Eric Misic is the VP of Business Development and Co-Founder of Bear Analytics. Serving as Bears’ data evangelist, he uses his 15 plus years of trade show, conference and large association event experience to ensure Bear’s solutions are actionable for the marketplace and can be easily translated to accelerate growth in marketing, attendee acquisition, and sales activity.
I Have Data from My Event…Now What?
One of the most common questions I 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 collection or data being generated on attendees and exhibitors. But, 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 one of two groups: Attendees and Exhibitors. The logical place to start with data analysis is to focus on attendee data first. 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 tradeshow marketing teams are being tasked with showing attendee growth in order to keep pace with exhibition floor growth. And it’s not just getting in more warm bodies to fill the floor, but attracting the attendees that exhibitors want to meet.
On the attendee data side of things, let’s focus on the data that can help us to understand our current attendee audience and where we can grow the audience. The attendee data sources we find most helpful to analyze for insights around both of areas are listed below:
- Attendee Registration
- Exhibition Lead Retrieval
- 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.
Now that we’ve identified where to start, what types of insights should we look for?
Not so fast – What matters 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 QUALIFIED buyers.
- My Board wants to grow into adjacent industry “X” – how many of those people do we have coming today?
When it comes to what you should track, here are a few metrics we recommend:
- Which companies are growing their attendance at your event?
- How have your core audience demographics changed over the last 5-6 years?
- Geographic Impact. If your event rotates, how is the makeup of who is attending affected? And if doesn’t rotate, is the trend of where your attendees are coming from both domestically and internationally changed over the past few years?
- How are your attendees engaging with exhibitors onsite? Which exhibitors are capturing these attendees via lead retrieval?
- 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 the power of your data insights is to put them into action. Some areas of immediate application of data insights for attendee acquisition marketing include:
- 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 you both recognize and value their loyalty.
- Create your event registration website landing pages to direct your returning attendees to the areas of the site that will convert them the easiest. Conversion shouldn’t be a barrier, especially for those who have proven to come year after year.
- 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 application of event data. Now, do you know what to do with your event data? The answer should be a resounding YES.