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Through an extensive RFP process, the consortium chose Harris Interactive to study the Business-to-Consumer events, and a partnership between Gallup & Robinson and Exhibit Surveys to study the Business-to-Business events. Dr. Ray Pettit was selected to direct the analysis based on complexity science methods.
The leading firms sponsoring the event Engagement study include AOL, eBay, Cadbury-Schweppes, Cisco Systems, Coca Cola, Frito-Lay, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, State Farm Insurance, Texas Instruments, Toyota Motor Corporation, Xerox, TrashTalk/FCM, Jack Morton Worldwide, Momentum and The Marketing Arm.
The results demonstrate that event Engagement is driven by a unique combination of emotional and brand elements that can create significant positive outcomes, such as likelihood to recommend and purchase intent. Furthermore, how people feel about the brand experience, their emotional connection to the brand, and the aspirational fit or brand fit are elements that work together in the event and sponsorship Engagement experience. Specifically from the B-to-C study, it was learned that driving awareness of the brand/event is almost as valuable as driving attendance. The B-to-B study demonstrated that trade shows contribute in important and unique ways to both customer retention and customer acquisition.
A white paper on the study titled Experiential Marketing: a Master of Engagement was published in January 2008, and is available through the ARF.