For business events such as meetings, conferences, trade shows, and expositions, data can be an invaluable tool for increasing engagement. By knowing your attendees better, it becomes exponentially easier to provide them with an event experience that truly serves their goals and exceeds their expectations. According to Forbes, only 15% of Fortune 500 companies are currently using big data analytics.¹ While big data may seem intimidating and inaccessible for many smaller companies, big data spending is projected to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 23% each year until 2019²; there is no denying that it will control the future of business Intelligence and play an ever increasing role in corporate event planning.

Access to consumer data helps businesses develop a clearer understanding of customer activity and business operations—both of which are essential for business growth and the success of business events. Data helps to explain customer behavior—revealing patterns in customer interactions and transactions, helping uncover new paths-to-action, and demystifying “fuzzy” situations.

Gathering Valuable Information about your Customers

Data-collection is an essential technique for helping a business understand the “who, what, when, where, and why” of its customer base, and data-collection has improved by leaps and bounds in the last five years. Here are a few of the major data sources that should be evaluated, monitored and mined for information that can help increase engagement at events:

  • Social network profiles that can improve attendee networking
  • Social influencers that can help offer more engaging session and discussion topics
  • Activity-generated data that can provide insights into attendee movement, both on the event floor and in social media discussions
  • Software as a Service and cloud applications that offer deep analysis of customers’ needs
  • On-site event reporting that allows real-time review of traffic patterns, technology usage, survey results, and attendance information

Information from social media, digital activity, public information, and through services such as Amazon RedShift, Google Analytics, Google BigQuery, and Salesforce, helps businesses customize their events for their target audience. Businesses and event organizers need to be listening and gathering knowledge from as many data sources as possible—in the planning phases before an event, during the event itself, and following its completion.

The Data that Improves Event Engagement

For decades, business events relied on little more than basic attendee information: name, age, gender, company information, and job title. Now, however, event organizers can expand their data collection to cover nearly any goals or queries. With attendee engagement software, event organizers can create customized back-end reporting which can increase attendee engagement by:

  • Improving the overall efficiency of an event’s operations, creating a more enjoyable and effective attendee experience.
  • Providing detailed demographics that compare attendees to the event’s target audience, allowing organizers to ensure that the event’s goals match its audience.
  • Offering surveys and content feedback—bringing insight into attendee perceptions through questionnaires and polling that help increase guest satisfaction.
  • Streamlining online registration allowing faster, more customized check-ins.
  • Automating management of back-end participant data, allowing organizers to focus their attention and energy on attendees while reporting “runs itself.”
  • Measuring attendee engagement at specific points—such as exhibits, technology stations, speakers, breakout sessions, and for general traffic flow—helping event organizers determine which elements have the highest levels of engagement.
  • Allowing real-time adjustments and improvements—solving problems quickly to keep attendees active and involved.
  • Facilitating and customizing the attendee experience, from initial engagement to post-event follow-up, helping to increase attendance for future events.

In conclusion, data management leads to better attendee engagement. When event organizers determine the real objectives of an event and ask the right questions from their reporting, they can convert data into insights that create an event that their target audience wants to attend, year after year!