Category: Personalization

8 Event Marketing Ideas to Boost Attendance

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Creating buzz and excitement around your events is so important as it makes it easier to convince people why they should attend in the first place. As well as encouraging them to sign up, successful event promotion can also drive people to share their experiences more and come back year after year.

Whether you’re looking for some fresh new ideas or want to go back to basics, have a look at our list of popular marketing activities that engage people and convince them to come to an event:

1) Create Exclusive Content      

Content is so important – specifically exclusive content that is not available anywhere else. The content can take any form: such as blogs, podcasts or videos. But the key point is that this is new content. It is not recycled content.

You can create interest around your event by developing sneak previews of what will be on offer. For example, let’s say that your key speaker for a medical event is an expert in Toxicology. She has written many books on the subject. Her previous talks are available on YouTube and she has presented several webinars. Many potential attendees may already be aware of her work.

What you need to do is to offer people a sneak preview of what she will talk about that is new. Promoting the fact that she will be a speaker will generate some interest but with exclusive content you can really ignite potential attendees and increase their anticipation.

Related reading: 3 Content Marketing Tips for Event Planners

2) Harness the Power of Video    

Video is a great tool for marketing events. It gives your attendees the opportunity to learn more about your event and does a good job of conveying the personality of your organisation. It also is a lot more engaging than text.  Forrester Research claims that a minute of video can be equivalent to 1.8 million words.  That is the equivalent of 3,600 typical web pages!

Mini videos can be extremely useful to aid your marketing efforts. You could create a number of mini 30-second video clips and release them as part of your campaign over a period of time, building interest in your event.

As well as previewing what is to come, you could use testimonials as part of your awareness raising. You could also get a few people to talk about why they are coming to your event.

The opportunity to use videos and tell the story of your event before it’s happened is enormous as long as you keep in mind the benefit to your viewer of attending.  For more ideas, check out this article that lists a number of ways you can use video when promoting events.

3) Use Partners and PR

Events as you know, are not produced in a bubble. There can be any number of partners involved helping to bring your event to life. Just think of possible partners that could help with broadening the reach of your marketing. Partner up with the host venue, host destination, sponsors, an association(s) or speakers and discover ways in which you can work together.

For example, when working with a speaker you could ask them to produce a blog post or a mini video clip for you. It doesn’t have to be about the content they will deliver at your event. It could be on a separate subject, but it will provide potential attendees with a glimpse of the speaker.

You could provide partners with some pre-written social media messages, including registration pages and maybe a discount code to share with their followers or members. Promote your partners and tag them on social media channels.

If you can also obtain coverage in their newsletters or LinkedIn group(s) that would also help.  It’s all about spreading the message far and wide. Don’t forget to use PR where you can. You or your partner(s) may have an agency that can help with media interviews, show previews and by-lined articles.

4) Engage Influencers and Use Word of Mouth  

People are basically social. We rely on our circle of family and friends for support and assistance. We tend to trust people we admire and often model our behaviour after theirs. This fact along with the explosion of the internet and social media has led to the rise of digital influencers and influencer marketing.

Traditionally, an influencer could be anyone from an A-list celebrity to a subject matter expert. The only criterion being that they must have a substantial following on some type of online platform.

But, let’s change our thinking from seeing the ideal influencer as someone who has an impressive number of followers, to someone who might have a smaller but more relevant following. You can use micro influencers who are immersed with your target audience. They are extremely valuable and often have highly engaged followers.

As well as using influencers, you can use of word of mouth as another technique to boost attendance. Encourage your attendees and interested parties (stakeholders) to talk about the event and inspire people to come along. Word of mouth is great for getting people who are not on your email lists, in your event management system or on your social media radar.

Related reading: How to Choose the Right Influencers for Your Event Marketing Activities

5) Get Your Email Marketing Right   

Email marketing is essential for promoting events. It is also one of those things that needs to be executed in the right way. For example: creating the email invitation, inviting VIPs and maximising email signatures are just three things that spring to mind.  If you get any of these wrong, you could be in trouble.

Invitations are one of the most important things to get right. They help set the tone of an event and are often one of the first opportunities to make a good impression with potential attendees. However, research has found that getting people to open that email, click through and sign up to the event is something most organisers struggle with when it comes to event invitations. Strong subject lines and simple design and layout of your email will help.

Related reading: How to Create Invites that Draw People to Your Events

If you decide to invite people as VIPs, then make sure that they are significant to your event. Some organisations send VIP invites to lots of people without filtering who really should be a VIP. Send your special invites to the people that really matter. A small number of well-considered invitations could make a big difference to the success of your event.

Email signatures are often overlooked but they provide a great way of amplifying your event. Include a call to action to drive more registrations. Change the email signature as you get closer to the event and highlight different aspects of it.

6) Make Your Social Special  

Social media is another effective way of promoting events.  But you will need a strategy, otherwise you will waste time and energy. Target the right social media channels for your audience – there is no point creating buzz in the wrong places.

You will need a variety of content to share and a posting schedule. You can reflect your events’ branding throughout the campaign by replacing generic background images with event logos and your event hashtag.

