Part 2 in our series covers the first step in building a solid data focused strategy.

Lao-tzu said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

While we don’t see your data journey being that long, the point is well founded. The first step is a critical one, for the simple reason that it must be taken.  

In a nutshell, the first step is to question everything and establish a strategy. This is the ideation phase. If you’re moving into the data space and trying to develop a data-based decision strategy, it is likely due to you and your fellow colleagues having a hunch or two. Now you are trying to validate or refute those “gut” instincts and assumptions to efficiently hit and exceed your goals.

Don’t know where to start? You can always try looking at the interest buckets of your event and association.  Here are a couple of our favorites:

  1. Marketing
  2. Revenue
  3. Engagement
  4. Social

Who are you marketing to? Are you using the same marketing approach for every company or are you targeting based on attendee segments? Where is you revenue coming from? What new markets are you approaching?  How are your attendees engaging with exhibitors?  

You get the idea, there’s plenty to be concerned about. But, if you’re not interested in boiling the ocean, try our 5|6|7 philosophy. It’s pretty simple, just ask yourself: 

“What do I wish I knew?” or “What should I know?”

5 months…

6 weeks and…

7 days…

before my event. 


The answers are going to differ.  More than likely, it’s going to range from marketing related -> to revenue related -> to engagement related questions as you get close to the event.

At 5 months out, you want to see if your first real marketing push is successful and what your reach looks like compared to last year. At 6 weeks out, you want to know if you have the critical mass to carry you through the early registration deadline.  And finally at 7 days out, you want to ensure that your show carrying the level of buzz needed to grow it the following year.

What other questions can you think of?

**Photos by Karpati Gabor and Ivan Melanchon