Event professionals have always been on-the-go types, but in today’s fast-paced world, many are moving even faster, as they navigate through a myriad of details to orchestrate remarkable events.
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Show Notes for Episode #1
Event Behavioral Insights: Do You Know What You Don’t Know? Guests: Jeff Fugate, SVP Strategic Sales & Marketing at Experient; Jean Heis, Director, Meetings & Exhibits at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
Highlights from our chat with Jeff Fugate
- Do You Know What You Don’t Know?
Below is The Four Boxes of Knowing model Jeff refers to (courtesy of Skip Walter at The TAI Group). To solve problems and seize opportunities in today’s competitively charged marketplace, event organizers must get clear on what they know with certainty — and what they don’t know, but need to know to keep their events on a more prosperous growth track.
Here’s a post penned by Jeff with more about how The Four Boxes of Knowing can be applied to the conference and trade show realm: Trade Show Smarts: Do You Know What You Don’t Know?
- One Central Dashboard for Richer Knowing
Many event organizers prefer to tap an assortment of different vendors, which seems reasonable at first (multiple stakeholders, multiple skillsets). But event needs and insights are often interrelated. One example: Registration and Housing. While they’re different from a “doing” perspective, there’s plenty of overlap from a “knowing” perspective. “Knowing who is registered and knowing who is in the block can have significant impact on an organization’s ability to effectively manage risk, grow revenue. Consolidating data and knowing into one place can become an exponentiator. So it’s not one plus one equals two. It’s one plus one equaling something much greater.”
- Behavioral Data Insights via eventBit™
Jeff shared more about Experient’s new solution, eventBit, and how it’s helping event organizers to know more. Leveraging wearables and a new twist on Bluetooth beacon technology, event organizers now have a more effective method to understand exactly what attendees are doing at their event, from start to finish. Armed with this more expansive scope of data, event organizers will have the evidence they need to guide future event decisions. Click here for more about eventBit.
Highlights from our chat with Jean Heis
- Tracking behavioral data at IFT ’16.
IFT partnered with Experient to deploy eventBit for IFT ’16 in Chicago. With more than 23,000 attendees plus 1,000 exhibiting companies, there was a wealth of data to be captured and analyzed. While IFT initially considered engaging eventBit for a sub-segment of their audience, they ultimately determined it best to tag all attendees, except staff and exhibitors.
- Preparation for eventBit deployment
Previously, badges were mailed out in advance, so IFT needed to communicate to attendees that badges would now be picked up onsite. Check-in kiosks were situated across all arrival points and wait times were very short (3 minutes or less). “We had a great layout and we actually had more kiosks than we needed.” For larger exhibitors with more staff attending, arrangements were made to pick up all staff badges in bulk during move-in.
- eventBit passed the accuracy test with flying colors
Discrete hubs were situated across the show floor and in session rooms to capture all attendee movements and dwell times. “As a control mechanism, we scanned badges for a few session rooms and cross tracked this with the eventBit data. The hubs were 100% accurate – we were excited by the level of accuracy.”
- Identify top performing sessions & speakers
While badge scans might tell you how many people entered a session room, this method won’t reveal how long each person stayed. “You won’t get that feedback in a survey… It was great to see the flow of people in and out of the session rooms. Some sessions had more engaging speakers than others. Seeing dwell times for sessions is valuable.” The IFT program planning committee is now reviewing this data to improve topic and speaker selection for future events.
- Real-time heat map data of the entire show floor
Throughout their event, heat maps provided a more efficient way to spot ebbs and flows in activity – with a few opportunities to make mid-course corrections during the event, removing potential snags before they’re noticed. “Just looking at dead zones, you’re able to make real-time decisions. If you’ve got a dead area, now you can put a beverage break area there to drive traffic – there are many options to drive traffic in real time. We wouldn’t know that otherwise… it’s not just a hunch, it’s factual data.”
- Increased visibility for exhibitors
Better than half of the 1,000 exhibitors purchased lead retrieval, which was automatically eventBit enabled, showing more about the activity happening at their booth. IFT hosted a pre-event webinar for exhibitors, to help them learn more about how they might tap this data to improve lead capture at the show. “You as the show organizer can make decisions as to how much data people will see… If dwell times are at ten minutes or more but they didn’t get their badge scanned, do you want to qualify this as a lead? You now have the ability to make these decisions… and you can segment the data in a variety of ways.”
- Data speeds up and enhances booth and sponsorship renewal conversations
Behavioral data helped IFT to better assess traffic flow across the entire show floor and at any given point during the event. “We’re still looking at this data every day… Our sales team has used this data to prospect for new sponsors, to prospect for new advertisers… One of the things we’ll see in our hard survey data is that a booth was too crowded. Now we have behavioral data that shows the booth was too crowded and they should consider a bigger booth… that’s a takeaway we didn’t expect – the ‘you need a bigger booth’ conversation.”
- Advancing data strategy for IFT ’17 in Las Vegas and beyond
IFT will continue to deploy eventBit for IFT ’17 and as behaviors are tracked over multiple years, new trends will emerge. Having booth data over a longer span will also tee up opportunities to introduce tiered booth pricing, based traffic data. IFT is also working to tie this behavioral data back to the customer record. “It’s changing the conversations we’re having in our organization, especially around the questions we ask. When you’re looking at future matchmaking, you need to be consistent… You’ll also be able to market to the individual. When you look at the future and how younger generations value information… when you’re marketing to the individual, you’re communicating that you’re more valuable to us.”
We hope you’ll join us next month, when Thad Lurie, VP of Operations and Chief Information Officer at EDUCAUSE will share more about the smart strategies they’re engaging for their events.