You can tag in people that are participating such as speakers, hosts, the planning team and maybe delegates that have registered (just make sure you don’t violate any GDPR rules). Have a simple hashtag for your event, one, that is easy to remember and spell. Incorrect spellings of your hashtag will not help your marketing.

If you have some budget, you may choose to buy advertising or sponsor content on social media channels. There is currently a trend to do more paid social as the organic reach of social media is reducing – especially on platforms like Twitter. Use search engine marketing platforms like Google’s AdWords where you can pay to have your event advertised at the top of a search results page.

A combination of paid and organic social media is likely to provide you with the best results.

7) Use Text Messaging

Messaging potential attendees is another way to boost attendance. Not all of your marketing messaging should be done through using only email or social media. There are other ways in which you can get your message across. Some people respond well to texts or messaging apps. Whilst others are happy to take a phone call (yes it still happens).

Then there are messaging apps that you can use. For example, WhatsApp and Slack are pretty good for building interest and community.

Whatever means of messaging you decide to use, it has to work for your potential attendees.  You will probably need to use a combination of methods as everyone has a preference on how they like to be contacted. You should be able to locate their contact preference information within your event management solution.  Systems like Eventsforce can also help you track this consent to ensure you’re always communicating with attendees in a GDPR compliant way (watch video).

8) Personalise Registration & Don’t Forget Discounts   

Though it has its own set of challenges and can vary in effectiveness from one event to another, personalisation doesn’t have to be as complicated as one might think. Most organisations today use some form of automated system to manage registrations around their events and it is good starting point for any kind of personalisation you may want to do.

You could use your event management system to personalise the registration journey for your different audiences to demonstrate how important they are. For example, having a unique registration path for your VIP guests will ensure the questions and prices offered to them aren’t visible to other attendees which will make them feel that the whole experience was ‘personalised’ for them the whole time.  You can get all sorts of similar personalisation ideas from this industry eBook – ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to Personalisation’.

An event management system should also provide you with the flexibility of offering tiered pricing, one off sales and early booking discounts. Using discounts is one way to boost event attendance but it shouldn’t be the one that you rely on.

Conclusion

The ideas we’ve outlined can be mixed and matched according to the individual event. Some techniques will work better for some events than others. The important thing to remember though is to adjust as needed. Make sure you have a strategy for your event marketing campaign and understand why you are following certain actions.

In all the ideas, there is a simple common thread: You have to be clear on what you are saying and why people should come to your event. If you are not clear, it doesn’t matter how many things you do or how much money you spend, your efforts will fail.

Understand who your potential attendees are, use straightforward language, offer a clear proposition and you should see the results you want.


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7 Key Considerations When Personalising Event Experiences

In an era where people’s attention is rapidly declining, having the ability to offer people relevance is critical.  So when the right event content is offered to the right attendee at the right time, chances are they will respond positively and more likely want to repeat the experience the next time round.

Using personalisation to improve the way attendees engage with your events can have enormous benefits.  But despite 73% of organisers seeing personalisation as a key priority around their events, a new eBook, titled ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to Personalisation has found that many also come up against a number of challenges that make it quite difficult to implement.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top considerations you need to think about when planning successful personalisation campaigns around your events:

1) Align Personalisation to Event Objectives

Personalisation is not a tactical activity – but a strategic one.  All your events have a business objective and personalisation is a tool to help you achieve them. Get started by taking a step back and consider your event’s key business goals.  Is it to engage with customers?  Boost sales?  Launch a product?  Or grow a community? For example, if your objective is to increase sales, is there a particular audience segment that is underperforming and could be significantly impacted by a personalised event experience? Considering which business aspects your personalisation efforts can have an impact on can help you focus on the right areas.  It will also help you get the management buy-in you need to reinvest funds back into the programmes as you start seeing returns.

2) Implement a Data Strategy for Personalisation

Your ability to personalise is only as good as your data. After all, without data, how will you know who your returning attendees are, what messaging resonates with them or what convinces new people to visit your event website? Having a clear data strategy around your personalisation efforts is therefore critical. Without one, you’ll end up with too much data. Or not enough of the right kind of data.  Worse, you’ll risk upsetting your attendees by asking them for too much information with little gain in return.

Start the process by identifying what data you already hold on attendees, how you’re going to segregate audiences and what information you want to collect from them. Make sure the right data sources are in place to identify and prioritise the best areas for personalisation.  Is it email communications?  Is it the registration experience?  Or is it networking? It is also important to pull together the right team members and stakeholders in this process. The earlier you do this, the more effective your personalisation efforts will be.

Read: 4 Benefits of Personalising Attendee Experiences

3) Clean Up Your Attendee Data

Our research found nearly 50% of event planners say dealing with inaccurate data is one of the main challenges they have around personalisation.  In fact, using outdated or irrelevant information to target attendees cancels out any benefits of personalisation – even creating an overall negative experience as a result.  You need to have processes in place that allows you to continuously update your attendee data.  If your returning attendees, for example, are entering the same registration information at each event or correcting the data you hold on them time and time again, you are only going to frustrate them.  Using a registration system that automatically updates your central database can help you improve the quality of your event data over time.

