Please Answer Your Exhibitor Calls for Enhanced Event Analytics

What’s with the exhibitor push for enhanced event analytics? Should event organizers ignore these demands? Given these questionsI thought it was high time to get some insights from an international analytics expert.

Adam Malik has been my industry friend for many decades. He’s been with Clarion Events, Imago, and Reed Exhibitions (now RX), in addition to founding and operating several companies. At his latest venture, the Media CTO, Adam works with media and events businesses to drive Digital Transformation and create new business models, particularly digital events that are supported by new product and service designs. Adam has always been an ‘out of the box’ thinker, so uring a recent visit to London, I had the chance to chat with him about his work and how it relates to tradeshow customer demands for deeper analytics.

Warwick Davies (WD): What’s the basis of your knowledge regarding customer demands for enhanced analytics?

Adam Malik (AM): All the answers are informed by either real conversations with clients and their customers or by looking at and analyzing data we start to collate and interrogate; this is informing my answers and opinion. The overriding message I have is we need to start taking data seriously, whatever our approach.

WD: Exhibitors at events – both in person and online – are getting more specific and demanding about getting analytics for their marketing spend. What is behind this?

AM: At its core, exhibitors are seeking to understand their ROI. However, the trend goes beyond that. Exhibitors are increasingly utilizing sophisticated lead funnels within their organizations. Modern approaches to lead triaging, often involving automation and AI, require more data points and context to be effective.

For instance, exhibitors have requested the integration of lead capture engines with registration data. This stems from the broader trend of omnichannel acquisition, which ultimately provides valuable behavioral analytics for organizations.

Events in the B2B space have been a mysterious outlier in the omnichannel trend.

It’s important to remember that the pandemic’s effects are still fresh. Several former exhibitors in the digital tech space have reported minimal pipeline impacts resulting from the absence of live events.

Also, beyond the omnichannel trend, there is a recognition that customers want personalization, and you need relevant data to deliver this. A recent survey by Tillio Segment (available here) found that 62% of consumers say a brand will lose their loyalty if they provide an unpersonalized experience. So, exhibitors are looking for more data to feed these personalization engines.

WD:  Why are event producers reluctant to provide the data?

AM: Event producers do provide certain data, like the number of scans or attendees at sponsored sessions. However, supplying data without context and insight into how the event influences behavior to justify investment can be problematic.

Many organizers need to gain the knowledge to aggregate and package this data in a way that doesn’t violate privacy laws. The fragmented and underdeveloped event tech landscape further complicates matters.

There is another genuine concern by organizers: the potential for data misuse and the potential loss of competitive advantage by sharing too much information. These concerns are real and valid and need factoring into the design of models offering augmented information on event data.

WD: What will happen to events that don’t cater to the demand for more analytics in the future?

AM: Simply put, these events will lose their relevance in any omnichannel marketing strategy.

WD: If you were an event organizer, which analytics should you plan to provide, i.e., be able to produce quality data points that would help organizers sell more?

AM: The key is to demonstrate the value of live events in the omnichannel canvas through evidence-based metrics. This will justify the significant investments in terms of costs and resources.

Suppose organizers continue to provide only basic structured data, like contact information and scans. In that case, their clients will have no choice but to compare the value of a lead with other top-of-funnel activities. This comparison often favors something other than live events.

To shift the conversation, organizers should offer the following data points:
1. Intent data: Derived from behavioral signals and external services, this data indicates buying intent related to the event’s theme.
2. Engagement Scoring: A points-based system reflecting individual and team interactions with the event.
3. Information Exchange: A score indicating the extent of information exchanged around various topics/themes.
4. Organizational Maturity Score: A score assessing the maturity of an organization in adopting offered solutions.
5. Action Acceleration Score: A score measuring how the event has accelerated outcomes across the attending cohort.

By providing these data points, organizers can transition from focusing on top-of-funnel CPL to partnering with clients on how they can leverage the event as an accelerant in their omnichannel mix.

However, a word of caution: These data points are potentially new, and organizers must understand them with integrity before guiding their customers toward a new way of engaging with their event.

WD: Great stuff, Adam. I appreciate the insight. See you soon!

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