There’s a lot you can learn by tracking an event attendee: details about his/her company and career, the products that most excited her, her favourite breakout sessions, her social media activity, and even questions she asked of presenters. Now multiply that data by the hundreds or thousands of attendees at your event — and suddenly, capturing, interpreting and using all that information seems to be a herculean task.
Here are four quick tips on how you can manage the rivers of data coursing through your events — and direct them into a reservoir of information that can improve your ROI and reduce your costs:
There’s no such thing as “too much information”
While it might seem like overkill to dig into the details of your attendees’ event activities and schedules, measuring their behaviour can be immensely valuable. Tracking which sessions are most popular can give you an idea of what content your attendees are interested in — and what they’re not interested in. This kind of data lets you build on the event experience year after year.
Plus, measuring attendee behaviour provides your sales team with more valuable information, as they’re able to glean what products and services may be the best fit — from segmented demographics all the way down to individual leads.
But don’t use this information too aggressively; attendees may become hesitant to engage at your events if they feel it could lead to unwanted sales calls and marketing emails. Be sure an attendee has genuine interest in a product before you reach out.
Connect the dots
Information doesn’t exist in a vacuum — chances are you already have data about many of your attendees. Are they already customers of yours? What products do they use? How have they engaged with your sales and marketing in the past?
Combining this information with data gathered through your events can help you take proper “temperature” of the lead. If you know a lead has attended several sessions related to a service they don’t already use, it’s very possible there’s a new opportunity there. If they do already own that service, perhaps there’s an upsell opportunity, or maybe even a need for more support.
In fact, you can use this information before your event even takes place — if you know from previous data that an attendee would be a good fit for a certain product, invite them to a special 1:1 meeting at the event. Not only does this improve the ROI of the event, but it also adds value to the attendee: they get a personalised experience based on their specific interests.
Help your sponsors, help yourself
You’re not the only one with a stake in your event — exhibitors and sponsors are interested in the attendee data you collect as well, although they may not have the ability to track it themselves.
Keep them up-to-date with the information they care about:
- How is your event doing overall?
- How are their sessions doing compared to their competitors?
- What can they do to get attendees excited about their presence?
These are questions you can help them answer with the right data — ensuring they have a valuable event experience and making it easier to get their support again for your next event.
Follow the money
Big data can collect information in a hugely important area: budgeting. The most comprehensive event technology can record venue costs, hotel room rates, catering expenses, travel fees and just about any other line-item associated with your events.
Having this data at the ready doesn’t just make it easier to stay on budget — it helps you reduce costs by creating transparency and accountability, highlighting areas of waste, and providing you with more leverage in negotiations. You can even compare your events locally or globally to see whether one area of cost seems too high and accurately plan for expenses the following year.
Big Data might seem boring or even a little scary, but put into practice it becomes clear that the value Big Data can provide is endless: more ROI, less waste, a better experience for attendees and sponsors, fewer headaches for your planners, and more valuable meetings and events overall.
Want to find out how you can get even more out of your events? Check out this study on the total economic impact of an event management software.