4) Consider Data Integration

Events deal with so many different systems to capture and manage information around their attendees – from their event tech like registration systems and apps to back-end solutions like CRM, marketing and finance.  Pooling all this data together where systems can automatically share information can help you gain a better understanding of your attendees and their behaviour around events. Automatic data synching between systems also ensures you’re relying on the most up-to-date information.

Read: The Event Planner’s Guide to Data Integration 

Understanding how a customer has recently engaged with your organisation’s sales team, for example, can help you personalise the agenda information you send them in your event invite. Having this ‘single view’ of the attendee allows you to personalise event experiences a lot more effectively.  And it’s not as complicated as you might think.  A lot of event management solutions like Eventsforce offer an open API which makes it very easy to integrate your attendee data with all the other systems you use around events.

5) Personalisation Vs Privacy – Get the Balance Right

How much personalisation should you do? How much will drive engagement?  And how much will annoy your attendees?  Getting this balance right is key. One way of doing this is to put yourself in the place of the attendee.  What kind of personalisation would YOU want?  Is it session recommendations?  App notifications? Or tools that facilitate meetings with other like-minded people? Your aim should always be to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time – not bombard them with irrelevant information.

Read: Top subject lines for your event email campaigns

It’s also important that your attendees understand why you’re gathering information from them and how it is going to bring value to their event experience.   They need to understand that by providing that data, they are starting a relationship with you based on that data.

6) Don’t Forget About GDPR

The frequency of high-profile data security breaches is shaking up people’s trust in the way organisations manage their personal information.  It has also highlighted the need for more tighter regulations around data protection, like the new EU GDPR. The legislation, which came into effect in May 2018, gives EU citizens more control over what data organisations are collecting about them and how it is protected and used. And it applies to any organisation that interacts with an EU citizen. So if you are hosting events in the US but have attendees coming from the EU, then GDPR compliance will apply to you.

Read: Infographic – Are Your Events Complying to GDPR?

GDPR does not put a stop to data collection and personalisation – it simply requires you to have a more clearly defined strategy. One that focuses less on irrelevant data, and more on gaining consent for contextually important and actionable data. This means getting clear consent from your attendees when collecting their information.  They also need to understand how their data is going to be used and what the benefits will be of sharing this data with regards to their event experience. Again, event management systems like Eventsforce have GDPR tools than make the whole process of tracking and managing consent and securing attendee data a lot easier.

Read: Event Marketing Under GDPR – Consent Vs. Legitimate Interest

7) Measure the ROI of personalisation

Research has found that 1 in 3 event planners find it difficult to measure the return of their personalisation efforts – which is an issue.  How can you justify the time and resources you spend on personalisation when you can’t quantify the results?  One strategy around this is to demonstrate what happens when you don’t have personalisation in place, versus when you do.  Create A/B test campaigns focusing on existing segment data and one or two variables (ex. personalising session recommendations in invitation emails).

It is also a much better approach to make several small personalisation tests, learn what has potential and repeat the process – rather than one big test that takes months to develop and may not have the impact you expected.  By starting small, you’ll move faster, learn more and apply those take-aways to your campaigns. Through testing and gathering tangible evidence, it will be easier for you to see the potential return on investment of personalisation.

Conclusion

It’s safe to say that the whole issue of data is a big one when it comes to personalisation.  Before even starting the process, you need to think about what data you’re going to collect from attendees and agree across your organisation on how this data is going to be used for the purpose of personalisation.  Attendees also need to understand why you’re gathering their information and how it is going to bring value to their event experience.  Getting that balance right is really key if you want personalisation to work.


What are the best ways you can effectively personalise attendee experiences?  How much of it should you do?  And more importantly, how do we measure the results?  Get answers to these fundamental questions by getting YOUR copy of ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to Personalisation’.

 

4 Technology Trends from Experts at Europe’s Largest Event Tech Show

The annual Event Tech Live show took place in London this month, and once again, it didn’t disappoint.   As Europe’s only dedicated exhibition and conference for event professionals interested in event technology, it attracts more than 1,600 attendees and 100-plus exhibitors from the event tech industry.  The show had a generous display of new technology innovations and solutions, including a launchpad pitch competition which gave a good insight on what’s coming next. More interestingly, the conference brought together a number of experts from technology vendors to event organisers to discuss and debate the latest technology trends and issues shaping our industry today.

From GDPR, personalisation and the future of event apps to the emergence of new applications like chatbots and facial recognition technology – have a look at our top takeaways from Europe’s largest event tech show:

In case you missed it…GDPR is coming!

If there was one topic that kept popping up time and time again across most of the sessions at the show, it was the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the impact it will have on the events industry. And yet surprisingly, an audience poll conducted by a panel of experts from Glisser, SpotMe and Krowdthink revealed that MOST event planners had actually very little understanding about the new regulation – which is quite alarming, given the implications.

