In October, veteran meeting professional Tahira Endean, CMP, published Intentional Event Design: Our Professional Opportunity. The 282-page paperback (also available as an ebook) is organized around seven principles of intentional event design. Here is some excerpts from the book on the importance of data in your meeting toolkit.
Do You Really Need Data?
Yes! At its best, data will validate your assumptions. Any time we host, sponsor or participate in an event, we are looking for attention for our organization, event or our brand. We are seeking the engagement of our participants with sponsors, exhibitors, presenters and each other; we are building trust in our event as a premier place to do all the above. We still need to prove it, to ourselves and our stakeholders.
Data Measures Success
Knowing what you are measuring, when to measure, who measures, how you will judge and be judged, and most importantly why you are measuring becomes a critical function. This is a skill only now being developed in college and university level marketing programs, and is new still for even experienced event professionals. Understanding the “sales speak” of funnels and drips, conversions and sales ratios is the new vocabulary that allows you to be invited to the strategic meeting table.
Technology allows us to collect data points from the first (often mobile) touch point in a marketing campaign through registration then during the event with mobile, location-based, wearable, social and interactive tools. You will better understand who attends your events, what they like, and what will give them cause to return. Using appropriate metrics, you tell a stronger story.
When it Comes to Data, Catch up or Be Left Behind!
What does being left behind look like? It could be your event, destination, hotel or venue not being selected because you are not on the radar. The reality is we all have many competitors with a high level of sophistication and deep digital reach. It is time to ensure your organization/association/event is optimized across channels for search engines, including being mobile-friendly.
Get in the Data Habit. Make it Part of Your Toolkit, Every Time.
After you have collected and collated the data from a few events you will want to take a step back to first identify and then implement specific improvements based on what you have learned. You can then continue to monitor, track and adapt for continued success. If it feels overwhelming, find the greatest pain points, and start there. The reality is all events require an investment and the higher the investment, the greater the need to prove the value. How to do this is explored in the book in much greater detail.
Read another excerpt here.