There is a suspicion that many people in the events industry don't fully understand the significant role NPS plays in running successful exhibitions. It's often viewed as just another metric to measure and one that many teams are now incentivized to improve, however, if you were to ask an honest question to the entire market about what NPS means and what it does, many likely wouldn't know. "Is the question 'how likely are you to recommend us on a scale from 0 to 10' really driving change? Do people really understand what it means and how to use it?" — Richard Kensett, VP Enterprise Partnerships, Explori While tracking and comprehending NPS is significant, it is only one aspect to consider among several others that should be evaluated to gain a comprehensive understanding of exhibition performance. NPS may be turning 20, but does it really help us understand customer experiences? The answer is this: NPS is not an end in itself. It should be used as part of a broader measurement effort, combining qualitative and quantitative information to help event planners drive positive experiences. NPS has gained a lot of traction as a metric for gauging the success of exhibitions, and whilst it is still very relevant on its 20th birthday (link to other post / article?), the actual measurements of successful visitor or exhibitor engagement are deeper than a rating of 1-10. The way NPS is calculated makes it a little complicated for exhibitions. To put this into context, look at your dinner last night. Out of ten, how would you rate it? Maybe a 6? So it was pretty good, but it could be a bit better? You didn't throw it in the bin, but would you tell a mate about it? Maybe. In NPS ratings, this score would be considered a detractor and be subtracted from your promoter's scores (and most certainly be binned!). So, when asking someone about their thoughts on the latest trade show they attended, they may tend to give a simplistic answer as, generally, people prefer to take a moderate stance and avoid extreme opinions. It's also important to remember that even a small minority with strong opinions can greatly impact your overall NPS score - positively or negatively. How good an NPS can you achieve? Gaining popularity in the events industry with the arrival of private equity firms, NPS remains a valuable tool for supporting business decisions, as typically, a high NPS indicates positive revenue growth momentum and fosters positive interactions between visitors, exhibitors and the event organiser. However, to achieve a 9-10 rating on the NPS scale for an exhibition or event, there needs to be an exceptional level of satisfaction from visitors in terms of the quality of products and services offered, value for money, the overall event experience as well as the customer service. It's a big ask. If you want to understand your audience and your event performance, you should consider a blend of metrics instead. Measure your overall event score NPS has its place in event measurement, but what you should do instead is combine various metrics such as loyalty, advocacy, and the importance of attending your event and then compare how your overall event score performs against previous years or industry benchmarks. In so doing, you will get a much better indicative view of how your audience perceived your event, how likely they are to return and the value your event offered. At Explori, we believe in considering the entire audience experience to provide a rounded view of customer sentiment and accurate insight into how well your event is performing. Together with surveys, this data can help you develop strategies for improving engagement, increasing loyalty and ultimately creating an exceptional experience for participant’s next time. The importance of understanding your audience Events with high customer experience scores are easier to run, more profitable, and faster-growing, which everyone wants from their event. Once you know what's driving your NPS and overall event scores, you can adapt and tweak your strategy to improve it for the following year. In Explori, customers can click on a report, select their NPS and instantly see their detractors. This report will tell you everything you need to know about that audience profile, such as what products they are interested in, what were there objectives of the event, and who they were. Once you understand your personas, you can build profiles with these detractors and focus on areas that could improve from a 4/5/6 to a 7/8 or even a 9/10. Don't forget your promoters It's easy to focus on increasing your detractors and ensuring you have a highly-positive NPS score, however, don't forget to focus on your promoters too. Promoters are the people who drive growth in your organisation and increase word-of-mouth referrals, so focus on initiatives that reward them for their loyalty. Think beyond unique links - today, advocates are more than likely to know the worth of their audience to you, so offer them VIP experiences beyond a unique referral code - your VIPs want to feel valued - to ensure they are engaged with your events as much as possible. In summary NPS remains a valuable metric in the industry after 20 years, but it should not be used as an end-all measurement of success. It should instead form part of a broader evaluation initiative that combines qualitative and quantitative information to help event planners understand what can be done to drive positive experiences for their audience. By gathering insights into their personas, focusing on detractors and promoters, and offering VIP experiences to their most valued customers, exhibition organisers can create an exceptional customer experience that will leave a lasting impression on their audiences. With the right combination of metrics and tools, you can optimise your exhibition performance for an improved overall customer experience. Take a quick tour of Explori website. 👇 Explori is powering the events industry with the right data and insights. See how Explori works right away!
