Still unsure of the benefits of data for events? Not sure what data to collect or how or where to start? It's time to take the #redpill. Let’s explore why it is critical to utilize data in your event strategy to improve your event ROI and overall experience for presenters and attendees. Welcome to the first in a series of posts all about event data. What to collect, how to collect and what to do with it once you’ve got it?Data. Does thinking about it make you start hyperventilating? Loads of data can be intimidating to us event professionals (we’re “people” people, not numbers people after all), but let’s get real—if we don't incorporate data into our strategic event planning, we're just making random guesses about what we think our audiences want… and that can only ever bring us mediocre results at best.
HP’s Global Event Manager Glenda Brungardt has noted, “A lot of times people collect data at events and it ends up in the bottom of the file drawer.” With the available tools and tech we now have at our fingertips, there’s no excuse not to get on that data train. Understanding what the data points are and how to use them is critical to our industry moving forward. So, where to start?
Before you start establishing KPIs, you’ll need to gain a clear understanding of what your company’s core priorities are. Figure out what the most important data points are for your company for a given event and let them be your starting point. Don’t try to get it all out of the gate.
Next, think about what data is available. Event data can come from a variety of sources, but that doesn’t mean you have to measure everything. Spend some time thinking about what data sources will add value to your events and start small. Doing so can help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.Some good places to start might include:
- Entry and exit data
- Pre and post event surveys and feedback
- Email and social media stats
- Audience profile data
The more data you compile, the more you will want to uncover – and that cyclical rhythm is the goal. Do attendees add sessions to their calendars and then remove them? Are there sessions that, for some reason, people decide they don't resonate with? Perhaps the title and abstract no longer strike chords with them as much once they added it. Noticing certain key actions as a part of the overall event timeline can reveal some interesting and rewarding behavioral stats on your audience.
Want more data collection ideas? Download our Event Data Checklist!
Subscribe to our Blog to get Part Two of our Event Data series where we dive deep into developing your event personas.