GDPR is coming into effect in May 2018 and will apply to ANY event collecting and processing the personal information of European attendees – regardless of location. For event planners, the new regulation presents a change in the way they decide what data needs to be collected from attendees and how that data is used for things like marketing campaigns.  It will change the way attendee data is shared with other third-party organisations like venues, sponsors and tech providers. It will also change attitudes to data security and what measures need to be in place to keep attendee data safe. And let’s not forget about the fines.  Compared to current data protection regulations, non-compliance to GDPR can lead to some very serious financial consequences – and lawsuits.

But it’s not all bad news. GDPR will bring about some big opportunities for our industry too.  In fact, one of the main take-aways from the panel was that GDPR is a big chance for event planners to advance their careers. How? By taking ownership of GDPR.  By ensuring that events are dealing with personal data in a transparent and secure way – and always in the individual’s best interest.  And by getting their event tech ready too. If you’re interested in finding out more, have a look at this free eBook ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance’ which explains why the events industry has to start taking responsibility for GDPR, its impact on event marketing, data management and event technology and what steps event planners need to take now to get ready for the May 2018 deadline.

Related Article: 5 Questions You Need to Ask Event Tech Providers About GDPR

Event Apps Vs. Chatbots

The popularity around event apps has evolved so much over the last few years – most people attending any kind of event expect an app and it seems most event planners want one too.  But are apps starting to get a bad reputation?  How effective are they really in engaging audiences? And will other emerging technologies like NFC and chatbots replace the need for event apps all together?  These questions were addressed in a very interesting discussion by panellists from Sciensio, Beeem, NoodleLive and CrowdComms exploring the future of event apps.

In the always-connected world of smartphones, social media and information-on-demand, it seems that the attention span of our attendees is getting shorter and shorter.   And this is something that event planners need to address if they want their attendees to interact more with their apps. People don’t want to waste their time browsing through irrelevant content on an app just to find out the location of their next session.  They want the technology to add value to their event experience and they want the interaction with the technology as easy as possible.  And this is where chatbots come in.  They don’t require attendees to download anything.  They apply easy text-based messaging t technology that most people are comfortable in using and more importantly, they provide that instant personalised information service that attendees are looking for at an event. Though we firmly believe that native apps still have a firm place in the events industry – perhaps we will start seeing more people move towards what chatbots can offer over the coming few years.

All the panellists agreed that pushing more personalised content on people’s smartphones will be a key trend over the coming years. Websites can already send personal push notifications on people’s phones through Google Chrome (coming soon on Safari).  Google is also driving a big push towards progressive web apps – which basically allows you to run apps on a web browser. The technology will bridge the gap between apps and websites by offering the functionality of both, with more offline capabilities, improved speed and better performance.  Watch this space.

How Important is Event Personalisation?

Personalisation was another hot topic at the event and we can understand why. More and more attendees are starting to expect both the communication of an event and the live experience to be tailored to them in some way.  At the same time, the abundant use of sophisticated data capture tools – from registration systems and apps to surveys, social media, networking and on-site tracking solutions – are helping event planners collect and analyse valuable attendee information to create more powerful and customised event experiences.   But as good as it all sounds, is it something we should all do?  And how do we decide how much personalisation we should actually do?

This was the basis of one panel discussion between Eventsforce, Haymarket Media and the British Council which unveiled the results of a new research study on event personalisation.  It seems that despite it being a growing priority for 73% of event planners, more than 50% struggle to see how effective their personalisation efforts are in engaging attendees and building brand loyalty.  The study also revealed that more than half don’t end up using all the data they collect for personalisation and another 44% find it difficult to determine how much personalisation they should actually do.

So what was the advice?   Decide what data you’re going to collect, why you’re collecting it and agree across your organisation on how it’s going to be used before collecting it for the purpose of personalisation. Don’t ask your attendees any unnecessary questions as this will have a negative effect on their event experience.  And finally, explain clearly how the information they provide will bring value to their experience and that you’re looking after their data and privacy – especially with the upcoming GDPR. Click here to watch the full session.

Event Technology – What’s Next in Innovation?

This year’s show also saw the return of the Launchpad, a dedicated area for start-ups and providers of new event technology solutions – except this year, they also ran a pitch competition where providers had to battle it out in front of a panel of judges.   There were some very interesting applications of event tech, all designed to save time and enhance the attendee’s event experience in one way or another.  The winner was a web-based solution from Zenus which uses facial recognition technology to cut waiting lines and speed up the check-in process of attendees at events. When an attendee approaches a kiosk, their profile will pop up and a scanner can print their badges on the spot. Alternatively, you can place a tablet facing the line of people and attendees will be automatically checked-in as they walk.

Another noteworthy winner was Sciensio’s Concierge Eventbot solution which offers attendees an alternative to apps through a range of text messaging services, including agendas, directions, floor plans, surveys, polls and more.  We also saw a great staffing solution from Liveforce which promises to scrap the need for Excel spreadsheets when recruiting, scheduling, booking and paying temporary staff around events.  Worth checking out.

You can watch all the pitch presentations of the ETL2017 Launchpad competition here.


Want to be a tech-savvy event planner?  Sign up to the weekly EventTech Talk newsletter here and get advice and updates on the latest technology trends and discussions shaping the events industry today.

