Business event data can help events professionals keep a meaningful pulse on audiences and drive business performance, but it can also leave gaping blind spots without a strong strategy in place. Traditional efforts to capture sentiment data that focus on one or two metrics like Net Promoter Scores can fail to be as customer centric as modern events organizations need them to be.
PCMA recently spoke with Gary Coombs, CTO of IMEX, and Sophie Holt, Managing Director of Explori, a leading attendee feedback platform for business event organizers. They shared their thoughts on how event planners can combat this problem and improve their event data strategy. Here are a few of their tips to gain more impactful insights about audiences, better evaluate event performance, and get stakeholders on board with plans.
1. Talk to Your Stakeholders First
Gary Coombs emphasized the importance of understanding what internal stakeholders want from event data, and not overpromising on the insights you van provide. “One of the first things I do is talk to people,” explained Gary. “There’s no point in just diving straight into the data. You need to understand what your stakeholders across the business want and need, and what their frustrations are.”
2. Create Personas Based on Objectives and Outcomes
“Most events exist to try to engender some change in behavior. So that might be to disseminate best practices at an association event, or to increase employee engagement at corporate employee event,” observed Sophie Holt. “If you start to measure event data surrounding what those people’s objectives are, when they attend, how well they might meet them, and what they might do next, these personas stop being 2d demographic boxes, and start to become something much more 3d.”
3. Get Rid of Silos and Make Data Accessible to All
Gary stressed the importance of making sure data is available to any stakeholders who need it. “Something I’ve spent time on at IMEX is linking all our systems up. Otherwise, you get these data silos and people can be sitting on a pot of gold that no one else can see,” he shared. “Take the time to take that step back, look at all your systems and collection points, and channel them in the right direction.”
3. Use Both Quantitative and Qualitative Data to Avoid Bias
While face-to-face conversations can offer invaluable insights about your event attendees, human biases can come into play and prevent you from getting the whole picture of your audience. To avoid this, Sophie recommends capturing qualitative data in a way that offers some of the rigor of quantitative data. “For example, in a post event survey, it’s asking people to tell you why they gave a certain score. And that allows them to give you feedback that you may not even have considered in your conversations with customers,” she explained. “Quantitative data supports the qualitative data you have about your customers; it doesn’t replace it.”
For more insights from Sophie and Gary, check out the on-demanding recording of this PCMA and Explori webinar, “Putting Customers at the Center of Your Event Data Strategy with Sentiment Analysis”.
To get the complete playbook you need to build an event data strategy that drives business goals, sign up today for our Event Data Strategy Certificate course.