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As Attendees Drop, Tradeshows Focus on Quality

Past show success and topics also important factors, says BPA study.

Chandra  Johnson-Greene By Chandra Johnson-Greene

As the number of b-to-b tradeshow and event attendees continues to decrease, companies are citing attendee quality in terms of purchase influence and buying power as the top factor when deciding to exhibit at an event, according to a study conducted by BPA Worldwide.

According to “Determining Exhibitor ROI At B-to-B Tradeshow Events,” 40 percent of survey respondents indicated that traffic to exhibits decreased in 2008. A show’s past success (44 percent) was the second factor when deciding to exhibit at events, followed by topic/theme/content focus (41 percent).

Among smaller companies, attendees’ purchasing/buying power rated as the most important factor when deciding to exhibit, while larger companies (with over $100 million in total revenues) reported a show’s past success as more important than attendees’ buying power.

When asked how important independent tradeshow audits were to verifying the quality of tradeshow attendance, 47 percent of respondents reported “extremely important” or “somewhat important.” Exhibit/event managers especially (62 percent) believe audits are more important than other titles.

The majority of respondents also believe that event organizers should be held at least somewhat accountable for delivery of audience in terms of quality promised (90 percent), title quality (84 percent) and buying power of the attendees (82 percent).

BPA, in conjunction with Stein Rogan + Partners, distributed the Web-based survey between November and December 2008 to over 5,000 contacts at companies that exhibit at tradeshows in the U.S.

Chandra  Johnson-Greene By Chandra Johnson-Greene

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