Post authored by Mike Godsey, Senior Vice President, Market Development, Experient
Last week, we shared some mind-melting statistics about big data from IBM’s latest C-Suite study. If you missed that post, click here to get up to speed.
Content marketing via digital channels is advancing to the next stage, where adaptive content locks in on the specific needs and interests of each individual, based on strong data capture of past behaviors. With that in mind, it stands to reason that customer expectations for adaptive experiences at conferences and tradeshows would follow suit.
Applying the big data lens to your conference and tradeshow portfolio, here are four things to consider as you map out your data intelligence improvement plan:
- Customers want hyper-relevant event experiences tailored to their most critical needs.
One-size-fits-all, broad and sweeping messages aren’t moving the registration needle as much as they once did. “Show Me You Know Me” is today’s event audience mantra. Conference and tradeshow organizers who leverage data intelligence to increase relevance will have a decided edge. Data provides clarity on top targeted segments (who are you designing this event experience for most of all?) and the problems they must solve. Once you’re armed with that insight, delivering event experiences that customers appreciate comes more easily.
- Customers want less friction, too.
In today’s fast-paced and busy world, your audience is less inclined to jump through lots of hoops to accept your invitation to attend. That goes double for the loyal people who attend your events regularly. Big data helps you speed up and close more decisions to attend. It also helps you to recognize and reward loyalty from segments that matter most to your organization. As you scan the attendee journey from start to finish, isolate the “speed bumps” that frustrate customers and stall decisions. Then do everything you can to minimize or remove them.
- Best intelligence often comes from a blend of quantitative and qualitative data.
Most event organizers are flooded with quantitative data (number of attendees, sessions, exhibitors, revenue, expenses, etc.). As you layer in more qualitative data (demographics, preferences, emotional triggers, etc.), that’s when the data intelligence value soars. You’ll notice that the wealth of insight from the IBM report mentioned earlier came from thousands of face-to-face conversations. Thousands of conversations aren’t feasible for most organizations. Go have a few face-to-face conversations with your best customers and prospects. Then take that insight and match it up against the data to test your assumptions.
- Stay on the lookout for smarter and faster ways to tackle data capture and analysis.
New technologies are emerging that will allow you to seamlessly capture real-time customer data about behaviors before, during and after your event. Behaviors that will not just show lagging indicators (past and current behaviors), but leading indicators (forecasting future behaviors). That’s a whole new ballgame that will help you better compete, now and for years to come.
While “big data” is becoming a bit of a buzz word these days, the rewards are substantial and well within reach for many organizations. Unfortunately, some folks are making this sound more complicated than it needs to be. At the end of the day, it’s about…
- Putting technology in place that will allow you to understand the behaviors and preferences of all event participants.
- Adding filters, so you can drill down by segment for deeper insight on what drives satisfaction and loyalty for your top targeted segments.
- Aligning future event experience design elements with the activities and encounters that these participants value highly.
We’ve covered a good bit of ground in this two-part series, but there’s still more to go. Data mastery will continue to a significant business performance differentiator, separating the good organizations from the great ones. But keep in mind, it’s a moving target that’s constantly evolving.
If you’re intrigued, we would encourage you to keep advancing one step at a time, starting with a good hard look at your current data infrastructure. If your leadership team hasn’t fully grasped the power of data intelligence, you might consider sharing a few statistics from the IBM C-Suite study.
As you start mapping out your data strategy improvement plan, we’d be happy to weigh in with additional recommendations, as we’re involved with hundreds of conferences and tradeshows each year. Tell us more about your situation … We’d be happy to circle back with more to help expedite your journey to better.