Event Data

I have data from my event…now what?

Joseph Colangelo

One of the most common questions we hear when talking about data and events is….

“I have more data than I know what to do with, now what?”.

It’s true that most events are not suffering from a lack of data generation or collection when it comes to their attendees and exhibitors. Despite this, many event organizers and marketers are still at a loss when it comes to developing insights and action using their data.

Where to focus first?

Most event data revolves around two groups: Attendees and  Exhibitors.  The logical place to start attendee data analysis. Attendee data tends to have the most variability year to year,  and attendee acquisition marketing is always a moving  target.  Additionally, most event, conference and trade show marketing  teams are tasked with showing attendee growth in order to keep pace with exhibition floor growth.  And it’s not just getting more warm bodies in to fill the floor, they need to attract the attendees that  exhibitors want to meet.

Let's focus on the attendee data that can help us understand our current attendee audience, and where we can grow the audience. The attendee data sources we find generate the most insight are:

  1. Attendee Registration
  2. Exhibition Lead Retrieval
  3. Onsite Tracking (Attendee Badge Scans, RFID Tracking, Beacon Tracking)

We recommend using the last 5-6 years of data from these sources, if available.  Ideally, you will have enough years of data to help you understand your most recent history and see how changes in location, price, and strategic event decisions such as doubling the size of  programming, have impacted your attendees’ makeup.

What matters?

Now that we’ve identified where to start, what types of insights should we look for?

It depends on what you’re looking to accomplish.  Here are a few analysis goals we hear often:

"I want to grow registration revenue to diversify away from exhibition and sponsorship."

"I need to grow my attendee base at all costs because my exhibitors need MORE and MORE QUALIFIED buyers."

"My board wants to grow into adjacent industry “X” – how many of those people do we have coming today?"

How do I get there?

Some deeper questioning allows us to recommend which metrics you should be tracking:

  1. Which companies are growing their attendance at your event?
  2. How have your core audience demographics changed over the last 5-6 years?
  3. How does geography impact your event? How does youur attendee audience change as your event rotates? If it doesn’t rotate, where have your domestic attendees come from over the past few years? How about your international attendees? How have these groups changed in the past years?
  4. How are your attendees engaging with exhibitors onsite? Which exhibitors are capturing these attendees via lead retrieval?
  5. Understanding the attendee onsite journey. Which sessions, keynotes,  VIP areas, stages, exhibitors, product pavilions etc. are your  individual attendees interacting with?

How do you apply data insights for attendee acquisition marketing?

The key to unlocking event growth is to put the power of your data insights into action.  Here's how you can apply your data insights immediately for attendee acquisition marketing:

  1. Limit sending expensive mailers with broad messaging to your most loyal attendees. Send them a personalized email instead. OR send them a mailing with a VIP code or special access to your event to show them that you recognize and value their loyalty.
  2. Create your event registration website landing pages to direct your returning attendees to the areas of the site that will convert them the fastest. Conversion shouldn’t be a barrier, especially for those who have proven to come year after year.
  3. Personalize your email marketing with content based on the sessions someone attended previously. This data is typically available via several of the onsite tracking options mentioned above.

So, we’ve touched on the focus, the insights, and the applications of event data. Now do you have an idea what to do with your event data? The answer should be a resounding YES.

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