Well maintained mailing lists are an event organiser’s most important asset. The ability to reach potential customers directly by email or via other direct marketing measures – within the context of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), of course – is still the deciding factor in the success or failure of an event.
These seven tips will help you achieve consistent data quality in your databases.
Before anything else, you should be clear about which goals you as an organiser hope to achieve with the data you collect. If the goal is to run personalised marketing content based on the recipient’s role in the company, information relating to job titles or hierarchy levels are particularly relevant.
The fact that this person attended and participated in previous events indicates their level of interest and purchasing inclinations; it’s always easier to get a satisfied customer to participate again than to win over someone completely new as a participant, sponsor, or exhibitor.
Hand-in-hand with formulating clear goals comes the first conceptual step in determining which data are actually relevant for me as an event organiser. If I want to offer my participants a customised service, I need to know their needs as well. If my goal is “just” to sell a ticket, then all I really need is their email address.
In order to articulate a particular need, it’s important for the participant to answer questions like: “What am I looking for?” or “What do I offer?” By matching them with the needs of other participants, these details can be used to see the first results immediately after registration.
In this age of Big Data, organisers sometimes also succumb to the temptation to try to collect excessive amounts of data. This results in endless registration forms that either get filled in incorrectly or not at all. High unsubscribe rates are a further result.
If factors such as, for example, company size are relevant (e.g. in estimating the sales potential of sponsorship or booth sizes), then you can look into other sources to collect such information and add it to your CRM.
Generally, the principle of data economy that we know from the GDPR applies here; that is, data should only be collected if it clearly offers a potential benefit to the customer as well. It should also be possible to account for this benefit to the customer.
Who hasn’t had the experience of wanting to sign up for an event and having to go through an agonizingly long registration process? So many other things need doing; you just need to hurry up and register to get one of the last tickets for the industry event of the year. So chop-chop, just answer everything quickly – finally, you make it to the last question, pick your ticket and pay. All done!
But what does a participant get for answering all these questions? And what do I as the organiser get if my participants rush through the questions? For the most part, nothing – except for a huge, messy "data pile", which cannot be used as the basis for the strategic direction of my event.
So, put yourself in your participants’ shoes, let them know that for answering questions they’ll receive say, concrete suggestions for how they should structure their time at the event: e.g. "Items on the agenda that might interest you" or "Other participants offering what you’re looking for".
This way, you as organiser will also be receiving valid, reliable data whilst improving the "participant experience" before the event even begins.
There are an almost infinite number of so-called touchpoints which you can use to collect data on customers, i.e. participants.
Great examples of this include premium offers or exclusive downloads (such as white papers, for example) that can only be unlocked after completing the registration process. Social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn offer the possibility of running lead ads, which can be used to collect relevant data. The advantage for the customer is that he/she no longer needs to enter data manually, but can instead use his/her log-in to access information that’s already stored on these social platforms.
Offer your participants the opportunity to book other programme elements in addition to their (paid) registration for the event, such as workshops, presentations and sessions – this allows you to collect additional valuable data about the customer’s actual areas of interest.
Your CRM system is the backbone of high data quality. It must be able to combine data from various sources including social media, ticketing, company directories, etc.
It must facilitate analysis and segmentation, which then serve as a starting point for personalised or segment-oriented marketing activities. It goes without saying that the CRM should be free of duplicates and up-to-date. In addition to machine evaluations, it’s also essential to have human resources check the quality of the databases at regular intervals.
Another important factor is "normalising", or standardising, your data. As humans, we recognise that Düsseldorf and Dusseldorf are the same city, but when in doubt, a CRM system will see these as different data values. Typographical errors happen all the time when entering data manually. The task of central data quality management is to recognise and correct these errors, and software can be quite helpful here. Quality trumps quantity – and this has got to mean something to an event organiser.
Based on the data you’ve thus collected, you as organiser can adapt your content and send it out to your participants in the weeks leading up to the opening day of your event. This allows participants to form their perceptions of your event in much more individual terms.
Using the data you collect during the registration phase, from other potential sources, and from past participation in your event, you will get to know your participants much better and be able to put together a customised event experience for them. A visitor who has already attended an event, for instance, requires completely different information than an individual who will be attending an exhibition or a convention for the first time.
The next logical step is the automation of marketing activities. The spectrum here ranges from simple confirmation messages and automated follow-up emails to multi-level marketing campaigns based on email opening and click behaviour.
It is becoming increasingly important to take an individualised approach to event participants, and this means knowing about their interests. Efficient B2B matchmaking for the participant and business networking at events based on high-quality data can in turn become the basis for even better targeting of marketing activities for events to come.
Our B2B matchmaking and event networking software provides you with the optimal platform to collect and process high-quality data – always in compliance with the GDPR, of course. Depending on customer behaviour, you can create automated campaigns and address your customers in a personalised way.
We are gladly at your disposal to bounce ideas back and forth, to discuss ways we can improve data collection and data quality together, and to discuss individualised participant journeys – please contact us!
Whether you are an organizer or participant in a networking event: With the Converve platform, you can optimally prepare for tradeshows, conferences and other events. Here you will find useful information and tips.
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