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In 2003, Bain & Company partner Fred Reichheld introduced a groundbreaking method of assessing how well an organization treats individuals whose lives it affects — its capacity to foster enduring and loyal relationships. This assessment, known as the Net Promoter Score or NPS, has since been shared so anyone could apply it to their business. NPS has since been widely used amongst businesses to measure success and while it is mainly used for gauging customer satisfaction and loyalty, it has also been employed for measuring the effectiveness of corporate events. However, this one form of measurement is not enough when analyzing the success or impact of corporate events. In this article, we will look at the relevance of NPS in corporate events and why it's time to change how we measure success. NPS as a stand-alone measurement is not enough There is a common misconception about Net Promoter Scores in corporate events. Many believe that NPS combines factors such as customer satisfaction, advocacy value, behavior perception, and brand awareness. However, this is not entirely accurate. The truth is that NPS solely measures advocacy and only provides a small part of the overall picture. So while it is an excellent metric to measure to an extent, it is almost worthless when used in isolation for measuring the overall success of your corporate event program. NPS doesn't tell you how you can change the hearts and minds of your attendees to move them all to become promoters of your next event or increase their propensity to buy from your next customer-facing event. It also doesn't tell you which events worked for your business and for what reason. For your event measurement to mean anything, it is critical to understand how those who attended your event felt and how their brand perception has changed from pre-event to post-event. Only by knowing this, can you then understand the event's role in changing brand perceptions and, ultimately, increasing business revenue. "Our clients are already familiar with NPS as a tool to gauge brand advocacy. While it should absolutely be used to measure event success, it shouldn't be the only metric utilized. Incorporating NPS into a blended metric will provide valuable insights into attendee satisfaction and overall customer experience." — Chloe Richardson, VP Senior Corporate Relations, Explori Measurement beyond customer satisfaction To improve the effectiveness of your events program, you should consider analyzing brand perception and impact scores, including sentiment and behavior analysis, which helps you better understand how your attendees and customers feel about your event and how they behave towards your brand, such as, what is their propensity to purchase. By blending these metrics, you can build an overall event score and form a more complete picture of your event's success and effectiveness in strengthening customer relationships, enabling you to measure year-on-year and event-on-event performance better. To ensure that NPS can be utilized to its fullest potential in business events, you should set clear objectives and prioritize achieving strategic outcomes rather than simply collecting data. Evaluating customer sentiment, behavior, satisfaction, and brand perception are all important factors to consider when assessing your event's impact. Additionally, creating feedback mechanisms to encourage attendees to provide input at every stage of your event cycle, is vital for establishing an effective understanding and analysis of how to improve your event or increase your number of event promoters, a result of which you can measure through net promoter scores. The benefits of measuring overall event scores By measuring overall event scores, you gain valuable insights into the health of your entire customer event program. This robust blended analysis helps you pinpoint your top-performing events and identify areas for improvement. You'll begin to build a better picture of how, even small, lower-invested events can deliver exceptional results with proper strategic measures in place, where they previously were considered lower-tier, underinvested events. Measuring your events' performance with an overall event score allows you to track the progress of your entire event program and have a clear line of sight on what works, what doesn’t, and how you can improve. By taking a strategic approach to your events, you can reap maximum benefits from it. How do you measure impact scores? / Where do you start to better measure your corporate events To improve the overall effectiveness of your events, it's essential to align the objectives of your event with those of your business as a whole as this will ensure you capture relevant data and insight to help positively impact your events business unit. To ensure comprehensive analysis, it is advisable to review three distinct categories of data: demographic data, engagement data, and sentiment data. Demographic data provides information on attendees, while engagement data offers insights on their actions such as dwell time, session scans, and clicks. On the other hand, sentiment data provides a deeper understanding of how attendees think and feel. To obtain this information, analyzing customer sentiment and behavior through surveys, interviews, or focus groups is an effective way to gather additional data that can help measure impact scores. With this information collated and analyzed, you can then create strategies to enhance your events program and develop greater opportunities to positively impact not only your events score, but your entire business bottom line. Cheers to 20 great years, NPS! 🎉 Whilst we couldn't be happier to celebrate the year of NPS turning 20, and the positive impact it has had on our industry alongside many others, event planners and managers should focus on a more comprehensive approach to measure and evaluate event performance. This is the problem we set out to solve at Explori! We enable event professionals across the world to better understand their overall event score beyond NPS — bringing together customer satisfaction data with brand perception and impact scores — to provide a better view into how they can drive success in their events program. Take a quick tour of Explori website. 👇 Explori is powering the events industry with the right data and insights. See how Explori works right away!
