Trends, technology, and preferences in the events industry change fast. If you're planning events based on research from even a couple of years ago, you may be behind the curve.
Those are among the key findings from EXHIBITOR's most recent Marketing Technology Survey report. Respondents plan to invest more this year across a range of technologies from geofencing/RFID to digital signage (the survey didn't inquire about core event management platforms but rather focused on ancillary technologies that expand upon those).
Asked, "when making decisions as an event planner, how do you balance experience and intuition versus the use of data?," members of the Women in Event Tech community noted that while data is indispensable to understanding what's worked and what hasn't in the past, experience and intuition are vital when designing new experiences.
As Corey Fennessy puts it:
If you're trying new things (which you should always be doing!), then there won't necessarily be historical data to help guide you.. Another way to look at data is spotting how people have reacted to something in the past, and then using that to come up with something that you've never done before!
Kahshanna Evans warns against:
"Generalizing data or creating marketing suicide by over-comparing competitors who have succeeded in being industry leaders." And most helpfully, Donella Muzik observes that "Ideas themselves are easy—honing in on the 'right' ideas is the hard part. Data helps refine brainstorming and reduce risk."
The best event planners have an appreciation for event data—all the ways it can be collected, used to improve operations and measure event value, and integrated with corporate CRM and marketing automation platforms—as well as its limitations. They know how to combine an understanding of event data with their own background and intuition to design new event experiences that have a high likelihood of delighting attendees.
Here are the the specific responses from seven expert women in event technology:
I look at everything together (experience, gut feeling, data), along with the problem/challenge I’m trying to solve for, in order to make the best decision possible.
Dahlia El Gazzar
Data will always tell you what kind of experiences to design, who it's for, and what the goal or purpose is. Event planners should also work on intuition so they are always designing new experiences that will surprise and delight their stakeholders. It is a constant balancing act, and yet, I would say as an event planner, going with your gut feeling for doing something "new" and not backed up by data is how new experiences get created, and imitated. :)
LinkedIn Creative Director, DAHLIA+ Agency
Experience and intuition go hand and hand with data when making decisions. However, I think that some decisions go beyond data about what's happened in the past. If you're trying new things (which you should always be doing!), then there won't necessarily be historical data to help guide you.
Part of your experience and intuition needs to be knowing when to listen to data, and when to go beyond and take a risk. Another way to look at data is spotting how people have reacted to something in the past, and then using that to come up with something that you've never done before!
Always take into account that no matter how awesome something is, you'll always have the critics—don't let them be your only data set.
Balancing experience and intuition versus the use of data is seemingly impossible unless we consider sentiment, which is highly debatable but invaluable information to innovate, delight, and successfully grow a brand or achieve its goal.
Being flexible and taking a hybrid approach is a winning formula. That allows a more tactical S.W.O.T. assessment of the event goals in order to aim for the sweet spot which should, ultimately, focus on guests, brand, and partners.
As a MarComm and event strategist, it's important to keep helpful data at the center of an event or event series. It's also just as important to consider the entire brand ecosystem that contributes to its success, though. Without managing expectations based on a brand's ecosystem, data can become more of an obstacle and an excuse to avoid change than a resource to create magic worthy of rinsing and repeating.
Avoid generalizing data or creating marketing suicide by over-comparing competitors who have succeeded in being industry leaders. Have a brand-crush but avoid the pitfalls of the distraction. Not only does that have its limits, but it's more fun to center on the team and resources that have a brand at the brink of their own greatnes
Events are often the single biggest line item in corporate marketing budgets, with most organizations allocating between 20% and 50% of their total marketing spend on events. The events team typically accounts for about 25% of total marketing staff. And nearly two-thirds of companies plan to increase their events budget in the coming year. But while corporate marketing leaders see value in events, many still aren't managing their teams in an optimal way. When asked the question:
One of the top challenges event professionals face is finding time for continual learning. The events industry is fast-moving and constantly changing, so it's vital event pros keep their knowledge current.
We are in the third decade of a modern gold rush to mine corporate data. As multidimensional data analysis (MDA) continues to accelerate, the hunt has intensified to find new “seams” to explore.
The term "point solution" sounds actionable and positive. In practice, however, it can be the primary cause of a fragmented event marketing program. Hiring multiple agencies to fix unrelated issues can soon disintegrate into a scenario that resembles a really bad game of whackamole.
We'd to take a closer look at these pesky stand-alone solutions, how they hinder instead of help the agencies that work on your business of event marketing, and why enterprise-wide technology systems in your event marketing department can overcome the problem.
This article originally appeared in Corporate Event News:
This article originally appeared in Corporate Event News:
Make your guests feel welcome and engaged through the decor, content, food, music, and the excitement. For instance, you could greet each guest with personalized swag at registration. Another tactic is to have a photo-booth or picture background where attendees can take pictures or record video to share on social media.