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A continuation of our five part series, we are at the very critical second step.  If you recall, Step 1 was focused on identifying the questions you wanted to have answered and applying a strategic eye to your analytical needs.

Step 2: Taking an inventory

The focus of Step 2 is to understand what data/information you currently have and where its coming from.

Below are a couple of questions to help you assess your inventory:

Where is my data?

Who is collecting it? Is it coming from vendors or an internal team/system?

What is being captured?

What is the quality of the information being collected?

How long have I been collecting it?

This is the “getting your house in order” step, but once you have outlined your strategy you should be able to better understand what information is needed to reach your goals.

If you are new to an organization or are struggling to find the answers to the above questions, try starting with the channels of information that flow into your organization.

There are the classic channels such as your membership database, event registration or the exhibitor prospect lists. However, do not overlook new data sources such as, social media, web analytics or mobile app data. These represent the newest class of some very useful areas for collecting information that should be considered.

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One last tip. As you aggregate these various data sources, remember the importance of timing.

Today, we have access to more transactional data than ever before.

Transactional data brings with it important behavioral context (More to come on this subject). There is plenty to be learned about attendees and member companies through these micro-transactions with marketing, recruitment, and sales.

Long gone are the days when shows are assessed simply by year-over-year metrics.

– Nick

** Photos by beanworks and Ivan Melanchon