8 Reasons Why Your Event Management Should be Data-Driven

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Posted on December 19, 2023

8 Reasons Why Your Event Management Should be Data-Driven

Managing an event takes a lot of planning, coordination, and execution.

crowd of people sitting on chairs inside room

Modern events, in particular, have a lot of moving parts. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many events have moved online, adopting a hybrid or fully remote style. However, attendees have come to expect a more dynamic, personalized, and holistic eventing approach.

This adds extra work for event planners, who now need to consider more data-driven strategies to keep up with the changing landscape of event management. 

In this article, we’ll go into the benefits of utilizing data to create events that wow your attendees and exceed your organization’s goals. 

Why is data so important?

Collecting and analyzing data is integral to improvement. After all, how can you learn and grow if you don’t have all the information?

Event management is no different. Like any kind of data strategy, analysts can ETL data (extract, transform, and load) and mine it for actionable insights. 

When we say data-driven, we mean looking beyond just attendance numbers. The data you collect before, during, and after an event can give you an in-depth view of your entire event management strategy.

This data includes:

  • Number of attendees, as well as repeat attendees.
  • Where attendees are signing in from during virtual and hybrid events.
  • Session attendance.
  • Speaker popularity.
  • The types of questions asked during sessions.
  • Session timing.
  • Vendor preferences.
  • High-traffic areas.
  • Social media engagement.
  • Polling and survey responses.
  • App downloads.
  • Subscriptions and sign-ups.
  • Communication channel activity.
  • Leads generated.
  • Sales made.

Events contain a mass of data just waiting to be harnessed. This data holds a lot of value for you, your sponsors, and your speakers. 

8 Reasons Why Your Event Management Should be Data-Driven

There are numerous benefits to making data-driven decisions when managing your events. 

people in conference

So let’s get into it.

1. The data is real-time

All of this glorious data isn’t just useful after the fact. Streaming data (what is data streaming?) will pour in across your event’s lifecycle. 

Collecting and analyzing this real-time data allows you to make better decisions leading up to your event and adapt quickly to opportunities or roadblocks during your event. 

2. Historical data can tell you a lot

If this isn’t your first rodeo, you already have some data to help you improve your future event management strategies. 

Using historical event data like attendance, session and speaker popularity, vendor preferences, and attendee reactions on social media can help you plan your next event. 

For example, if lots of attendees of your last virtual event signed in from com au domains, you might have a substantial Australian audience. This data could be valuable to Australian brands for future sponsorships, or could encourage you to approach more Australian speakers. 

3. You can measure your success

Every event you manage has objectives – to spread brand visibility, collaborate with sponsors, improve sales, educate an audience, or create awareness for a cause.

person using laptop

Whatever your unique goals, collecting and analyzing data offers hard evidence to help you determine whether your event was a success.

For example, if one of your main objectives is to create brand awareness, you can utilize data transformation to mine social media engagement, newsletter sign-ups, new or upgraded subscriptions, products trialed, etc. to literally see how much your brand awareness has grown. 

Being able to pinpoint the successes and failures of each event allows you to adapt your next event to both capitalize on your strengths and shore up your weak points.

4. Keep things flowing smoothly during in-person events

For all your meticulous planning, some chaos is inevitable. You could be the most omnipotent event planner in all of history and still fall prey to people pile-ups and overcrowding.

Here comes data to the rescue once again. 

Heat mapping

Modern event management tools allow you to monitor high-traffic areas such as overcrowded sessions, long queues, or a busy dining room. 

Monitoring foot traffic can be done manually, via apps, or by utilizing wearables such as wristbands or name badges containing RFID trackers. Building a heat map based on real-time data can show you problem areas, allowing you to create swift solutions and keep things moving. 

For example, a vendor might have wandered off and be unaware that their booth is amassing a huge queue of impatient attendees. You can locate the vendor and let them know. 

If your dining room has a large red cloud around the service area, there might not be enough food or staff might be low. Once you’re aware, you can mobilize a solution.

Adding additional sessions

Both attendee monitoring and heat mapping can show you where the most popular sessions are. 

