Access to real-time, accurate and actionable data has transformed marketing and the way marketers allocate budgets. For some marketing channels such as digital or social media, this has meant they now get a bigger slice of the pie, because marketers can directly attribute spend to ROI through measurement metrics and audience insights. For example, in 2018 digital advertising represented more than half (53.2%) of Australia’s AUS$16.6 billion spend.
As a result of the digital drive, there is an expectation that other forms of experiential marketing, such as events, will also prove to be of value. This will become even more important in years to come in order to safeguard the future of the events industry. So whether you’re looking to entice sponsors, attendees or key stakeholders, being able to pull reliable data and put a dollar value on your event has never been more important.
And while there remains an assumption that determining event value is particularly challenging, there are so many impressive ways to measure interaction, awareness and engagement levels before, during and after each event to prove ROI. In fact, turning data into value has never been simpler. Marketers just need to be educated on the possibilities that event technology offers.
Here we’re going to look at four key ways to use data to improve and enhance your next event.
Step one: Monitoring a session attendance
The key benefit of monitoring a session attendance is it enables organisers to accurately understand ROI and the value of sessions based on real-time attendee behaviour.
Manual headcounts and paper sign-in sheets are time-consuming and easy to make mistakes with. A more reliable way of measuring how many people turn up to a session is through smart data.
Beacons can be placed at the entrance of each session room to monitor how many people enter the room and stay for longer than 10 minutes. Using this technology to monitor how many people attend each session, you’ll unlock insights about the most sought-after content, presentations and speakers. Organisers can analyse such data trends to sift out the sessions that spike interest as opposed to those that turn heads away.
By unlocking insights about the sessions attendees are looking for, you will then always ensure future events are worth stakeholders’ time and money.
Step two: Track the success of networking and connections formed
Networking and developing connections is one of the fundamental reasons people attend events. Attendees want the opportunity to connect securely and privately with others while the event takes place, without the administrative burden of organising lots of meetings.
Smart tags allow attendees to swap contact information at the touch of a button, as well as giving you the ability to track the number of times they do. This creates invaluable engagement metrics that can be used to entice future exhibitors, sponsors and attendees.
Similarly, encouraging attendees to download a specific event app enables vendors and attendees with aligned interests to be matched at events. These tools even provide an overview of the type of networking that took place so that attendees can easily keep track of those they have met.
For event organisers, this also means being able to monitor how much in-app messaging and one-to-one messaging is being used before, during and after your event. This provides essential insights into the interactions most valued by attendees.
Step three: Understand what’s in demand
By engaging with near-field communication (NFC) technology you can monitor how much traffic each area of your event receives, and therefore, what’s in demand with your audience. Combining beacons around your event space with a smart tag or badge will allow you to monitor where attendees are, how long they spend in each area, and therefore, which parts of your event are most in demand.
Knowing where your attendees are heading and what they’re interested in will reassure your exhibitors that they will benefit from your event and will put a premium on specific locations.
Furthermore, it will give you a really thorough understanding of your event, what the main purpose is for attendees and exhibitors, as well as allow you to better sell your event to the right demographic.
Step four: Capturing exhibitor leads
Exhibitors attending your event are expecting to generate new leads. So, being able to show exactly how many leads were gained by similar companies at your previous events is essential for enticing future exhibitors and growing the size of your event.
NFC QR code badges can be used to gather this information. Exhibitors simply need to tap an attendee’s badge when they have a lead and you are able to collate information from there.
Devices can be rented, or some companies offer “bring your own device” solutions, where exhibitors can use their own smartphone devices by buying licences and downloading the app.
By following these four simple steps, you’ll be able to maximise value from your next event.
The more events you hold, the more data you will have and the easier it will be to sell your event and grow it in size.
Once you have your data, use it as a benchmark so that you can revisit it each year.
Smart data and smart technology give you knowledge and power. Long term, this will enhance your ability to grow your event by attracting presenters, exhibitors and attendees, as well as ensuring value for time and money.
Brecht Fourneau Senior director for EMEA and APAC marketing at event management technology company Aventri