CEO and Co-Founder, EventsCase, Jose Bort, explains why clever use of data should see the end of event feedback surveys.
It’s taken a few years, but we’re starting to move away from a period where guesswork crept into key decisions around marketing, agendas, features and improvements. Without the data and – perhaps more importantly – the technology to gather and make sense of it, experience and intuition had a habit of leading the way.
Fast-forward to 2019 and concepts like ‘big data’ are being welcomed with open arms. By pulling vast quantities of information from all the interactions with our apps and websites, it’s possible to shape our events around facets of the attendee experience.
A notable casualty of the transition from old to new is the humble feedback form. It’s almost instinctive to have delegates voice their praise and concerns at the end of an event. Yet, when considering questions like ‘Who was your favourite speaker?’ and ‘What would you like to see?’, we have to consider their role in a new era of predictive analytics.
For example, QR-code scanning allows us to put hard figures on the number of people attending keynotes, workshops and networking sessions. On mobile apps with built-in calendars for pre-saving sessions and meetings, we can determine the most popular speakers and influencers by looking into page traffic and bookmarks.
These same apps use push notifications as a way of forging a direct line of communication with each attendee. ‘How did you rate the last session?’, ‘How was your lunch?’, ‘How many contacts have you made today?’. By continuously asking questions at relevant points, we are catching people in the best frame of mind.
Marketing attribution is slightly different. Many channels offer a clear view of ROI – in this instance the strategies that drove ticket sales, website traffic and app downloads. By tracking the source of conversion, we can expect fewer requests for ‘How did you hear about us?’.
As well as providing a new grade of insight, data from apps and on-site technologies are tackling the informational voids that affect us all. Our experience is that, out of 100 attendees that receive a feedback form, only 20 will complete it, which means 80% of our app users being completely ignored.
Through opt-in for data collection, events are able to gain a much wider view of people’s thoughts and preferences. The industry could actually do much worse than learning from retailers, who have grown to appreciate the value of data permissions in light of GDPR. Many apps require opt-in for user tracking as standard – a benefit that cannot be understated.
Data has the potential to revolutionise our industry, bringing new waves of personalisation to the attendee experience, and allowing more people to have their say. We don’t expect feedback surveys to die out tomorrow; there are still some things that a digit cannot express. What we hope is that events realise the value of their information, and take the leap into continuous learning, evaluation and improvement.