There is no denying that COVID-19 has turned the world of events upside down. Many event planners are facing the difficult decision to cancel or postpone their events. And many are moving to uncharted territories like virtual events.
The current situation is also changing the way organisers spend their time.
A new research study conducted with more than 550 event planners last month found that a large majority of organisers are now spending more time researching new ideas and focusing on tasks that can help them become more competitive in the future. As well as doing things like making improvements to their planning and marketing processes, the results showed that nearly 40% are spending this time to look at their event data.
Why? Because event data is incredibly valuable. And using this time to ‘get your data fit’ can bring enormous business opportunities for your organisation – regardless of whether you’re running virtual, hybrid or live in-person events.
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Why is Event Data So Important?
Event data is essential in helping planners and organisations understand exactly what happened at their events and how they can improve things in the future. Whether it’s measuring attendance or figuring out which sessions people found most engaging – event data can be incredibly valuable.
Despite its importance, however, many planners find it difficult to manage all the data they collect from events. In fact, research shows that more than 8 in 10 event planners see data management a consistent and growing challenge.
This is not an issue that is going to go away for organisers either – especially when it comes to compliance, reporting and analytics and the abundant use of tech tools that help them collect an enormous amount of data on their events and attendees.
Understanding how to use event data strategically is also becoming an important skillset for event planners too – the latest ‘State of Event Technology Report’ from EventMB shows that more companies are now looking at data skills in senior event management positions.
And of course, we can’t ignore the importance of data in this current climate, especially for those running virtual events. Having the ability to look at the data you’ve collected from your past events will be critical in understanding what your audiences want from your virtual events and making them a success.
Related read: How event planners can use this time to stay competitive
What Are the Benefits of Good Data Management?
Using this time to analyse your event data, improve processes and put together an effective data management strategy can bring enormous benefits to your organisation:
1) Measuring Success – Event data can provide organisers with the metrics they need to measure the performance of their events. From the feedback you get in surveys to registration numbers, attendance levels, app engagement and revenue. Having the right processes in place to collect, manage and report this kind of data helps you figure out whether your events are meeting expectations and if they are in line with your organisation’s overall goals and objectives.
2) Engaging Attendees – Personalisation is driving a more data-driven approach to the way organisers plan events as attendees increasingly expect both the communication of the event and the live experience to be tailored to them in some way. Organisers can use the data collected from attendees to capture their views and opinions, build profiles and tailor their experiences to build engagement and loyalty. This can also be an important competitive differentiator for events.
3) Making Improvements – Event data can be critical in identifying key lessons and take-aways to determine goals, activities and content for future events. Tracking attendance and engagement levels around sessions can help assess popular topics and speakers for next time. In the same way, understanding that networking was the main reason people attended the event may push you to introduce networking tools and meeting rooms to facilitate conversations with like-minded attendees.
4) Boost Marketing ROI – Event data is a goldmine for marketers. Did a particular session generate a lot of leads for you organisation? Are those people attending events the same ones who engage with your other marketing activities? By implementing the right tools and strategies on data collected around events, organisations can get a much bigger return on their event marketing investments.
5) Generate Sales/Membership – Sharing event data with your sales department or membership teams can bring monetary value to your organisation. Knowing who showed up at an event, what sessions they attended and who they engaged with helps your stakeholders stay up to date with important customer/member/lead information. It will also make it easier to assess what value event activities actually bring to the organisation.
6) Meet Compliance Requirements – The frequency of high-profile data security breaches is shaking up people’s trust in the way organisations manage their personal information. Organisations also need to meet stringent data protection regulations like the EU GDPR, which means organisers need to be savvier in what personal data they collect from events and how that data is used. With a clearly defined data management strategy, you can meet compliance requirements and show attendees you’re using their information responsibly.
Conclusion – Get Fit For the Future
Use this time to analyse past events. Dive into the data held in your event management system and understand your delegates more. Look at what worked, what didn’t. Look at where you made money from your events and more crucially, where you didn’t.
Get your team involved and help them understand why data management should be an integral aspect of all event planning activities. Put time aside to assess your data needs at the beginning and end of each event. And make sure you get your tech providers involved – they’re always there to help.
Remember, following good data management practices can only be a good thing moving forwards. It will offer you that golden opportunity to learn what people actually want from your events. It will help you build trust and loyalty with your audiences. And ultimately, it will help your organisation succeed and grow.
Want to use this time to get more value from your event data? Not sure where to start? Join our webinar next week!
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