The role and value of technology in events has been long debated. But for too long organisers have been asking the wrong questions
There’s the question of how technology can bring value to event participants. Lead management tools make exchanging business cards more efficient; show apps facilitate movement across the show floor and enable meeting scheduling between participants.
Then, there’s the question of how technology drives ROI to the organiser. Smarter digital marketing can enhance conversion and reduce the cost of attendee acquisition. Social registration can serve much the same purpose by harnessing pre-existing social communities and networks to freely market an event. Heat maps enable the organiser to track visitor flow which then informs floor planning and pricing strategies.
But these benefits are focused toward individual functionalities – ways to improve or streamline elements of show organisation and experience. This is not joined-up and is not the way for technology to support and transform events.
Today, event technology is implemented for its primary functionality such as printing visitor badges, but that functionality can and should be coordinated in a far more valuable data strategy. Organisers can access more intelligence about their event and their communities than ever before.
The potential for transformation comes from the insights that you can extract from the data gathered.
- What if you could measurably improve exhibitor retention by demonstrating ROI to exhibitors based on their own criteria?
- What if organisers could demonstrate to an exhibitor that they could have generated significantly more leads had they upgraded to a sponsorship package, or taken a 3-sided booth?
- What if you were able to pre-match buyers and sellers at the point of registration, using insight from social media and their behaviour at previous editions?
- What if you were able to implement an early-warning system for under-performing shows based on social media tracking and analysis?
- What if dynamic performance benchmarks enabled organisers to identify best practices across the show portfolio and disseminate them effectively?
- What if you could use predictive analytics to determine attendee behaviour and intention to return?
And this even leads to the question: what if events were charged per lead not per square metre?
We are excited about what some technology companies can bring to the industry and work with them to help organisers extract real value and insights from their data.
Watch this space for part 2 of our thoughts on how organisers should be harnessing the power of data.
For more information about our exhibitions and events experience please contact Florent Jarry , Head of Events Practice