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Know Your Event Numbers, Grow Your Event Numbers: How to Use Data to Scale Your Events

Michael Burns |

Know Your Numbers-Grow Your Numbers-How to Use Data to Scale Your EventsThere’s an old business adage: 

You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Here’s one that takes this a bit further, something that event managers should think about:

You can’t grow your event numbers if you don’t know event numbers.

 

According to Intel’s event program manager for global event marketing Victor Torregoza: “We are living and working in a data-centric economy. That applies to us as consumers and it applies to us as individuals. On the event marketing side, when we are setting the strategy for a particular program, we look at several types of data. We look at data provided by the event, we look at data from our own research, and we tie all of that together to inform our strategy for the show. So it is the word, the topic of discussion—and it’s priceless.”

Collected, organized, and analyzed correctly, your event data can serve as a map that leads you to hidden event marketing treasures (a.k.a more participants, more leads, more sales).

“But I’m Not A Numbers Person”

Before diving deeper, here’s something to address the elephant in the room.

Numbers can be intimidating, overwhelming, and confusing. There’s a misconception that data-driven marketing is only for analytics experts and data scientists. However, this couldn’t be farther away from the truth. Even the most numbers-adverse event marketers can take advantage of data to scale their events.

This may sound unlikely, but it’s all about a change in mindset.

If event marketers see data as a swarm of numbers, then it’s going to be easy to get intimidated and more difficult to appreciate the practical application of data in their craft.

However, if they see event data as behaviors — how their target markets move, groove, feel, breathe, think, act — then the numbers become exciting, interesting, relevant, and useful.

Because really, that’s all what numbers are — the behaviors of people represented in a quantitative and measurable way.

How to Use Data to Scale Events

Now that that’s out of the way, here are 3 ways how you can use the data that you cull from your events and other marketing channels to scale your events.

1. Get Buy-in from Upper Management to Increase Your Event Budget

Research conducted by brand experience company Chief Marketer revealed that 47% of event marketers use data to justify their budget requests compared to 28% of brand marketers:

Bar chart highlighting how event data is used to improve event portfolios and experiences

 Image source

If you’ve been struggling to justify your event marketing/experiential marketing investment to your C-suite executives or board of directors, data is going to be your ally. Just like any business expense, you need to demonstrate ROI for your planned events. Not just possible ROI, but established ROI based on similar events you did in the past.

It comes as no surprise that 86% of event marketers agree that event data is important/very important in securing a healthy budget for their events this year:

Bar chart showing the importance of using event data to secure 2019 budgets

Image source

Having an event data tracking system allows you to set benchmarks and know for sure whether your events are helping your organization reach its goals. This is helpful whether you need to get an event marketing approved or if you approve the budget yourself. Validate why you need to continue funneling resources to your event marketing campaigns.

Proving that events are bringing in new prospects, leads, and sales will also make it easier to secure a bigger budget and thus scale your events.

2. Identify Potential Supply-Demand Gaps

For those who are in the business of organizing trade shows, this primarily involves selecting the right exhibitors. For other event marketers, it’s about how well the event content meets the expectations of the attendees.

There will be times when event marketers think they know what their target audience wants in an event, only to be proven wrong. What’s worse is not knowing what event content is not working and doing it repeatedly, causing event targets to not be met over and over.

Data-savvy event marketers realize the importance of knowing their event numbers in order to supply the event content that is in demand among attendees. In the same Chief Marketer survey mentioned above, a big percentage of event marketers use data to dictate their event planning and strategy, provide direction in terms of event design, and inform the selection of event elements and tactics.

Bar chart showing how event marketers use data to dictate their event planning and strategy

 Image source

3. Win More Sponsors

No event marketer is an island.

The more partners you have, the better. For instance, retaining the support of your past/current sponsors and getting the support of new ones is a great way to amplify your event’s reach. Sponsors also help bring down the cost your organization needs to shoulder in staging events.

Treat sponsors as investors. Similar to how you would convince your company’s upper management to allocate budget for your event marketing, you should pitch your events to possible sponsors by demonstrating the returns they will get with their investment utilizing solid data.

In a previous post, Aventri’s Taylor Shaw wrote: “It is always extremely helpful to put yourself in the position of the sponsor to anticipate the questions they will ask you. This will speed up the process and avoid unnecessary pitfalls and roadblocks. It can be helpful to see the sponsor as someone who is investing in your mission and event, rather than simply considering them a cash-cow.”

More specifically, you should demonstrate how your target attendees match their own target audience. You can only do this if you’ve been collecting demographics and psychographics information from your attendees and storing them in a CRM system.

Second, you should prove how your other sponsors have benefited from the partnership in terms of new leads and customers acquired.

Overall, the more sponsors you have, the more partners you get to share events-related expenses with. The less costly it is for your company to do events, the easier it is to make your events bigger, better, and more frequent.

There is Power in Numbers

While you can still mount successful events without having the data to know what went right, it’s not sustainable nor is it scalable. In fact, being able to execute an event that turned out to be successful without any data-driven strategy is called luck. There’s a chance you won’t be able to repeat that success.

Data is a necessity in modern-day event marketing. It takes the guesswork out of event planning and allows marketers to scale events by knowing exactly what tactics are moving the needle in terms of meeting the organization’s business objectives.

Harnessing the power of real-time data using smart tags and badges, and exporting the information into relevant apps and platforms through integration, is one of the emerging gold standards of events data management. Not sure how this could benefit your company? Contact us to learn more.

The Top 100 Meeting and Event Venues in the United States

This Post was Written by Michael Burns

Michael is the Chief Revenue Officer at Aventri.

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