Data Collection is big business. Like most people, there’s a good chance you’re seriously underestimating the wealth of data you can pull from an event.  It’s time to explore how data collection at events can mean accessing untapped potential in ROI, securing priceless information to help you make strategic decisions, and stepping-up audience engagement. 

Anybody contemplating a career change in 2020 has a wide range of options at his or her fingertips. Careers NZ lists a generous 400 job profiles to explore. The CareerPlanner website details a whopping 12,000 career paths.

Out of all the options, you’d be excused for mistaking a Computer Engineer as the cream of the crop profession (it was in the 90s, by the way).

No more. Harvard Business Review declared Data Scientist the sexiest job of the 21st century!

Surprised? You really shouldn’t be.

Data collection is BIG business. For corporations around the world, information and insight equates to power and money. Which is not necessarily as dirty as it may sound.

Because…  when used appropriately and ethically, it’s also the key to an unprecedented customer experience.

As people with a vested interest in eking out a living AND providing customers with the best possible experience, the benefit of collecting data is an utterly compelling thought.

So, I say it’s time to explore that idea and consider what data collection can mean for the Event Industry (and as a consequence to any business that builds on these events).

The juicy-sweet reward of capturing data at events 

The benefit of data capture during an event is three-fold:

  • Capturing data gives us invaluable insight into how delegates behave at events and value the experience. If attendees are delighted, we want to know; if they’re disgruntled, that’s important insight too.
  • Looking at it from the side of the event industry, it tells us where and when to make adjustments. It can make events safer and easier to navigate. Ultimately, the information helps us design even more impactful events.
  • For businesses, it’s pivotal information that allows them to make strategic decisions and polish their marketing pitch.

The result? Happier attendees, better events and a boost in ROI.  That’s a triple win in my book. And what’s not to like about that?

All the ways we can collect data at events…

On paper, we have some decidedly sci-fi gadgets available in the form of real-time heart-rate detection, facial expression analysis and heat mapping to detect venue hot-spots.

Thank goodness, the reality is more down-to earth.

Some obvious ways events can help gather data:

  • Registration is our chance to collect some basic information comprising demographics and contact details such as email address, job title, industry, age, location, etc.
  • Attendance stats will reveal insight into returning attendees vs. newbies.  Or whether a high proportion of registrations turn out to be no-shows?
  • Tracking engagement during live events in the form of a QR code or scan cards can show us what excites people or what’s yawn-provoking.  Also, it can tell us when to intervene with on-the-spot adjustments: Is there need for an extra sign-in booth? Where is it getting too crowded to be safe?
  • Happy attendees are returning attendees. Pre- and post-event surveys and polls are the barometer of event success.  They are the obvious tools to measure delegate satisfaction regarding the venue, the location, the food, the sessions, the activities, etc.

The treasure trove that is a virtual event

But here’s an interesting thought: if you thought live events were a gold mine for data collection, you haven’t considered the potential of virtual events!

As a matter of fact, virtual events are a game changer because it’s a breeze to track attendees.

Yes, attendees can use swipe batches during traditional events, but that relies entirely on participant buy-in.

During a virtual event, on the other hand, you know exactly at what point a viewer loses interest and stops watching. It can even tell you what they did instead.

You can consider this data analysed according to demographics (segmentation) and adjust on-the-spot if necessary. Time to throw in a little quiz? Or shall we delay our coffee break with half an hour? Maybe the second speaker isn’t as intriguing to a particular group as we thought?

Imagine the potential!

But just as exciting the promise of data gathering is during an event. It’s equally important to play it by the book and some more. Kiwi’s value their privacy. And so they should!

Let’s discuss the elephant in the room: Privacy and Data Collection at Events

We understand. It’s scary. 

So right off the bat, we want to say this: Aotearoa has some very clear guidelines outlined in the Privacy Act.  It sets out 12 principles for organisations to follow. This includes transparency about data collection and the reason it is collected. It requires suitable safeguarding as well as mandatory reports of any breaches. It also makes sure that New Zealanders’ information can’t be shared.

It’s very reassuring that the New Zealand Marketing Association publicly declares on their website that there seems to be a deep understanding with organisations in Aotearoa that nobody wins from inappropriate use of data. We wouldn’t expect anything less. 

At Auaha, we’re NOTHING like the giant data keepers such as Facebook. We are 100% transparent and place the safeguarding and ethical use of any data at the centre of our decisions. No short-cuts, no misuse, no excuses. 

So there… it needed to be said.

To cut a long story short…

Thanks to the nature of events, it’s hard to underestimate the ROI from the gleaning useful data capture during an event. Data that many businesses believe wouldn’t be available to them otherwise.

The bottom-line is that it gives businesses a deep understanding of their audience. It allows them to fine-tune their product and improve client engagement.  It also allows event organisers to make the next convention even more exciting! And we don’t misuse the data we gather.

We told you our focus is entirely on the win-win!

But at the same time, it’s also important to dare to pose the questions: Are we doing it right? What can we do better?

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