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02 Aug 2021

Using data to demonstrate impact AND drive continuous improvement

Using data to demonstrate impact AND drive continuous improvement

Ahead of his education session at The Meetings Show, Dax Callner, Chairman of the EMMC and Strategy Director, Smyle, takes a look at the benefits of using credible data to help grow the events industry.

If there’s anything a year and a half of digital events has taught meeting professionals, it is that data is everywhere. Virtual event platforms offer a plethora of data points, tracking literally everything that every registrant does during the event. Scary? A little. Helpful? A lot.

It’s not enough to have access to data, event people need to understand what data actually matters, and what to do with the stuff that does matter, and this is true for physical AND digital events. 

Here’s an example: I often argue with my fellow measurement geeks about a metric some call “dwell time”. In my view, the amount of time someone spends on an activity does not correlate with the actual impact of that activity, and in my view, the impact is what matters. Let’s say I walk into a trade show exhibit and I spend 15 minutes trying to get the attention of a busy product rep before I walk out in frustration. That 15 minutes I spent at the stand was pretty unpleasant and unproductive. Meanwhile, at the next stand, I get instant access to a rep and in 3 minutes I have an incredibly helpful conversation. The shorter time experience was way more impactful than the long one.

But that said, there is an argument to be made about evaluating time spent data points in order to optimise an experience. Let’s use the trade show booth example again. When designing the booth we might consider the optimal amount of time for a visitor experience - let’s say it is 10 minutes. If we are tracking time spent and find that our visitors are spending 20-30 minutes, it might be worth understanding why that is and address it. If as above it’s because staff are too busy to get to everyone, there’s a problem that can be fixed in near real-time.

Dwell time or “time spent” is one of literally hundreds of data points one can consider when it comes to events. The amount of potential data can be overwhelming. The Experiential Marketing Measurement Coalition (which I founded) is a not-for-profit industry organisation that is developing simple, shared metrics that get to what’s important. One of the primary goals of the group is to share aggregated (meaning anonymous) data from hundreds of programs so that we as an industry have benchmarks we can use to compare our results with others. It’s a big important initiative in my view (and yes I am biased). The group believes that credible data and measurement is a key factor in protecting and growing the events industry, and we’re doing what we can to enable more and better measurement.

Dax Callner will lead the session titled Data – using it to create more relevant meetings at The Meetings Show on 1 October at 1:10pm.

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