At the heart of the Clarion Events business is its Customer Centricity project. In today's business world, data is everything. The ability to collect, analyze, and act on data is the key to success for any company, no matter its size or industry. But what many exhibitions businesses don't often realize is that data can be used not only to improve individual event decisions but also to shape overall brand strategy for its company. As our client, James McGough, Managing Director at Clarion Events tells us, "It just gives me the information that I want and it makes me feel secure about my brand strategy." Being presented with correctly analyzed data, organizers can gain insights into what's working and what's not, which can help you make better decisions about your events, your portfolio, and your company as a whole. In our recent case study, we explore how Clarion Events have been utilizing research and data to drive its brand strategy, company-wide. "Clarion used the research collated to benchmark events and portfolios against other shows within their sector and to find the relative importance of their event versus competitive events. It enabled the team to understand its market share in each sector as well as the perceived importance of attending one of its events." - Clarion Events Case Study Get your copy of Clarion Events Case Study. Read full details of how we worked with Clarion Events to put CX at the strategic heart of their business with relevant data
See you at IMEX Vegas 2023! Heading to the glittering desert of Las Vegas this October, Explori is gearing up for IMEX Vegas 2023! At booth C4753, we're all set to meet with our fellow meetings and events professionals. Our mission? To ensure that every IMEX Vegas visitor leaves the event with the invaluable tools required to: Quantify Event Impact: Gain the ability to precisely measure the impact of your event and exhibit programs. Align with Business Goals: Showcase how your event and exhibit programs contribute to achieving your organization's broader business objectives. Data-Driven Decisions: Empower yourself to make informed, speedy decisions, fueled by data. Don't miss out on securing your appointment slot from September 18 onwards. Be sure to schedule a meeting with Chloe, David, and Alex – our seasoned event experts who will guide you through the transformative journey of event measurement. You’ll leave the Explori booth with all the arsenal needed to stay ahead in the art of measuring the impact of your meeting and event programs. We promise, after our interaction, you'll find event measurement to be a piece of cake! See you in Las Vegas! 🎉
On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this article to a friend or colleague? Don’t answer that question – not before you’ve had a chance to read the article, anyway. To most of you, the format of the question above will be familiar in some way, either because you’ve seen something like it in a feedback survey or because you’ve made use of the Net Promotor Score (NPS) metric in a professional context. This year, the venerable NPS turns 20. Created (and trademarked) by management consultancy guru Fred Reichheld in 2003, NPS is a simple metric used in industries of all kinds to evaluate the performance of products and services. At Explori, we use NPS to measure the performance of corporate events, such as trade shows or conferences. In essence, it is designed to measure how likely a given product or service is to be recommended by its users, on a scale of 0-10. Those giving a score of 9 or 10 are classified as Promoters, who are extremely likely to recommend the product in question, while those giving a score of 0-6 are Detractors. The in-betweens are known as Passives. NPS is calculated by subtracting the proportion of Detractors from the proportion of Promoters, to give a score that can fall anywhere between +100 and -100. Source: checkmarket.com The enduring popularity of the NPS metric likely lies in its simplicity and versatility; it is applicable to all kinds of things, from events to tech products, and the data is easy to obtain through customer surveys and straightforward for respondents to provide. Consider how often recommendation plays a role in the decision to try – or not try – something new: a friend’s enthusiastic review of a film they just saw; a sub-4-star Trip Advisor rating for a restaurant; a colleague telling you that a particular trade show is not to be missed. Recommendations are crucial for growth, and this is exactly what the NPS seeks to measure. It’s worth keeping an eye on the detail behind the consolidated NPS figure, however. A range of different outcomes can produce the same score; for example, an NPS of 20 for an event could comprise all three of the following scenarios: The example above illustrates why NPS should not be considered in isolation from other metrics. To truly understand an event’s performance, additional data points are required. At Explori, we collect data from post-event surveys to create four key metrics for our clients: NPS, overall satisfaction, event loyalty (i.e. likelihood of return), and event importance. Used in conjunction with NPS, these three additional metrics provide event professionals with a deeper understanding of how participants really feel about an event. Did attendees get everything they wanted out of the event, overall? Will the Passives return next year, even if they are unlikely to convert colleagues into attendees? Is it the industry event – or just one good option among many? These event metrics are indicators of not only how an event has performed on specific