Learn how different types of events, exhibitors, and attendees help dictate the best data to gather and share with your audience, as well as the potential ramifications of the European Union’s new GDPR privacy law.
The concept of “big data” and leveraging attendee information at events is now an established practice at many meetings, conferences, and trade shows. Yet the sheer amount of data available to show managers through various technologies can be overwhelming. How do you determine your data requirements for an event to ensure everyone enjoys better ROI and comes away with the best information possible?
Understanding the Big Picture
Planning ahead is vital to identifying your data requirements for an event. Consider the fact event planners not only have to put the tools in place to gather the data but share the data in a digestible format and on time.
Is attendee behavior for internal use the main objective or do you have exhibitors expecting tangible data to use for their own lead generation? Mapping out what’s happening at the event and what parties are involved—such as presenters, sponsor, or exhibitors—gives hosts a better conceptual idea of what data may be required to improve the attendee experience and give other parties the information they crave.
The Ramifications of GDPR
Handling personal data requires the utmost care. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a relatively new European Union privacy law implemented in May 2018. The law not only applies to organizations registered in the EU, but to any organization that processes or monitors personal data of EU residents.
While specific criteria must be met to require compliance, many organizations based in the United States and elsewhere will also be impacted by the new law and must plan accordingly. New requirements include the encryption of personal data such as contact info, IP addresses, and information such as race and sexual orientation, as well as regular testing of policies related to data security.
Attendee Behavior and Preferences
Virtually every event stands to gain from an emphasis on gathering attendee data. As the show manager, are you responsible for meals or entertainment? Simple surveys to better understand dietary preferences and other criteria can go a long way to tailoring the event experience to your attendees. Is your event driven by the quality of its sessions? Data such as speaker and session ratings—often available via a mobile event app—gives attendees a voice and hosts the data needed to improve next year’s event.
Attendee behavior at the event is also an important consideration. RFID technology, for instance, can give event hosts details on how long attendees stay in a session or other areas of the event space to better understand what was most engaging. Social media activity can also be monitored to see what sessions are being shared the most and other trending topics.
Trade Shows and Exhibitors
Tracking the behavior of attendees is especially important when various exhibitors are hoping to showcase their products or services to a captive audience. Using badge scanners to swipe lead information and beacon technology to track the proximity of attendees to a given booth are two prime examples of useful data at trade shows and other events with exhibit halls.
Tracking Your Own Event Metrics
Show managers aren’t gathering data solely to share with exhibitors and other parties. Are you planning to run a promotion during the event? Certain technology vendors can enable hosts to track engagement and revenue numbers in real time as attendees sign up for a new service, buy a product, or simply register for more information.
Leveraging Data after the Event
Using data in real-time during the event to improve everyone’s experience is one piece of the puzzle. Show managers must also consider how they plan to parse the vast amounts of collected data after the event to draw their own conclusions and share with appropriate parties.
Do you have a plan in place to streamline the collection and organization of data in a digestible format to share with your sponsors and exhibitors? Can you enhance and score the data to make it more actionable and ensure maximum ROI? The right technology tools help automate these processes and present a much clearer picture than relying on human labor alone.
The Bottom Line
Today’s data-driven landscape offers countless options for collecting data. Companies and organizations must identify data that makes the most sense for their particular event and implement tools to both gather and organize the data for every unique use case.