 

Study Reveals Majority of Events Struggling to Measure ROI of Personalisation

 

A new research study has revealed that personalisation and data-driven marketing is a growing priority for 73% of event planners, yet more than 50% struggle to see how effective their efforts are in engaging attendees and building brand loyalty.  Of the 150 senior event planners surveyed, 56% don’t end up using all the data they collect for the purpose of personalisation and another 44% find it difficult to determine how much personalisation they should actually do.

The research findings are based on the views of event professional based in the U.S. and the UK and represent corporates, associations, government and educational institutions, PCOs and event management agencies.

The ‘ROI of Event Personalisation’ research study conducted by Eventsforce last month has found that an overwhelming 96% of event planners use some form of personalisation across their events: Tailored event invitations topped the list as the most popular method of personalisation at 89%, followed by personalised communications at 71%, which includes things like attendee emails and dedicated landing pages on event websites. Other tactics include pre-populated registration forms and tailored registration paths for different types of attendees. Lower on the list are personalised on-site experiences, including catering and give-aways at 24%, followed by personalised push notifications and concierge services using apps and chatbots.

The study found that the increasing use of data capture tools like registration forms and mobile apps are also fuelling the drive for event personalisation as they help event planners collect valuable information on attendees to create more powerful and customised event experiences. When investigating which tools are seen as the most effective for sourcing personalisation data, the findings revealed that registration systems topped the list at 84%, followed by CRM and marketing solutions at 62%. Almost a third of respondents also rely on data collected from surveys and event apps.

“The findings of the study have been interesting because despite the demand for personalisation and the abundant use of data collection tools, a lot of the personalisation data that event planners are actually collecting from attendees is not being used. The results show that only 44% of event planners use most of their personalisation data, with another 22% claiming they can’t get the insight they need from the data they have.” said George Sirius, CEO of Eventsforce.

The study also looked at some of the other issues event planners are currently facing around personalisation. Almost two-thirds of respondents felt they lacked the sufficient time and resources to personalise experiences effectively, whilst 31% struggle to measure the return of their personalisation efforts.    Other issues revolved around data management, including determining what questions to ask attendees for the purpose of personalisation, getting the balance right between providing value and protecting attendee privacy and dealing with data inaccuracy.

“The issue of data is a big one when it comes to personalisation.  Before even starting the process, you need to think about what data you’re going to collect from attendees and agree across your organisation on how this data is going to be used for the purpose of personalisation.  Attendees also need to understand why you’re gathering their information and how it is going to bring value to their event experience.  Getting that balance right is really key if you want personalisation to work,” continued Sirius.

The study also looked at what impact event planners felt the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will have on personalisation efforts across the industry.  Europe’s new data protection and privacy law which is coming into effect in May 2018 is set to radically change the way events collect, store and process the personal information of attendees.  Of those surveyed, more than a third felt GDPR will limit the personalisation and data-driven marketing activities they do around their events.

Eventsforce will be debating the topic of personalisation, privacy and GDPR with senior event planners from Haymarket Publishing and the British Council at the annual Event Tech Live show in London on 9th November 2017.  The session titled, ‘Event Personalisation – Finding the Balance Between Value & Privacy’ will discuss the findings of the study and provide an opportunity for the speakers to share their experiences around personalisation and finding that balance.  Those interested in attending can register for the event at http://www.eventtechlive.com or visit Eventsforce at stand 216 in the exhibition hall.

For a more comprehensive look at the results of the ‘ROI of Event Personalisation’ research study, please download the infographic below:

About Eventsforce

Eventsforce provides web-based event management software that powers thousands of successful events each year. With headquarters in London (UK), its customers span 14 different countries and represent some of the leading names in finance, education, government, associations, PCOs and publishing. Its highly customisable software provides a complete end-to-end management solution that addresses every aspect of the event lifecycle: from event planning, marketing and registration, to abstracts and awards management, as well as on-site management and event reporting.

Eventsforce also has expertise in managing complex data integration projects, which help organisations save time and improve data sharing around their events.  It has partnerships with leading technology vendors and its open API allows organisations to seamlessly integrate Eventsforce solutions with payment gateways, CRM solutions, finance and membership systems.

For more information, please visit: www.eventsforce.com

Media Contact:

Taline Jones, Content Manager

Tel: +44 (0)20 77856997

Email: taline.jones@eventsforce.com

 

4 Ways Corporates Are Using Event Data

Do you want to know what is event technology’s biggest benefit?  Event data.  Actually, it’s actionable event data.  Data you can use to bring real value to your organisation. In fact, according to a new report from the Trade Show News Network, of all the different things that technology has done for event planners over the years, perhaps the most important is generating data they can act on. The report also goes on to say that what is needed now is understanding what that data means and how event organisers can use it to improve their events and attendee experiences.

The Growing Importance of Event Data with Corporates

The focus on data in the corporate events sector is bigger than it’s ever been.  And like the report suggests, this trend is largely due to all the different technology systems we are now using around events – from registration systems and mobile apps to engagement tools, social media and so on. For those of you interested to know which of these tools are having the biggest impact on our industry, have a look at this infographic here:  Ten Most Popular Data Collection Tools for Event Planners.

