ABM research: Three hallmarks of successful event brands
May 29, 2012 - In taking a deep look at trade media brands in its 2012 Managing Profits Report, ABM has identified several characteristics of successful event brands. Although some successful events buck these trends and achieve high profitability without displaying all of these characteristics, the research project reveals some significant correlations.
Event brands focus on event revenue -- more than print brands focus on print revenue and digital brands focus on digital revenue. Of 156 brands surveyed briefly in the research, 30 event brands in aggregate generated 86.5 percent of their 2011 revenue from event operations, and only 13.5 percent from digital, print and other sources. Digital brands derived 74.6 percent of revenue from digital operations; print brands derived 75.3 percent of revenue from print operations.
Of those 30 event brands polled in brief, ABM sought detailed information, including full expense and revenue data, from 17 event brands. Of those, 15 reported full and complete data. The 15 fully detailed event brands included 9 event only brands, with 90 percent or more of revenue generated from event operations, and 6 event primary brands, with 50 percent to 90 percent of revenue generated by events. The difference in profitability is striking: The more that event brands focus on events, the more profitable they are. Event only brands reported overall profitability (operating margins) of 59.3 percent in total, and 61.1 percent from events only. On the other hand, event primary brands reported overall profitability of 29.4 percent in total, and 31.0 percent from events only.
Finally, the data reveals the counterintuitive result that maximizing profitability and boosting attendance do not go hand in hand. While there is a clear corellation between increasing total revenue and increasing attendance, as expected, profitability shows little to no corellation with attendance. Considered on a per attendee basis, there is actually a negative correlation between number of attendees and the revenue each attendee generates. That is, the greater the number of attendees an event attracts, the less revenue per attendee the event produces. This graph from the Managing Profits Report shows the trend for conference brands (as opposed to trade show brands, also analyzed in the report):
The full report, ABM's Managing Profits in a Changing Media Industry, is available to ABM members. For more information, contact Michael Moran Alterio at email@example.com or call (212) 784-6365.
By Michael Moran Alterio