The Pulse360: Industrial Marketers Adapt to the Coronavirus [Part 1]

In late February, we took the pulse of industrial marketers and their 2020 tradeshow plans to get a better understanding of changes being made in the wake of the coronavirus. At that time, only 20 percent had already made adjustments to their tradeshow plans as a result of COVID-19.

Now we’re seeing a vastly different landscape. 88 percent of respondents to our March 23 survey say the coronavirus has impacted their tradeshow plans. Only five percent have not made any changes; another seven percent are evaluating their plans.

Of these respondents with changes to their tradeshow plans, 84 percent say shows have been canceled and 42 percent have canceled plans to attend or exhibit at specific shows. Fifteen percent are giving employees the ability to opt-out of attending specific shows, and 12 percent have canceled all of their tradeshow plans for 2020. We heard from an additional 13 percent that shows are up in the air or have been rescheduled.

What are industrial marketers doing to replace the void left by tradeshows? Forty percent indicate they are shifting that budget to digital advertising. Twenty-seven percent of respondents will allocate dollars to content creation. Finally, 35 percent will not reinvest that budget, and will be facing an uphill battle toward achieving their 2020 marketing goals.

While these results show that many industrial marketers are being conservative with spending these tradeshow funds, they also indicate movement in establishing alternate plans. Results from our first survey in late February showed that 46 percent of respondents said they would not reinvest any of their tradeshow budget. At that time, only 28 percent planned to shift those funds to digital advertising, and 14 percent were planning a shift to content creation.

Next week, in Part 2 of our survey coverage, we will discuss how marketing budgets have been impacted by the coronavirus, and how industrial marketers are working in today’s “new normal” business climate.


Amber Cooleen
Marketing Director

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