These tools are helping organisations collect and analyse data in ways that was once unimaginable.  Yet the amount of data we now have in our hands can be overwhelming, to say the least.  One of the most common complaints you’ll hear is that there simply is too much of it. In fact, a recent Eventsforce study found that 33% of corporate event planners felt the vast amount of data they have in their systems meant they didn’t have the time nor resources to do anything useful with it.  The study also found that more than half of event planners found it difficult to consolidate their data as it was spread across so many different systems.  Consequently, 72% of corporate event planners are now planning to make improvements to their data strategies.  Which isn’t surprising.  As the significance of events continues to grow for corporate organisations, so will the importance of managing all the data around these events.

Four Ways Corporates Are Using Data from Events

Event data is incredibly valuable.  The more you make of it and the more you share it across your organisation, the more valuable it becomes.  Have a look at the top four ways event data is being used by corporate organisations today, according to the findings from the How Important is Your Event Data’ study:

1. Measuring Event ROI – A vast majority of 76% of corporate event planners agreed that measuring success was the number one reason they collect data from events. The source of this data varied from registrations and attendance numbers to engagement levels and revenue.  Unsurprisingly, feedback from attendees, sponsors and exhibitors topped the list of metrics corporates are using for measuring event ROI.  Analysing and reporting this kind of data across all the different stakeholders within their organisation helps corporate event planners figure out whether or not the event met expectations and if it was in line with the company’s overall goals and objectives.

2. Planning for Future Events – After determining whether or not an event went well, our study found that 62% of corporates are using the data to identify key lessons and takeaways to determine goals, activities and content for future events.  For example: Organisers are increasingly analysing how their attendees are engaging with sessions by tracking check-in and check-out times and whether or not they used the live polling feature on the event’s mobile app.  This helps them assess popular topics and speakers for their next event. In the same way, knowing that networking was the main reason people came to their last event may push them to introduce a networking tool or have meeting rooms available to facilitate conversations with like-minded attendees.

3. Building Attendee Profiles – Personalisation is also driving a more data-driven approach to the way organisations plan and run events as attendees increasingly expect both the communication and the live experience of the event to be tailored to them in some way. So, it’s no surprise that our study found that 40% of corporates are starting to use data they have on their attendees to create more powerful and targeted events.   Using registration forms to capture attendees’ views and opinions can be a quick and cost-effective way of personalisation. For example, you can ask attendees what topics are of particular interest to them at your upcoming conference. You can then share this information with your partners and ensure the right kind of offer is included in the right delegate pack upon checking-in at the event. This is a lot more personalised than including offers from all your partners as you will almost certainly include things that are of no interest to them.


Looking for an easy and cost-effective way of personalising your attendee’s event experience?  Have a look at this article for some quick ideas: 7 Easy Ways of Using Your Registration Process to Personalise Event Experiences.


4. Generating Leads/Sales – Almost 20% of corporate event planners said they use the data collected from events to generate leads and sales for their organisations.  They know who showed up, what sessions they attended and who they engaged with – all of this data helps their sales teams stay up to date with important lead information. Some corporate organisations are taking a step further by integrating their event management systems with their internal CRM solutions so that the data is automatically updated in real-time across both systems.  The integration allows sales teams to have accurate and immediate insight into who is attending their events and how often they’re engaging with the organisation. It also helps them assess what value event activities are actually brining to the business.

Conclusion

The study results highlight the growing importance of event data in the corporate sector as it brings them new opportunities to engage more closely with customers, prospects and partners – as well as generate new leads for their organisation. With more of a focus on data collection and analysis, it becomes even more important for these organisations to have a clear strategy around data management when it comes to events – one that outlines exactly what data needs to be collected and how it will be used.  Not doing this effectively will almost certainly be a lost opportunity.

Are there any examples you’d like to share of corporate organisations using the data they collect from events?  Let us know – we’d love to hear your views!


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How Chatbots Are Personalising Events and 5 Other Tech Stories You Should Read

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There have been a number of important technology stories over this past month that are of particular interest to our industry – from the growing popularity of intelligent chatbots to the launch of Facebook’s own version of ‘Snapchat Stories’.  We also saw one of the first major data security incidents in our industry to date – once again raising the issue of whether we’re all doing enough to keep valuable attendee information from getting into the wrong hands.

Have a look at what you may have missed:

BizBash: SXSW’s New Chatbot Answered More Than 56,000 Questions from Attendees

Chatbots are officially here.  This month, South by Southwest used its own chatbot known as ‘Abby’ to provide attendees with automated concierge-style assistance on demand. More than 16,000 app users submitted 56,000 unique questions to the bot over the first 7 days of the conferences and festivals, with questions including things like ‘What time is Joe Biden speaking?’ to ‘What hip-hop artists are playing on Wednesday?’ and ‘Where can I find tacos?’.

