Sponsored by Aventri
Event intelligence is the latest buzzword in the meeting and event industry, and there are a lot of questions surrounding the topic, such as how exactly it helps planners and marketers, what technologies come into play, and even what event intelligence is.
The answers may surprise you—in the sense that today's planners or field marketers may have already laid the groundwork for event intelligence (and may not even know it), and all they need for planning even more successful meetings and events is the right technology provider to help them determine their goals, find the right tools, and harness all that compelling data.
In this article, to shed some light on event intelligence, Steve Yellen, Aventri's vice-president of product strategy, outlines what event intelligence is, which event organizers should harness its power, and how they can go about implementing it.
What exactly is event intelligence?
Event intelligence is information collected from an event that gives the organizer insight into what happened at the event—how it went, what the attendees did, etc. Ultimately, that information can be used to determine whether the event met its goals and delivered value for the organizer.
The technology used to capture all that information can include a mix of event management software, mobile apps, smart tags or other beacons, and more. It really depends: The type of event determines the right combination of technology for fully putting event intelligence to use.
Is event intelligence a new concept for the meeting and event industry?
The idea of capturing event data is not new, of course, but the latest technology makes the process so much easier to manage that it has led to naming the concept. A good comparison would be to website analytics: It's been around for years, but it's become more prevalent in recent years because of technology, making it more accessible and mainstream. As is the case with similar concepts, event intelligence has evolved to mainstream adoption in the industry.
How can event planners clear a path to event intelligence implementation?
Before event planners or field marketers can start implementing event intelligence, they need to first define their goals, which can differ depending on the type of event. A large user-conference's event intelligence needs are going to vary significantly from, say, a company's internal training event.
Planners need to think about setting up goals and objectives for their events, as well as the specific KPIs or the numbers they want to track. It's critical especially because most events—whether an annual conference or a seminar series—are recurring. The only way you can genuinely improve your events is by setting goals and metrics and then taking the time to measure against those numbers year after year (or event after event) to see where specific improvements can be made.
If a company doesn't first take those steps, event intelligence will be of lesser value because there's nothing to compare the numbers and data to. The goal-setting process can be straightforward. All you need are 2-3 goals. Write them down and then discuss those goals with your event's tech provider to determine what technology is best to measure and track them.
Putting on successful events comes down to what questions you want answered.
Which technologies come into play for capturing event intelligence?
After determining exactly what data they want to capture, the next question planners need to think about is how to capture the information they need.
For example, if you're planning an internal training meeting for your sales teams, you know the valuable and actionable insights can be found in the number of sessions they attend, which sessions they attend, and how long they spend in the sessions. Those are crucial for insights that you can take to Sales leadership, giving you the confidence to accurately say what percentage of their team attended all the sessions or who showed up late or left early, helping to provide clarity into attendee engagement and the event's overall value.
So you next ask what technologies can help you gain that type of insight. In this case, smart tags with session-tracking technology are a perfect solution, considering the technology can be applied even to external events, like a user conference, where you can track thousands of attendees going to speaker sessions, keynote speeches, or even one-on-one meetings. In that case, planners can figure out what their attendees are interested in or what session topics or speakers were popular at their event to help them streamline their program next year.
In short, your event technology provider can and should help you determine exactly what technology will be the most effective in helping you reach your goals.
What should planners look for in a good event-intelligence provider?
A good provider won't try to sell you its product without knowing your goals first. A good provider will ask planners questions to determine what exactly they're trying to achieve. It's only then that the provider will talk about the technologies that will help solve their problems and get their critical questions answered.
You should see your solution provider as a consultant and partner who will take the time to walk you through the process in order to implement event intelligence technology successfully.
Are event intelligence technologies already prevalent today, and where is it all going?
Event intelligence is probably more prevalent and basic than you realize. It's not just hardware technologies; the digital journey attendees take online, such as registration, engaging with marketing emails, visiting event websites, completing surveys, etc., are also important.
When an attendee selects sessions to attend after receiving an event-related email, that indicates intent, including what the attendee wants to learn about at the event. When attendees go onsite and check in for just a one-day pass or stay for all three days, or if staff scanned their badge at an exhibit hall booth or speaking session, that's all actionable event intelligence.
There's a lot going on the background related to event intelligence that event planners don't realize they can capture as data.
As for the future, there's definitely a maturity curve to event intelligence. More and more technologies are emerging every day and becoming more available and affordable. Events of all shapes and sizes can now capture event intelligence.
It's all about determining your goals, finding a technology provider that works for you, and creating a pathway to get to where you want to be.