EDUCAUSE Harnesses Event Data to Deliver Sensational Experiences

event dataPost authored by Donna Kastner, Event Marketing Specialist.

Every time I have a conversation with Thad Lurie, I get smarter.

Thad’s one savvy association executive who recognizes the perils of complacency and “status quo” thinking, especially in today’s rapidly changing business environment.

As VP of Operations and Chief Information Officer at EDUCAUSE, he leads marketing, communications, publishing, content, conferences, and Information technology (IT), with a core mission to help advance higher education through the better use of technology.

To make this role even more challenging, Thad’s team must satisfy an audience with complex needs that are constantly changing. Speed counts double for this community.

I had the privilege of interviewing Thad at PCMA’s Convening Leaders ’17 conference in Austin, after attending an education session he led titled: How to Use Data to Keep Your Event Relevant

During Thad’s session, he outlined four stages of data maturity:

  1. Oblivious
    Data? That’s the guy from Star Trek, right?
  2. Collecting Some Data
    We have data in our AMS, but we’re not sure what to do with it.
  3. Collecting Data from Multiple Sources
    We have lots of data all over the place, but it’s not really helping us.
  4. Collecting and Blending Data for Actionable Impact
    Blended data and KPIs guide most, if not all decision making.

Then he polled the audience, asking them to assess their own data maturity levels. Here’s where they landed:

  1. 9%
  2. 35%
  3. 56%
  4. 0%

Happily, for this interview, I was dealing with a Stage D Data Maestro. Here are highlights from my chat with Thad:

Considering the Higher Ed IT community EDUCAUSE serves, I’d imagine the shelf life for content and conference experiences would be much shorter than for other industries. Is that the case?

As the need for speed increases, what steps are you taking to more accurately predict what attendees might want next?

This past year, EDUCAUSE partnered with Experient to make a giant leap forward in behavioral data capture with eventBit. Can you tell us more about what you did and what you learned?

With this type of behavioral tracking, there are varying degrees of sensitivity about sharing data. During your session, you said, “the amount of data attendees will allow you to use is directly proportional to the customization it will enable.” Can you expand on that?


I heard you walked out on the exhibit floor with your tablet and showed a few of your larger exhibitors heat maps with real-time traffic data from eventBit. What was their reaction?

Will 2017 be the year YOU make a giant leap forward with your event data strategy?

Tell us more about the size and scope of your event and we’ll get back to you with more insights like these to help you make it happen… faster and better.

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