Chatbots like Abby are one of the newest options for planners looking for easy, instant and personalised communication with event attendees. And it’s pretty simple to use – all attendees have to do is submit questions via text or voice command to receive an instant response.  In this particular case, the bot was programmed using the entire event database, which included information on more than 6,000 sessions and 600 venues, as well as input from SXSW’s help desk staff regarding the most common questions they receive. The chatbot made good use of emojis too – for example, whenever an attendee texted the rainbow emoji, they would get a list of sessions focusing on diversity.   The taco emoji would produce a list of taco restaurants and so on.  All in all, definitely an interesting case study on how chatbots are evolving in our industry.  Read more here.

Forbes: 10 Powerful Apps to Help You Manage Email Like a Boss

Email is such a big part of an event planner’s life. We use it for communication, marketing, researching, negotiating – the list is endless really.  Email, however, can also get very distracting and destructive.  Luckily, technology today is designed to help you adopt effective management habits and process email faster with smart filtering, artificial intelligence and automation.

Forbes put together a great list of 10 powerful apps that can help you stay on top of your emails – and most of them are free.  Some of the apps have features that understand which of your emails are the most important and pops them on the top of the list.  Some have a bigger focus on data security by offering end-to-end encryption, while others have things like reminders and automatic attachments.

Adweek: Facebook Messenger’s Answer to Snapchat Stories is Officially Here

If Facebook users are important for your events, then this could be of interest to you. Messenger Day, Facebook Messenger’s answer to Snapchat Stories, was officially rolled out this month to iOS and Android users worldwide. The feature allows users to curate photos and videos in a single destination and choose who to share their Messenger Day creations with – and like Snapchat, everything disappears after 24 hours.

So how can we apply Messenger Day to event marketing?  Much like Snapchat, you can use it to create a series of images or videos showing the progress of the preparation for your event, or aspects of an event that your attendees will not want to miss, or even ads for your event. You can use it to document all the big things at your event – from your keynotes speakers to the amazing cocktails you’re be serving at the networking party.  Have a look at the article from Adweek here, which gives you a simple step-by-step guide on how to get started.

Event MB: Coachella Website Data Breach – What Eventprofs Can Do to Mitigate Risk

This month, reports came out of user data from Coachella’s website being offered for sale on the dark web, with hackers having gained access to names, email address, phone numbers and birthdates. According to this article from Event MB, the breach does highlight the constant threat faced by any organisation holding user data on the web, which technically speaking, makes almost every event website a potential target. Statistically speaking however, for most events, it’s still unlikely to be a problem. A word of warning though, it seems the bigger your event, the more likely the risk. Hackers are also seeking financial gain, so the more data you have, the more valuable it is for them.

The article looks into the kind of measures event planners can take to prevent breaches from happening -including investing in good security software, password encryptions and detaching data from any financial data. It also tells you what to do if a breach does happen.  Eventsforce conducted its own data security study last year, which exposed a number of important vulnerability areas that event planners should be paying greater attention to – from email communications and managing event system passwords to where and how you should be storing your event data. Have a look at their infographic outlining six preventative tactics that greatly improve security around your event data:

Infographic: 6 Easy Ways of Keeping Your Event Data Safe.

TechCrunch: Twitter Launches New Tool for Live Video Streaming

Twitter is throwing the doors open to anyone that wants to stream their content (or event) on Twitter in order to raise brand awareness or boost its audience, without having to first negotiate with Twitter for the rights to live stream to the network. Essentially, Twitter’s new Producer API is an answer to Facebooks’ own Live API, which is today offered to news organisations, brands, celebrities and other developers as a means of live streaming video to Facebook on mobile and web.  Twitter’s entry could have some appeal for event planners in the live events business, because Twitter’s brand is associated with breaking news and other real-time content – more so than Facebook and other social networks. For those interested in early access to the Producer API, you can sign up for the private beta here.

The Exhibitor:  How to Master Post Show Videos

Our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.  So, if you have video content, use it.  It is an incredibly powerful marketing tool for promoting your events.  It’s also a good way of engaging with attendees after an event (See: 8 Ways of Engaging with Attendees AFTER an event). But how do you produce good video content and where do you start?

This is a good advisory piece from The Exhibitor which outlines all the steps you need to think about when planning video content around your event, with tips on what to shoot, durations, who should do it, soundtrack and distribution.  For other ideas on how you can use videos around your events, have a look here.


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How to Personalize Attendee Packages for Your Multi-Day Events

untitled-design-64Take any multi-day conference today and chances are it will offer attendees a choice of registration packages. Some will give attendees a choice of dates at different rates, others will bundle things like meals, accommodation or entertainment into the price. This concept of ‘packages’ first became popular when organizations used paper-based registration forms and needed a simple way of managing payments around their events. All attendees had to do was pick a package, submit their form and send the necessary cheque to the organizers.

