Taking a deep look at the kinds of events that media companies operate, ABM’s Event Council has completed preliminary research that revels some striking results: The types of events that companies produce vary widely depending on the size of the media company.
In the United States b-to-b events drive a big plurality of total industry revenue. Event revenue constituted 45 percent of the entire b-to-b media and info landscape in 2013 (the remaining 55 percent is comprised of print magazines, digital media, and database/information products). That revenue is keeping pace with inflation and a bit more; event revenue increased industry-wide last year, rising 3.3 percent from $11.66 billion in 2012 to $12.04 billion in 2013.
But it is a mistake to think of “business events” as a monolith. Even a broad characterization of events as “conferences” and “trade shows” fails to distinguish among the many kinds of events. The research polled ABM member companies and determined the percent of total event revenue that is generated by each kind of event.
This weighted-by-total-event-revenue pie chart primarily reflects the priorities of the largest companies. And the overwhelming contributor to revenue is trade shows — with or without associated conferences, trade shows generate more than half of all revenue.
However, the picture shifts when considering smaller companies, those with event revenue under $25 million annually.
Medium-size companies ($5 to $25 million in annual event sales) seem to have developed niche businesses in award programs and conferences, which perhaps offer insufficient revenue to interest the largest players.
Both kinds of trade shows (and sponsored buyer events) are the tail that wags the dog for small companies that derive most of their event revenue from them. Training, single-sponsor, and other events each contributed 0 percent.
These results will be further explored with further research to be conducted later in 2014. For more information about the Event Council, which is open to ABM and SIIA members generally, please contact ABM’s Elizabeth Reid at email@example.com or call her at 212-784-6359.
By Michael Moran Alterio