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event data

All the talk these days is about virtual events and hybrid events and what the future of the event industry is. What I think many, event professionals, are forgetting now is that data and measuring all aspects of the event is what is crucial to build out a sustainable core and ultimately grow all segments of your event base.

With all the focus on “pivoting,” we are failing to put a true strategy behind the move to virtual. Virtual is here to stay so we must think holistically about not only the experience for our event audience but also about what it is we should be collecting and measuring to help us grow and become more sustainable in the future.

With that here are a few ways in which data can help support the sustainable core of an event as well as expound upon its future growth.

 

  1. Truly defined target audience. When we utilize the data that we are collecting, we can understand the true target segments that make up our events. This in turn helps us to understand the marketing strategies and sales strategies we need to put forward. It also helps us to understand the audience that sees value in our event. We have seen a huge surge in virtual events due to the pandemic. What this means is that data will be a bit skewed because of the sheer number of attendees joining a virtual event rather than traveling to a live event. This is why we need to accurately collect the data and measure it so we can understand target segments and how they’ve been affected by virtual exhibitors and attendees as opposed to those that came live. This will help us in putting together an accurate marketing strategy for our future events whether they are virtual, live, or hybrid.
  2. Defined ROI metrics. Although attending events in a virtual setting have become much easier for many individuals, it is a pain point for exhibitors. Some exhibitors are not seeing the value in this change and therefore are choosing not to virtually exhibit at tradeshows. This will ultimately change once the marketing professionals get a hold of the field marketing and or trade shows because there is huge value in the digital world for marketers. What this also means is that they will accurately be able to measure their return on marketing investment which is what unfortunately how most marketing professionals are graded. A virtual event will give them the ability to truly measure their success at events. This is a true defining point for the trade show and event industry as if return on marketing investment is not delivered it could spell Doom for our industry.
  3. Micro segments. With the virtual event world saturated with numerous events, some large live events may see their numbers plummet. Ultimately what this means is event organizers need to accurately strategize on micro segments that could become micro events. As we mentioned in the previous bullet points, understanding those that attend virtually and those that are willing to attend live is crucial in determining the next steps for micro events and ultimately your larger tradeshow. This can become a huge asset for show organizers as putting on multiple virtual events is much easier than putting on the live events. Now this is not me saying we should get rid of live events by any means as I am a huge fan of live events, what this does mean is that we need to understand that some attendees simply cannot either afford or do not want to attend live events and virtual is their best option.
  4. Localization. For years we have been preaching and have been huge proponents of more niche localized events. Once we understand our target segments, micro segments, we can focus on the locations of these segments and truly deliver a hyper personalized event. From experience I can tell you exhibitors will pay top dollar to target specific leads from specific segments and micro segments as well as location. If we think about this, marketing professionals are already doing this in their ad spend and retargeting spend. So now this pandemic has given us the opportunity to be able to justify easily events to the marketing professionals.

 

Wrapping it up

Live events will come back, we are a resilient industry. What they will look like remains to be determined. Virtual events are not going anywhere and we need to fully embrace them. How we embrace them what we measure from them and ultimately what we utilize them for will help determine and drive future sustainable growth for all of event professionals.

 

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