by Esther Chung
Interactions with prospects and customers before, during, and after an event don’t just offer a chance for engagement, but also a unique opportunity to further customize your follow-up, communications, and their next event experience, which in turn helps accelerate impact, velocity, and conversion.
The problem? More often than not, event data is either being forgotten, spread out amongst several tools, or being inputted manually and inaccurately. Event data is powerful, but you only unlock the full power of event data when it’s seamlessly connected to the rest of your business systems.
And we at Splash aren’t the only ones who know it. Today’s most successful event marketers—we call them Event Optimizers—integrate event data across multiple customer and prospect touchpoints, including sales and marketing because, for them, events aren’t just a point in time—they are a catalyst to accelerating the buying journey, customer lifecycle, and long-term relationships.
Are you ready to connect your event data? Here’s how it’ll unlock the full potential of your event program:
Empower your team(s) with real-time data
When everyone across your organization has access to event data in real-time, collaboration and communication improve internally and externally.
Connecting your event data to your other systems allows you to leverage crucial information about your events immediately. This is critical for anyone managing the on-site experience (e.g., notifying a sales member of a VIP who just checked in), but it’s also useful for sales and support teams who often benefit the most from instant access to customer and prospect information (e.g., when a prospect RSVPs, changes are reflected immediately in a CRM or marketing automation platform).
With this data, your teams can not only make better decisions but faster ones, too. Sales can use real-time data to inform timely and relevant outreach, customer teams can use it to build better relationships, and marketing can use it for personalized post-event follow up.
Measure your impact
Understanding event performance requires more than just top-of-funnel metrics. If you need to know how your event program impacts larger marketing and sales goals, your organization must think about event data in a much broader context.
That means pushing relevant event data into your marketing dashboards, making it possible to draw insights like how many new opportunities an event generated or the dollar amount of open sales pipeline in the room. That’s when the magic happens—when you can consider customer and prospect engagement across every channel, events included.
And it’s not just about measurement—as your insights deepen, your team will be able to connect the dots to quantify an event’s ROI and build a powerful business case for any future event initiative (hello more budget and headcount!).
Throw even better events
Events are often evaluated with superficial and subjective criteria—like how busy it was, or whether an executive was able to connect with a coveted prospect. These anecdotes are nice, but they won’t move the needle.
The beauty of an integrated data system isn’t just in defining wins, but also in identifying opportunities for improvement. Once an organization can calculate an event’s ROI, marketers should not only scale those that prove successful, they should also course-correct events that produce less-than-stellar results.
Remember: without analysis, data is just a pile of information. But when you know what to do with it, data becomes your most powerful marketing weapon.
Rest easy knowing your data is accurate
For many event marketers, data syncing means manually importing valuable information into their preferred CRM, which leaves a lot of room for errors. Especially if you don’t use event technology to capture this data easily, you and your team could be relying on manually adding data from paper registration lists, badges, or stray business cards.
This method may work initially, but as an organization grows, the process can become a logistical nightmare. When you integrate your event data, it reduces the risk of human error thwarting your efforts, since it’s being automated.
Eliminate manual processes
This is most apparent for teams who still waste hours on manual data management, grappling with a combination of Google docs, business cards, and Excel spreadsheets after every event to ensure their data is up to snuff. In reality, the time they spend plugging this data into their CRMs could be better spent working on initiatives that automation can’t solve. When you remove manual data management from the equation, your team can invest their time on what really matters: leveraging insights to improve the guest experience.
Ensure compliance and security
As security and privacy concerns continue to grow and more regulations (e.g., GDPR) are put into place, your organization’s ability to provide transparency around the customer and prospect experience is more important than ever. And getting in front of your event data management now will equip your team to handle many of the upcoming data restrictions headed our way.
From this standpoint, the ultimate benefit of an integrated system is being able to call one place your data source of truth. This makes it easier to not only control your data but also provide accurate and up-to-date information on the data you’re collecting—and as consumers become savvier about the way their information is used, they’ll expect brands to leverage it in meaningful ways to customize their experience.
Scale your event program
Manual workflows and data black holes don’t scale.
To grow an event program at scale, you must be able to automate processes and workflows, predictably report on performance, and turn event data into actionable insights that prove ROI and empower your team to invest in what works.
In the end, automating and integrating event processes with your other core business platforms allows your event program, business, and team to grow.