Report: Event Planners See Value of Grabbing Data, Struggle to Take Action

A new report from Cvent shows that event planners are interested in using data in a more sophisticated way, but they struggle to either collect or use the information in ways that go beyond the surface.

Your attendees represent an important story to be told about your event, as well as an effective way to make that event better. But if you’re not properly leveraging data the right way, it could be a missed opportunity.

The Power of Live Event Data, a recent report from Cvent [registration required], noted that more than 80 percent of event planners are aware of the importance of gathering event data. The problem is that just 20 percent of organizations say they do a good job integrating such data in an effective way—failing to use the data to create attendee profiles or tracking what attendees do during the event.

“The findings from The Power of Live Event Data clearly show the event industry’s intense interest in using technology to capture and analyze attendee data,” the report states. “But it also shows there is a knowledge and implementation gap.”

Among the key points from the survey of more than 600 event producers:

Data doesn’t go much further than contact info. According to the report, three-quarters of respondents felt they were missing out on building or using full attendee prospect profiles. The report found that 88 percent of respondents acquired attendees’ full contact information, but just 61 percent asked for industry sector or segment, and many organizations failed to go beyond those two data points. Just 22 percent of respondents, for example, said they asked attendees to share their social media handles, and only 24 percent asked about event session preferences.

Data collection hasn’t moved beyond the traditional. Whether onsite or off, event planners are largely sticking to tried-and-true approaches to gather data about their attendees, including registration questions before the event (used by 73 percent of respondents), traditional registration desks during the event (71 percent), and event feedback forms after the event (83 percent). At the event, more sophisticated methods, like QR code scanning, live polling, beacons, RFID wearables, and heat mapping, were each used by less than 15 percent of respondents. Just 4 percent used beacons.

Data use is largely focused on present and future events. For the most part, event planners are using data gathered during the event to focus on future event planning (67 percent of respondents), measuring the success of the current event (66 percent), or future marketing (58 percent). More sophisticated uses, like sharing with partners or exhibitors, were more rare.

Overall, event planners said they were more effective at collecting event data (with about 60 percent rating their data-collection performance as effective or better, versus 50 percent rating their data use the same way).

But the survey made a point of highlighting that event planners struggled with the answers to more sophisticated questions, like what attendees do at events or how they let attendees offer feedback during events.

In a news release, Cvent Chief Marketing Officer Patrick Smith suggested that better tools could help close the gap between simple methods of data tracking and the more complex approaches that could be used.

“Having a better understanding of event audiences—and their interests and preferences—enables event producers to develop a more compelling program, produce a better experience, drive more attendance, and ultimately deliver a greater event ROI,” Smith said in the release.

(MATJAZ SLANIC/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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