AUMA Messe Trend 2014 survey confirms strong position of trade fairs in the marketing mix

Over the next two years, a third of exhibiting companies in Germany want to invest more money in their trade fair presence than in 2013/2014, only 14% plan less. Nearly half of them keep their spendings unchanged. These figures come from a representative survey of 500 companies exhibiting at B-to-B-fairs. This survey was conducted by TNS Infratest in November 2014 on behalf of AUMA, the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry. “Exhibitors are obviously going into their next trade fair participa-tions with optimism”, emphasised AUMA chairman, Walter Mennekes, at the autumn press conference on 2 December 2014 in Cologne. Larger companies in particular aim to invest more in trade fairs. Almost 40% of exhibitors with a turnover of over 125 million € want to increase their trade fair budgets, while only 7% want to spend less. The AUMA chairman commented: “If larger companies rely more on trade fairs as a medium, it also sends an important, positive signal to smaller companies.” Companies that increase their trade fair budgets want to boost their awareness among customers by participating in more trade fairs or by better quality of their presence. This is achieved with higher investments in stand construction and design. The exhibitor survey also shows that the number of trade fair partic-ipations will continue to remain about the same. 19% of companies plan to participate more and 19% less at domestic trade fairs, while 59% want to keep the same number of trade fair stands. Many more companies are relying on continuity abroad: three quarters want to participate the same amount in 2015/2016 as in 2013/2014, while 12% want to have more trade fair stands and 12% fewer. Considering the growing number of international trouble zones and uncertainty about economic development, even domestically, this result was not necessarily expected, said the chairman of AUMA. “Particularly in uncertain times, many companies are evidently rely-ing on dialogue with customers, which forms the core of every trade fair participation.” Strong position of trade fairs in the marketing mix The position of trade fairs as an instrument in the marketing mix has again improved: 81% of the exhibitors queried (previous year: 79%) consider trade fairs to be important or very important to their B2B communication. Only their own website as a permanent basis for communication is valued as more important (88%). Using a field sales force is viewed by 76% as important or very important, while this figure for direct mailing is only 47% (previous year: 53%). Advertising in the trade press and company-organised events are both at 40%, which is the same as in the previous year. Participants were asked for the first time about the general significance of trade fairs in a company’s market communication. Even so, a quarter explained that trade fairs form the core of their market communication, while nearly 50% see trade fairs on the same level as other important instruments. Only around 25% see trade fairs as an additional instrument. Walter Mennekes added: “These statements very clearly reflect the important role trade fairs play in business-to-business communication. The trade fair industry can go forward with confidence.” The growing amount of money spent on trade fairs in proportion to the overall B2B marketing budget further emphasises this. For 2015/2016, this figure will be at 45%, which is still higher than the figures for the past five years of 40 – 44%. This figure will reach nearly 50% for exhibitors of capital goods. Source: