AEO Forums Roundup

February 1, 2017 Matt Coyne

Data is at the very heart of our industry and helps us all to succeed,

For this years AEO Forums I attended the marketing stream. Much of the conversation / discussion / debate, call it what you will, pivoted around the use of data.

The Forum is a great opportunity to catch up with industry colleagues and friends and catch up on what everyone has been up to. This year was no different although every year there seems to be more new faces joining the crowd, which was great to see, it’s exciting to witness such a diverse group networking together.

My takeaways

Make yourself a cuppa, this is one of those long ones...

We’re used to the old adage, Content is King. Nolan set the tone for the day (when he wasn’t wearing a wig), about changing that subject to Satisfaction is King. Everything you do, should focus on satisfaction of your visitors and exhibitors and data is pivotal to proving that satisfaction.

The starting point from the first session (with Ruth – Festival of Marketing, Nathan from Media10 and Gary from ReedPop) was clear – B2B need to be entertained as well as educated. As much as your average B2B delegate will be learning from content, they are also consumers, so make sure they are entertained. I’m not suggesting mime artists & balloon animal makers on every stand, we’re not putting on a circus, but maybe we could help educate our exhibitors on what else they could do to draw the crowds in and raise the experience? Perhaps, summarise your event and exhibitors that really had an impact on previous years, so when selling your story again for the future you have some great case studies on how others did it differently. But what else:

  • The language you use – Nathan made it clear that on the Construction Week events, they have a very different tone of voice if they’re talking to builders or architects. Make sure you know your audience well. What words work for them. And be more targeted than you have before. I recall an old Interbuild campaign we worked on where we did exactly that. I think there was 8 or 9 variations of their campaign, targeting those individual markets. Be different. Be Brave. Be unique.
  • Look beyond just your NPS – Gary from Reedpop agreed the NPS is a good benchmark, but it doesn’t tell you everything. Did your visitors get to see what they wanted to see or what they booked? Did they get everything out of the event they wanted to? So it begs the question we’ve been discussing for a while with clients

Are you proving Visitor ROI?

  • Ruth was keen to express how much attention they pay to content and what types of content attracts what audience. They track everything. If a certain style evokes a reaction – use it again. This is the marry up of content & data and it’s beautiful.
  • Do things differently – something at the very heart of the N200|GES SaaS software, but Nathan’s point was different… He was focusing on the 5 a side football match they put on during the show. What a way to attract people to hang around the show and create some competition amongst your delegates.
  • Make decisions based on data. Know what customers are doing and then what they want based on actual interactions
  • Is the marketing role changing? This requires a blog in its own right – are marketeers the data / analytical teams or are they the teams that then create campaigns based off the insight gleaned from data departments?
  • Don’t be afraid of sharing ideas with your teams – obviously you do need some form of reason behind your idea of madness, but, just maybe, it will pay off big time.

Growth Hacking

I’ve seen Grant talk before and read his book. He always provides fresh insight or new perspectives to people – he humanises data & marketing.

What is Growth Hacking anyway? In short, the use of data to incrementally get better.

Key points

  • Hands up – “who is a data scientist?” No hands were raised – we (as marketeers) are not specialists on the subject of data. There’s lots of talk about data in marketing at the moment, but where’s your data specialist? If you can’t invest in a team member, look at getting some training (so far my trends blog this year is on point ;-)
  • Use your data to feedback into your processes to do things better next time
  • Behavioural data is WAY more powerful than predictive data. Behavioural data is data collected from interactions. Predictive data could be your demographics – maybe everyone ticked the first box? Make sure you use your combination of data to provide something useful back to your customers
  • Using RFID, not only can you measure everything that a person interacts with (taps for example) at an event, but you also have an opportunity to provide back useful information to those individuals. The dawn of the visitor briefcase is already here – are you using it? This could easily be achieved between say a link up of N200|GES and Poken! Give us a call if you want to find out more.
  • If using heatmaps, look at that data beyond just “log jams” around your event. Combine it with other data ie lead capture or know what was going on at those stands or feature areas to see why those areas were so busy. It could give you insight to see what you can do there and then to alleviate any traffic, but also provide more of the same elsewhere if the content was a pull, for example.

I couldn’t possibly give away EVERYTHING Grant talked about, but I’ll leave you with a couple of examples he gave on the use of data and how it has affected businesses. An interesting story to Google, look at the way that Target, the big discount retailer in the US is using data. They have narrowed down to knowing if someone buys a combination of 15 products, that the lady is pregnant. By a combination of further products, they can even tell what trimester the lady is in… powerful marketing opportunity right there! He also mentioned about Burbn. They initially set up like foursquare, a location based networking tool, but realised that no one was using the software for that, but using the photos / filters heavily. They reprogrammed. Rebranded and became Instagram.

Not wanting to dictate every part of content (though it appears I may have done so far…), I thought a final point to cover was the session from Debrah of MRS regarding the new GDPR regulations coming into play on May 25th 2018.

There is some confusion regarding use of data if in B2B environment vs B2C, but then also within B2B if you are, for example, a sole trader vs a ltd company. We are paying very close attention to these guidelines and what it means for our customers, so will be able to share an update as soon as it becomes available. Either way, make sure you and your business is clued up as to how it affects you!

Phew, if you made it this far, well done. In summary… data is vital to the growth of your business. If you’re not using it correctly, you may be detracting audiences from your event. If you are using it properly and have someone helping you analyse it – you may be sitting on a gold mine you never knew you had!

Until the next time….



article originally posted on Linkedin


About the Author

Matt  Coyne

Matt has been working in events & exhibitions for over 10 years. From organising, to design, to website, and onto registration and intelligent data services, Matt has extensive experience at every level. With a background in organisation, marketing and design Matt is able to cut through the technology and approach data and registration solutions with the end users in mind. As Technology Engagement Architect for GES and an active participant in the industry, Matt has been involved in a variety of industrywide research projects and is an expert in how to prove ROI and manage data effectively.

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