Milestone Event Trend #4 – Data Fuelled Change

Technology is providing us with richer and richer ways to capture event data. Mobile event apps can shed light on attendees’ sentiment around an event, social activity, specific feedback, what time of day attendees are interacting with your event, which content people find most useful, who your influencers are and a plethora of other useful information. All of this allows organizers to make on-the-spot changes and decisions that can dramatically improve their event.

Another form of data collection that’s equally as powerful but perhaps a bit less shiny is on-the-ground conversations. An example of this is dispersing a team of people responsible for physically talking to attendees with the goal of getting insights.

The challenge that many planners of events have is that data is abundant, but little time, if any, is invested to analyze the it and use it to fuel new ideas. This is a fundamental problem because attendees are fickle and they can choose from thousands of events to attend. We need to understand our attendees in order to build experiences that’ll get them attending and excited.

A fundamental shift that needs to happen is data-fuelled change – using data to shift the future event experience.

Recently, we were asked to consult an association who wanted to improve their events in preparation for their 30th anniversary. Year after year they had done a massive tradeshow at a big conference facility, which they were certain had been a big success. To set the groundwork for our recommendations, we suggested polling association members who would be attending an upcoming event. We had staff roam the floor and ask people 7 quick and compelling questions. The results were unexpected. The association learned that members didn’t want a massive, 2,000 person event. They wanted intimacy and they wanted better ways to connect with other members. Based on these insights we were able to suggest a new event concept that included a celebration for 300 people along with a matchmaking event for clients & suppliers.

Colin Powell said, “Experts often possess more data than judgement.” Step 1 is collecting the data, but the critical next step is taking the time to understand it to influence change.


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