not replace face-to-face networking but instead is a supplement and provides the tools for instantaneous two-way communication.”

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Networking is an art and necessary business tactic that is rapidly being lost. When a local media outlet held a networking breakfast at NCC last summer, it was interesting to see the numbers of attendees who hung back or sat at tables alone, reading their devices. One attendee stood out as she walked around the room introducing herself and speaking to as many people as possible. She was clearly making the rounds and understood the benefit and the potential of connecting with the other attendees.

The paper goes on to explain the role that social media can play in networking without it becoming a detractor. The use of mobile applications such as Trip Builder and Double Dutch allow professionals to connect before an event and stay connected during and after, while allowing hosts to optimize their event and engage directly.

Networking is an art and requires work, practice, concentration and good habits. It’s asking “who is going to be there, what do I want to accomplish and what do I want to walk away with?”

Included in the white paper is a useful pullout on the “do’s” and “don’ts” of networking.

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What are YOUR thoughts on all this? We’d like to hear your comments!

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