We feel glorious. We have powerful onsite engagement apps, all-inclusive event management software, and multiple digital solutions to puzzling planning challenges. The only struggle we have revolves around finding the best event technology on the market.
Obviously, you want to choose one that includes online registration, ticketing, email marketing, and other fancy-sounding wizardry that promises to “skyrocket” the ROI of your event. We all strive to run memorable events, facilitate networking experiences, encourage knowledge transfer, and fire up business collaborations, and to achieve these goals, we need powerful planning tools.
However, this event technology rush prevents us from understanding the real potential that resides beneath the logistic and event marketing features. That’s why it’s time to gather around the campfire and talk about event intelligence, an attendee-centered concept through which we can rethink the event management and marketing processes.
What is event intelligence?
Compared to meeting technology, event intelligence refers to actionable data analysis that can help professionals in their tactical decision-making process. According to a Skift article, “Event intelligence must be built upon the foundation of robust operational intelligence, or the processes, reporting and accountability tied to the deliverables involving areas such as compliance, and budget and vendor management, among others.”
As mentioned in the same article, thanks to the revolution of meeting technology, planners can capture more event intelligence, “including digital bread crumbs pertaining to the attendee experience, preference, interest, desire, and behavior.”
In other words, event intelligence describes the technology-driven mechanism of collecting data and generating actionable roadmaps to help professionals make informed planning and event marketing decisions, while focused on attendees’ needs and interests.
The strategic value of event intelligence
According to Julius Solaris, if a planner or event coordinator was able to solely focus on execution in the past, nowadays this is impossible. As Solaris argues, “Events have become even more complex bundles of troubles waiting to happen. Technology and lately increasing security threats are just some of the late additions to a growing list of contingencies an event professional has to take care of.”
Subsequently, without a strategic vision, “most elements of the event planning process will inevitably be compromised.” Considering this context, event intelligence can provide a smart planning ecosystem that aliments professionals with the right knowledge to foresee the possible outcomes of their actions.
Let’s say that your intention is to plan a B2B matchmaking event and generate multiple business opportunities for your attendees.
A general planning setup will provide you with the necessary tools to execute the matchmaking and wait for the meetings between your guests to happen—nothing out of the ordinary. You have a task, you identify the steps you need to take, and you execute.
Event intelligence, instead, can offer you a different perspective, and provide the necessary data you need to run a truly engaging and powerful event. Before starting to plan the B2B matchmaking event, you can design the following strategic approach:
- Step #1: Identify the high-quality attendees that can add real value.
- Step #2: Design a marketing campaign to attract these valuable guests.
- Step #3: Achieve a higher degree of compatibility between the offer and demand.
- Step #4: Reduce the stress and uncertainty factors.
- Step #5: Collect and analyze the event results (number of meetings, post-event business opportunities, etc.).
As you can understand, event intelligence empowers execution with a preemptive plan based on strategy and smart decisions. Obviously, you need a technology-driven system that can give you this degree of tactical planning.
How can you benefit from event intelligence?
Although not rooted in the planning philosophy, event intelligence gradually grows as a concept, offering valuable insights about the future of the meeting industry. That’s why it’s so important to acknowledge its emergence as a natural derivative of the complex event technology and planning mechanisms we are seeing on the market.
However, although we’re not quite there yet, here are a few ideas you can use to benefit from event intelligence:
Benefit #1. Design attendee-centric experiences
One of the future conditions for success is the mass personalization of the event guest’s experience and journey. As Greg Oates, the executive editor of the SkiftX brand strategy group, specifies, “The next generation of conferences are evolving as multidisciplinary, experiential marketing platforms to better personalize the learning and networking options for attendees.”
From a tactical planning perspective, event intelligence can help you understand the attendees’ motivations. This can influence the event programming diversification and richness. For example, by designing different guest profiles, you can determine the goals they want to achieve by attending your event. Subsequently, you can set up a customized schedule for every type of attendee, this way personalizing their experience.
Benefit #2. Redefine and refine your event marketing strategies
An efficient digital planning ecosystem can provide the necessary tools to diversify your event marketing campaigns. From creating influencer-targeted content to account base marketing, event intelligence encapsulates the knowledge and steps a professional must take to refine the marketing strategy, aligning it with the attendees’ needs, interests, and motivations.
Moreover, when adapting and using the right event planning tools, you can easily take one step forward and shift the power to attendee advocacy. By doing so, you’ll gain your guests’ trust, transforming your event into an influential brand.
Benefit #3. Improve operational intelligence
The way professionals plan events is constantly changing. However, the only pursued direction is absolute efficiency, sustainability, and memorability. When transforming the logistics and marketing processes into constituent parts of a bigger process, planners gain a greater vision of what can be changed, improved, or enhanced.
Benefit #4. Use data to rethink the attendee journey
Connect the attendees with the event environment itself in a way that’s relevant and useful for them. An intelligent digital ecosystem and event intelligence are enough to help you redesign the entire attendee journey and transform it into a memorable experience.
Benefit #5. Increase the levels of accountability
As mentioned in the white paper “Designing Your Metrics Road Map” published by Freeman, “At the end of the day, data may be one of a company’s most valuable assets. But for this data to have value to event organizers, they must be able to monetize the insights generated.” That’s why event intelligence is not just about strategizing and executing—it can also refer to collecting relevant data to evaluate the event ROI.
Although still new, the concept of event intelligence may redefine the way we design, plan, and run events. From customizing event experiences to increasing the accountability and rethinking the attendee journey, event intelligence will play a key role in redefining the meeting industry.