Over the years, the advance of technology has made this process of managing payments a whole lot simpler. Online registration systems provide automatic calculations at the check-out stage of the attendee’s registration journey – regardless of the number of items purchased along the way. So the need for simplification no longer exists. In fact, ‘digital’ registration pages can do a lot more for attendee packages. They can give attendees the ability to tailor their own custom packages around these events.

untitled-design-55Common Challenges of Event Packages

Having a defined set of package options to choose from doesn’t necessarily simplify things – not for the attendee or the event organizer.  Let’s take a look at a typical example. Suppose you give your attendees the option to select one of the following packages on your event registration page:

  • Package 1 – Monday only
  • Package 2 – Monday to Wednesday (3 days)
  • Package 3 – Wednesday to Friday (3 days)
  • Package 4 – Monday to Friday (5 days)

It’s relatively easy to set up, but offering these package options to your attendees can bring about a number of issues:

1. Trouble Counting Totals – Knowing exactly who is coming on each day should be the kind of information that needs to be available to an event planner at the touch of a button.  Yet looking at our example, if you want to get the total number of attendees at your event on the Monday, you will have to add up the number of people who selected packages 1, 2 and 4.  This number will reflect all the people coming on the Monday but it will also include the ones who have registered for the Tuesday and Wednesday sessions too. Also, it may include people who have no intention of attending the event on Monday but chose package 2 as they wanted to attend the sessions on the Tuesday and Wednesday.

2. No Transparency on Event Requirements – Knowing the exact number of people that are expected to attend on any given day is important for managing things like delegate communications, catering requirements and health and safety regulations.   It is pure guess work to assume that people who have chosen package 2 will be attending your buffet lunch on the Monday, for example.  Or that they’re interested in receiving content on topics that will be discussed in sessions on that day.

3. Limited Choice for Attendees – Options that are not listed usually end up with the attendee picking up the phone and calling your team to ask if they can attend ‘Tuesday only’, for example.  This increases your workload, delays registration and could affect cash flow.  Your attendee may also feel he’s not getting a good return on his investment as he’s made to pay for a 3-day event when he’s only interested in attending one particular date or session.

personalisationLet Your Attendees Tailor Their Own Packages

Offering your attendees a selection of package options for your event is a lot like a restaurant offering its customers a selection of set menus.  Both are easy to set up. Both offer the same set of choices to everyone.  Yet registration software can help attendees personalize their own packages around your multi-day events. In the same way that a restaurant offers customers the choice to order whatever they want using an a-la-carte menu, event planners can use their online registration forms to offer attendees the option to pick and choose what they want to ‘consume’ when registering for the event.

So instead of giving attendees a list of packages to choose from, registration forms can ask attendees which dates they would like to attend. Or you can break it down further and ask them what sessions they would like to attend.  Upon selection, attendees can then be given a set of questions that allows them to choose individually priced items such as meals, meeting rooms, entertainment activities, transport and accommodation.  They won’t need to do the mental arithmetic as the system will do it for them and they can focus on what they actually want to get out of the event.

Some may argue that breaking down prices like this will only complicate the registration process.  That simplified package options provide a better experience for attendees.  Yet the reality is that these packages are taking the choice away from attendees.  And your attendees want that choice.  They want the ability to decide that they will attend your conference for the first two days, spend one night in the hotel (as they’ve made other arrangements for the other two) and attend the networking drinks on the third night. They are used to making these choices in many aspects of their lives.  They do it when buying add-ons for their flights such as meals, extra leg room or baggage allowance.  They do it when ordering their meals in a restaurant.  And there is no reason why they can’t do this around your events.

Benefits of a Personalized Approach

Creating a more personalized approach around event packages can bring a host of benefits to the event planner and the attendee:

  • Increased ROI for Attendees – Providing attendees with the ability to pick and choose bookable items around your events gives them a clearer understanding on the value of their purchase. A subconscious connection is made with the content of each day, rather than simply the package fee.  This provides the event planner with the opportunity to present additional value in context rather than just a price on a page.
  • Personalized Event Communications – Knowing exactly which days your attendees will be attending can help you personalize all your email communications in the run up to your event.  It makes more sense to send your attendee information about the sessions of the day they’re attending than have one generic email that goes to everyone on your list.
  • Better Speaker Content – By having a more accurate picture of who will be attending the sessions on each day, event planners can break down attendee lists by company type, interests and goals and share it with speakers beforehand.  They can then use this information to tweak the content of their presentations or personalize it with content or examples that are more relevant to the audience.
  • Clearer Insight on On-Site Requirements – Knowing exactly who will be attending on each day of the event provides the event planner with a more accurate picture on what catering arrangements need to be made.  So if you know that people are leaving early on the last day of your event, you may decide to offer them a packed lunch instead of the buffet you had initially planned. This can reduce your catering costs and reduce unnecessary food wastage.  This kind of information will also help with emergency evacuations and other health and safety requirements.
  • Alternative Source of Income – Asking your delegates specific questions on the kind of things they’re interested in purchasing around your event can also maximize your opportunity to make money. How about offering them to rent out that extra meeting room you have available on that specific day you know they will be at your event?  Or offer them the choice to buy WiFi connectivity in their hotel rooms?

For some other ideas on how online registration systems like Eventsforce can help you personalise your attendee event experiences, have a look here.

Written by Paul Harris,  Event Technologist and Client Services Manager, Eventsforce