As the song says, it’s just as important to make new friends as it is to keep the old ones—especially when it comes to exhibitions. So says “Attracting New Attendees,” a report just released by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research that examines the key characteristics of new attendees, including how they choose which events to attend.

The first key finding of the research behind the report is that new attendees are worth the trouble to attract because they are twice as likely to be the final decision-makers on a purchase as repeat attendees.

Jeff Tanner, Jr., PhD, a professor of marketing at Baylor University who conducted the study with CEIR’s Research Director Nancy Drapeau, says, “This study highlights the importance of seeking new attendees because decision-makers are actively searching for new and better sources of information, especially exhibitions.”

The study findings also suggest that exhibition organizers seeking to attract new attendees should go multichannel in their marketing strategies, since newbies tend to consider many different sources as they seek out events worth their while. The most influential channels, however, are the traditional marketing shining stars: word-of-mouth recommendations and personal invitations.

The full, four-page report is available free to IAEE members; it costs $49 for nonmembers.