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Does event data have a shelf life? In this blog, we’ll introduce Data Potency as a concept, explore creative uses for real-time live event data, and highlight why we need to act faster.
We’ve all heard the analogies about data being the new oil, the new gold or even the new water. I’m not a great fan of these types of comparisons, but if pressed I’d liken event data more to an avocado.
Why? By its very nature, most event data has a shelf life. Event data, much like an avocado, has a moment in time when it’s at its very best. Eat it too early and it’s not ripe. Too late and it’s gone off. Event data is much the same, it’s at its best, or most potent in the moment, at your event, when it has the greatest power to alter outcomes.
So how can we use live event data in better ways? I’d like to show you why timing is so important when it comes to data and how as an event professional you can use data potency to your advantage.
Covid unleashed havoc on the events industry, but for all the devastation, I believe there was one positive. The ‘data penny’ finally dropped.
In our time of adversity, we were forced to rethink and reimagine ways of doing things. We turned to virtual events, quickly recreating in a digital environment, what had previously been done in person. Not only did this allow us to continue to function as an industry and deliver our events, but it opened our eyes to a whole world of event data that was previously unimaginable. Overnight we were able to gain deep insights into our audiences like never before.
"The data penny finally dropped"
Fast forward to today and we are now very much back to in-person, and thanks to the innovation and creativity shown during the pandemic we are now able to capture data from our audiences throughout the lifecycle of an event whether online, in-person or a blend of the two. The main difficulty is no longer collecting data, but working out which types of data are most relevant and how we can glean actionable insights at the right time to impact the outcome of our events.
Events come in many different flavours, trade shows, conferences, AGMs and investor meetings, town halls and all-hands meetings, the list goes on. The drivers behind why we run these events are many and varied, but whatever the event we are all seeking an outcome. Commercial event organisations are looking for increased rebookings, revenue growth, increased ticket sales or the opportunity to test a new market. For corporate events the outcomes are often more nuanced, it could be about positioning the organisation as a thought leader or digital-first; it’s often about lead generation or growing business with existing clients. For internal events, the outcomes are different again.
Whatever your event goals, imagine if you could start to multiply the outcomes of your events. Twice as much revenue, three times as many attendees, five times as many leads? Is it possible to 10x your event outcomes?
Whilst 10x may be a stretch for some outcomes, I believe you can make big inroads to improving your event outcomes, and it all comes down to something at Totem we call ‘Data Potency’.
Data Potency is a simple concept built around the idea of providing the right data, to the right people at the right time.
Collecting data is all well and good but getting the most out of our events requires more than just hoarding data. Having the ability to utilise that data in real-time allows brands to interact with attendees on a more personal level, creating more opportunities for our sales teams, and helping to deliver ROI for our key stakeholders.
By focusing on Data Potency, we have the power to multiply our outcomes – not only doing what we’ve already been doing better and more effectively, but by creating new opportunities, and new money. So far so good but what do we mean by the right data, the right people and the right time?
"Data Potency is a simple concept built around the idea of providing the right data, to the right people at the right time."
For me, event data falls into three distinct buckets, audience data, value data and intent data.
Audience Data – this is the data that would typically be collected at registration and includes things like job function, content interests, relationship with your business, who they are interested in meeting and their key challenges. This is the start of building an understanding of your audience.
Value Data – this is the data that is typically stored in your CRM, your Hubspot, Salesforce or equivalent. This gives an indication of whether the individual fits your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Is this person likely to buy?
Intent Data – This data comes from tracking the attendee journey. Mapping how they have interacted with our content, our sponsors and other attendees. This is perhaps the most powerful data in your armoury as it gives a real insight into how interested they are in our content, our products or our company.
By combining these three data sets we start to build a deep, contextual insight into our audience, understanding who are our most valuable attendees and where there are opportunities to impact our outcomes.
Whether attendees, sponsors or indeed our own teams, people are the lifeblood of any event. Providing them with the right data has the power to massively impact the outcomes they are looking for.
Take your attendees. From the audience data provided at registration, coupled with any intent data from interactions leading up to and during the event you can start to personalise their journeys, serving up relevant and timely content, and facilitating networking to help them meet other attendees with similar interests.
For your sponsors you can track ROI in real-time, enabling you to make live in-event adjustments to ensure they meet and exceed their event goals, encouraging re-bookings and revenue growth.
Your team’s time is precious, therefore it is key that they spend it on the most valuable prospects. Getting them real-time data about the most valuable prospects allows your sales teams to be more effective. Providing your marketing teams with intent data allows them to personalise their messaging to attendees whilst they are at the event.
"Providing your marketing teams with intent data allows them to personalise their messaging to attendees whilst they are at the event."
As an industry we are better than ever at collecting data, in most cases we know who that data is most valuable to, but I believe we are missing a trick by not getting it to them at the right time.
Think about it. Why does your holiday provider message you whilst on holiday to rebook for next year? Why did you upgrade to an annual membership whilst at the zoo?
It’s about reaching you in the moment. When there is the greatest chance of affecting an outcome… events are no different.
If we can get the data in the hands of the right people at the right time you increase the chances of your sponsors rebooking, and increasing spend; of your attendees registering for future events or coming away with a more positive impression of your event; and of your teams using their time far more effectively, personalising their interactions and multiplying the number of leads generated.
Advances in technology and data capture – through functionality like QR code scanning, Q&A, and polling – mean we now have the ability to not only improve on what we have done before but to create new opportunities and new money.
It’s worth taking a look at your events and asking the question: What can I do today that I couldn’t do yesterday? We have the technology, we have the data and with a little imagination, the opportunities are now endless.
Using Data Potency you can start to curate your event experiences in real-time. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
Pop-up sessions – Use real-time data to understand your most popular sessions and the attendees that were most engaged with that session and content. Imagine being able to spring up a pop-up session, to take a deep dive into the topic. Added value for your attendees and a valuable new opportunity for your sponsors should you have them.
Personalised content – By tracking the intent data across your event lifecycle you can start to provide tailored content that is both relevant and timely. Imagine being able to send a whitepaper, eBook or article to an attendee as they leave your event that is in line with the exact content they have just consumed. Increased engagement of your content and improved experience for your attendees.
Live in-event lead scoring – By attaching points to certain audience touch points across your events – QR codes, polling, Q&A, networking data – you can start to identify not only your most engaged attendees but importantly what topics/themes they are most interested in. This enables your sales teams and fee earners to spend their time with the most valuable attendees and personalise their interactions.
To be frank, in order to achieve any of the above, we need to devote time to figuring out a data strategy prior to the event. We also, to some extent, need to free data from the laptop – if we could make it available on devices such as iPad, then event organisers can access it on the move.
"Imagine being able to send a whitepaper, eBook or article to an attendee as they leave your event that is in line with the exact content they have just consumed."
Like it or not, we are now all data businesses. Getting the most value from that data can be the difference between success and failure. Be warned, if you are not using your data when it’s at its most potent there are numerous digital-first organisations waiting in the wings to eat your lunch, (or your avocado ;).
Data has a shelf life and, as we have shown, it is at its most potent in the moment. Every hour, day or week that goes past, the value of that data diminishes and the likelihood of multiplying the outcomes of your events decreases.
In-event data may well be one of the most overlooked products of your event.
Don’t let it go to spoil.
To find out more about Totem’s smart event solutions click here.