The power of event data

Event data is my new best friend this year. We have to use technology to collect it and help us to use it.

Most Event Planners would agree that collecting data from their event is very important. In fact they’ve probably been saying that for years and most of them would have been collecting some data (although we probably called it “feedback”) since they started organising events. Traditionally we would rely on evaluation forms either filled it at the end of the event or a week or so after the event. And this all seemed pretty fine to us only but a few years ago.

Looking back maybe we were a bit bereft of data besides the feedback, attendee numbers and bottom line.

To be honest we were OK with it but now…..well that’s a different story. With falling attendance and revenue at many business events, and so much competition for our attendees, sponsors and exhibitors time we need more feedback, in fact we need much more information; we need data.

The problem with feedback – No 1. What do to with it?

“Feedback” was our default, it was what we’d always done. And it’s easy to see why. It was easy to replicate the questions on a paper questionnaire a few days (or hours) before our event and to simply print off some copies.

We wouldn’t be limiting this to attendees, we would be asking exhibitors, sponsors and maybe even asking our speakers. And we did what was expected, we tended to collect a lot of feedback; the problem was this wasn’t any real value in it. While running event departments and during most of many time consulting with harried event planners I saw them dealing with two very common situations:

1. post event they simply did not have time to spend looking at or using the data / feedback they had collected. They had already moved on to the next event; the production line had done its full cycle.

2. or, possible worse, they would spend hours creating post event reports that no-one would actually use!

A year or so ago I made myself initially unpopular with the event organiser at a show I spoke at (health warning when inviting me to speak at YOUR EVENT!) As soon as I took the stage I ripped up the delegate questionnaire (I later apologised for my bravado) but it did make the point to the 100 or so attendees.

Stop the meaningless and time consuming collection of this meaningless feedback. The quality of catering is not the type of feedback you want. Just stop it. In the end the organiser thanked me for a “very memorable session” – you can take this one of two ways…..

The problem with feedback – No 2. The method used to collect feedback?

As well as the data they were collecting the method was a problem too. Event Planners are too valuable to their organisation to be collecting feedback via paper. Check out my Blog on Automation to see in detail what I mean.

We have to use event technology to collect meaningful data. Technology deals with it so much more analytically than planners and pens can. The right platform can cross reference it. It is open for others to interpret and use. It slots it in to big data. It becomes truly meaningful. It points your creativity in the right direction. Data isn’t a four letter word. It should be your new best friend too!

Make a data with data

So when you look at the event technology you currently have, or are considering using, ask the provider:

– what data it collects and how can you use that data to improve the event? Also ask if

– the data it collects can support you in making creative decisions?

This should cover apps, bump technology, RFID badges and on line platforms. Every bit of event technology through the data it collects can help you be more creative. So make a date with the event tech you have and see what data is collects.