The role of data in marketing is more important than ever. Simplicity in both collecting and accessing customer data has enabled marketers to leverage it to drive and measure campaigns. Data, when used correctly, can provide invaluable insights that can maximize investments—making it an important part in any marketing event strategy.
Events can create meaningful touchpoints with clients, key prospects and potential partners – accelerating the sales cycle and building lasting relationships. Too often, the planning process is ruled by archaic practices, with little to no incorporation of data. While many marketers use data analysis in their digital and direct marketing campaigns, they lag when it comes to applying it to their event strategy.
Putting a greater emphasis on collecting, analyzing and leveraging data at events is a simple yet effective way to maximize this investment. Incorporating data-driven practices into the traditional event management process can be quite seamless.
Here are four simple but powerful ways data can play an impactful role in event marketing:
Reference data to create targeted pre-event emails
Event attendees shouldn’t be treated as one generic group. What may be fitting for one person on the list may be completely irrelevant for another. That’s why targeted outreach tends to resonate better than generic content. Data plays a key role in creating a targeted content strategy prior to an event. Referencing background information on each attendee, marketers can tag invited guests to better target them with pre-event content. If this information isn’t on file, professional networks such as LinkedIn can be a helpful resource. Using data to segment the full attendee list into categories allows for easy, targeted outreach that is likely to have more impact.
Collect data on-site to inform post-event follow-up
The ability to use data is directly proportionate to one’s ability to access it. Events, because they create settings for face to face engagement, are a prime opportunity to collect data. Even the simplest data collection can prove beneficial. Hosts can, for example, record detailed notes from their conversations with event attendees, which can be used to better tailor follow-up content. Customized and personalized follow-up has a much stronger impact on event attendees and is worth the extra step of recording notes. Today’s technology makes it even easier to record notes (via voice) that can be appended to your attendee’s profile.
Use post-event survey results to fuel future event production
Surveys are not only a great follow-up tool, but a window into the minds of event attendees. Using surveys post-event enables marketers to gather important information from a defined target audience on their impression of the event. Typically, surveys should be formatted as multiple choice with the opportunity for a write-in. When respondents are able to answer with ease, they are more likely to participate. The data collected in the survey should be analyzed and cross-referenced with other key metrics such as sales, leads and prospects. This information should be used to power production of any future events, such as tweaking event invite lists, defining event topics, and developing more strategic talking points.
Track RSVPs as a dataset
Arguably one of the most tedious aspects of hosting an event is managing the RSVP list. From populating an invitation list to managing responses and on-site check-ins, the process requires careful organization and typically many man hours. Some may be surprised to find that the process also holds key insights for any data-driven marketer. Treating an invite list as an important dataset can have a profound effect on the event management process. Closely tracking responses as metrics allows marketers to gain insight into which invites are attending, who responded “yes” but did not show and who did not RSVP but showed up anyway. All of this data can be harnessed for future events to draft more targeted, effective invite lists, prepare for unaccounted guests, identify any significant sales traction and better allocate event budgets.
Matt Engel is CEO of Attend.