Guest Post: How Data is Transforming Event Planning
With the rise and growth of digital technologies being used in the event industry, it’s now easier than ever to track and gain insights from the behavior of attendees and participants. The creative use of data and analytics is now becoming the cornerstone of any successful event.
Recent studies have shown that more than 87% of consumers’ purchases are now influenced by events. This gives the events industry the necessary motivation to further understand customers’ behaviors and preferences through collecting data during events. But amassing all that data would be a waste if you don’t have the capacity to analyze and gain insights from it – this is where analytics becomes important.
As it is, data remains scattered across a variety of different tools that event planners and managers use, and consolidating these into a single platform is a huge challenge. In fact, Verizon Connect highlights how data is only useful if you are able to analyze and apply it to your context. Firmly grasping all the data generated and using analytics to make sense of it is at the heart of how data is reshaping events planning and management today. While the integration of data and leveraging them into insights is challenging, it’s far from impossible.
Data has unlocked a new horizon of understanding consumer behaviors and preferences like never before, here’s how:
We have entered the age of personalization, and it has moved well past putting attendees’ names on invites. Today, data has made it possible for marketers and event organizers to create targeted and segmented campaigns that are highly relevant to customers. User-generated content is what drives event invites up and getting a relevant message across to users is what jumpstarts the conversation. Leveraging data from their online preferences, planners can now market your event on Twitter, Facebook or WhatsApp.
When used correctly, data-driven personalized messaging can increase public engagement and awareness without breaking the bank. This means that data captured before an event can also give you actionable information – e.g. who opened the invites and what actions did they take on-site aside from registration? These are invaluable data points that can provide useful and actionable insights.
Both millennials and Gen Z consumers value experiences more than material wealth. But data used in events planning and management in the past has put quantitative data – the number of attendees, how long they stay – on a pedestal. But recent innovations have made it possible to track and gain insights from attendee experience. Live events can capture more nuanced data than online ones since you’re face-to-face with customers.
Event managers can use this to personalize experiences like broadcasting to nearby devices and connecting users through a geolocation-based app. This lets you create a 3D profile of your attendees, including their engagement level and emotional responses as they go through the event.
Big events also leverage data to control the crowd flow, and it’s a powerful way to maximize attendee engagement. Today, a wide array of technologies like Bluetooth tags, RFID wristbands, and interactive apps are used to gauge and enhance the experience of event attendees. It can also shape how you manage a longer event, like lengthening the hours for a favored booth or event segment, or pushing sponsored content during peak times.
Another way you can use this data is through managing staff and support personnel stations based on the crowd density. For example, you can put in another bartender at a popular bar stall, so customer needs are swiftly satisfied if the wait time is becoming too long. Crowdshaping applications can ensure your patrons enjoy their time while not overtly exerting influence over their choices.
Tailoring experiential marketing
As mentioned above, consumers are increasingly drawn to brands that they have interacted with or experienced at events. That’s why event management and planners often leverage data tracked from consumer conversations on social media to tailor fit experiential design for events. Influencers (even micro-influencers) that customers resonate with are often discovered through data aggregation and analytics.
One emerging trend in experiential marketing is that some brands are also throwing their weight into social causes that their target markets are supporting including gender equality or animal rights. This gives event planners and marketers insight into experiences that forge deeper connections with their customer base.
With the global COVID-19 pandemic canceling most of the big-ticket events this first half of the year, agencies and event planners are pivoting towards digitizing experiences. As clients and brands adapt to this unprecedented business development, the event management industry is leveraging data to transform on-ground events into 3D, virtual reality, and even augmented reality events.
While many industry events like SXSW and Advertising Week Europe, as well as music festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach will likely push through in the fall, some are planning to digitize at least a part of these events.
Improved future insights
Feedback is what drives the event industry forward. With data analytics, discovery surveys and post-event surveys on Facebook and other social channels are more personalized than ever. The whole event cycle generates a ton of data that can provide insights for future events. By having access to the right information, you can discover new pain points and understand your audiences’ expectations of your event. Data analytics can also help you identify factors that might affect your attendees’ behavior.
While data may not reduce the number of twists and turns in a given event, it can reduce uncertainty and identify potential issues to give you more flexibility in events. With the right tools, data also lets you look ahead into the future – gaining insights on emerging trends and audience preferences. While an event might only give you ten leads, the amount of data you captured can improve your next sales cycle tenfold.
By leveraging data, event planners and managers can make the most of the event cycle. As more tools and use cases develop, data analytics will continue to disrupt the events industry and push its innovation forward.
Author: Regina Julia
EventsAir has been at the forefront of Event Technology and Innovation for over 30 years, continually pushing the boundaries of what an event management platform can do. Built by event planners for event planners, EventsAir is a secure, scalable, cloud-based solution that can manage everything from in-person, virtual to hybrid conferences, meetings and events in a single online platform – anywhere, anytime and on any device. In use in over 50 countries by multi-national corporations, professional conference organizers, government departments and tertiary education institutions, EventsAir is also used in global congresses such as G20, APEC, CHOGM and ASEAN, as well as sporting events like The Olympic Games, World Rugby, Commonwealth Games and Pan Am Games. EventsAir is trusted by event professionals around the globe. For further information, visit www.eventsair.com