If a session is overbooked and still amassing a queue, you can schedule a repeat of that session. 

Knowing which sessions are popular also allows you to factor that in for your next event. 

Better communication

Events are crowded and bustling, and getting important information to everyone can be challenging.

Being able to monitor data in real-time allows you to react to problems as they happen. Having open communication channels like direct messaging or a VoIP business phone system between you and your attendees allows you to get those messages out quickly. 

For example, if a speaker has to cancel at the last minute, your attendees need to know ASAP. You can ask all attendees to download your official event app or follow your event on social media so you can communicate this information instantly. 

This has the added benefit of improving engagement, as apps, and social media follows, allow you access to more data.

5. Create better event engagement

An event is nothing without engagement.

black and silver laptop computer on brown wooden table

You can monitor and create engagement in a few ways:

  • Analyzing social media engagement throughout the event to determine session popularity, speaker engagement, negative sentiment, and general satisfaction with your event.
  • Encouraging attendees to post user-generated content about your event on social media, such as photos, videos, and testimonials. 
  • Offering polls and surveys to allow attendees a say in certain things, such as what kinds of topics they’d like to see a speaker address.
  • Allowing attendees to ask their favorite speakers questions without having to queue up during a session.
  • Offering polls and surveys to gather attendee feedback on sessions they’ve attended. 
  • Asking attendees to rate their favorite sessions and vendors.

Monitoring your engagement gives you an idea of how much attendees are invested in your event. Creating engagement gets the word out, lets attendees feel heard, and helps you plan an even better event next time.

6. Create better sponsorship opportunities

Sponsorships benefit your event in a number of ways.

people gathered inside Honda venue

Firstly, they bring in additional funding for your event. They also represent opportunities for collaboration and can help to attract new demographics to spread your brand awareness. 

Getting sponsors can be tricky, however. It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd, especially with popular brands that are in high demand. 

Sponsors want to see results; they want a guaranteed return on their investment. Data is the best evidence of results; it can prove that your event is worth the investment. 

Historical data such as your past events’ demographics, attendance, and repeat attendance can help sponsors see the market they stand to capture.

You can also show off your prowess at capturing data, offering to share it with sponsors. Real-time data like social media engagement, session attendance, and heat mapping can help sponsors adapt their own strategies. 

Sponsorships are about collaboration and joint ROI. When crafting proposals to potential sponsors, use data visualization to prove the value of your event. 

7. Attract high-quality speakers

Many people will attend an event to see and interact with speakers they enjoy. This means attracting high-quality speakers is important to attendance numbers.

Ideally, you want your speakers to be knowledgeable and interesting – not just there for a quick paycheck. But similarly to sponsors, speakers need a reason to attend your event. 

Using data, you can show potential speakers the kind of audience and numbers they’re likely to reach. 

8. Leverage your own apps and tools

As more and more events turned virtual (and then hybrid), apps and web pages became the norm for attendees.

This kind of online engagement became a great opportunity for data collection, since an attendee’s progress can be monitored throughout their entire event lifecycle–which sessions they attend, what purchases they make, how they communicate with other attendees, etc. 

In-person events can leverage apps in a similar way. Creating an official app for attendees to download gives you, your sponsors, your speakers, and your attendees an all-in-one platform for better event management. 

Allow attendees to schedule sessions, buy tickets, browse vendors, make purchases, see real-time updates, and communicate with speakers and other attendees. You can also use the app to track attendees throughout the event and deliver polls and surveys.

All that data works in both real-time and as historical data after the event. Make sure your data is stored in a unified warehouse for safekeeping.

Why your event management should be data-driven

Once your event is over, all that marvelous data becomes yours to pour over in preparation for the next one. 

people inside conference

Event management requires a huge amount of forethought and forward planning, and utilizing data can take the guesswork out of it. You can see what worked and what didn’t and use that to make data-driven decisions that create an even better event next time. 

Data-driven event management offers better attendee engagement, sponsorship opportunities, problem-solving, and overall event success.

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