All relationships need communication. It is the lifeblood of how we function. One could say communication is the heart of events, where the purpose is to communicate to the world about your company’s products, share exciting new developments, train staff, and recognize outstanding performance.
Let’s talk about how data is the foundation for effective communication, and how successful events rely on collecting solid, comprehensive data.
The role of data starts in an event’s infancy. How data is organized determines how we are able to communicate with attendees, how we share information, and how customer experience plays out at registration. In short, it is the backbone to how every detail of an event is managed.
Your Registration Database
Understanding how to deliver the client’s needs during the event starts with understanding what data will need to be captured in the system during registration. Exclusive events can require pre-loaded data that affects an attendee’s first introduction to an event. Think of it this way: 800 pre-loaded registrants. Good data allows the registration process to go smoothly, maybe a handful of attendees email asking further questions/special requests. Bad data can make that handful of attendees become a dozen handfuls and you’re spending your time manually altering the data, replying to registrants and falling behind in your other tasks.
Registration requires data that is accurate. This data feeds into countless aspects of the event: seating charts, the creation of badges with multiple layers (perhaps you want to differentiate your speakers, sponsors and partners), and how you cater to that gluten-free lactose-free vegetarian. Data adds the opportunity to personalize the experience for the attendee (See Using data to personalize info below for more info).
Like good communication in a relationship, here are three top things good data will need:
1. Say what you mean:
- What does your data need to say? Do you need phone, address lines, title, who their account rep is, what their deployment plans are in the coming months? Remember, too many steps frustrate the participant in providing tons of unnecessary information. Think of where you can create a clean look by gathering the information needed for later in the event: breakout sessions and agenda building, F&B, accessibility requirements etc.
- One of the best features of a system is to have users build their profile so the next time they visit a registration site for one your events, their information automatically comes up versus forcing them to input it all again. This is a great opportunity for customer service and making things easy for your customers.
2. Use ”I” messages:
- Personalize your data and make it work for you. Ask questions that are relevant to the event and make your customer feel like you are talking directly to them. Then make sure that data is communicated with your marketing team.
3. Listen and build a strong foundation:
- Did the data collected help you understand your customer better? Were there other questions that would have been useful in the registration process? Building that strong foundation will help in creating best practices for data collection and management going forward.
Using data to personalize the attendee experience
You’ll hear and read a lot about personalizing the event experience in the upcoming months. It’s a hot new trend in events allowing you to customize attendees’ experiences. The opportunities are endless for connecting with your customers when you use data to personalize the event experience.
Let’s say you ask customers a question around their goals for implementing your product in the next months and what products they’re interested in. When it comes time for seating arrangements, that data can help you place a customer with similar customers who have implemented the same technology, and with your executives who can have the right conversations with that client.
What if you asked specific questions about menu preferences and then designed your breaks around customer favorites? Or ask customers what they value most from a conference facility: 1. Health club 2. Running or cycling routes 3. Restaurants 4. Shopping etc. Upon check in their badge insert lists all the elements they indicated are important to them.
See? The possibilities of good data are endless!