occasions, but how resilient the event is. Unlike metrics such as attendance and revenue, lagging indicators which tell us only about an event’s past performance, these four metrics are leading indicators, telling us something about how the event is likely to perform in the future, and alerting the organiser to potential red flags – or, in the best-case scenario, telling them to keep doing what they’re doing, because it’s working! All four metrics are combined by Explori into a single event measurement score, which provides a simple way for senior leadership to check in on the performance of their organisation’s events. For those more invested in the specifics, the four metrics that make up the event score are presented alongside plenty of other data points and feedback from event participants, helping event professionals to set the direction for future events and further growth. In a vacuum, however, the data from a specific event doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. You received an NPS of 30: is that good news? Well, it all depends on the context. You’ll want to know how the score compares: To previous iterations of the event To similar events organized by your company To similar events organized by other companies At Explori, we have surveyed participants at thousands of trade shows, amassing a wealth of event data. Crucially, each of these surveys collects the data required to create a score for each of the four metrics outlined earlier in the article, including NPS. This means we are able to supply our clients with the relevant context in the form of event, company, and industry benchmarks for their event data, enabling them to holistically evaluate the performance of their event in relation to the wider industry. By now, it should be clear that NPS is a crucial part of the picture – thank you, Fred Reichheld! – but it’s not the whole picture. So, as this article wraps up, we’d like to ask you: On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this article to a friend or colleague? Additionally: How satisfied are you with this article? How likely are you to read another article on this blog? How important is this article to your business? Here’s to 20 more years of the NPS! Explori is powering the events industry with the right data and insights.
What exactly does event success mean? At first glance, event success might seem straightforward. One can easily categorise a profitable event as a successful one. Or where the sales team have a lot of hot leads to go home with, we can be quick to term this exhibit activation as very successful. Some event planners simply stick with NPS and CSAT scores. However, these metrics only begin to scratch the surface of what an event brings to a business or industry. Success can also be measured by the impact an event has among its attendees, the connections forged, and the impact it has on the industry ecosystem. Success can be determined within the context of where the particular event stands when compared with previous events that has been held within the organization, within businesses in your portfolio, and ultimately within the entire industry. Benchmarking: The Ultimate Measure of Event Success To truly understand the success of an event, we need benchmarks. Benchmarks are like guideposts that allow event organizers to compare event's performance against established standards, whether they are within their organization or across the broader industry landscape. They provide context, which helps to make informed judgments about the effectiveness of event strategies and the real significance of the achievements. Chloe Richardson, VP Senior Corporate Relations, Explori There are three major types of benchmarking within the events industry: Historical Benchmarks These benchmarks offer a retrospective view, which allows you to look back on past events. By comparing current data with past iterations of the same event, you can quickly gain insights into trends, whether towards growth or a decline. This insight is very valuable towards identifying patterns to make informed decisions on how the event is performing over time. Organizational Benchmarks Individual events are parts of a portfolio within a larger organization; they all come together to achieve a set objective within a business. Comparing the performance of an event to others within the same portfolio helps to easily reveal whether that event is contributing effectively or not. This data influences strategic decisions about the business value of an event. Industry Benchmarks Beyond comparing your events within your business, imagine the level of insights you can get by comparing it to similar options available within your entire industry? This makes you fully aware of its value, where it stands against others in terms of NPS and CSAT and the overall indispensability of your event. Gaining a Competitive Edge with Explori's Industry Benchmarks The true value of benchmarking lies in contextualization. It's not just about knowing your event's performance, but also understanding how it compares to past iterations and its peers within the industry. By placing your event's data within the larger context of industry benchmarks, you gain a clearer perspective on what constitutes success. However, a major challenge in benchmarking events lies in acquiring accurate and representative data. Most events don't readily share data like customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS), making it difficult to create robust benchmarks. However, the solution lies in the hands of dedicated event industry suppliers who have access to extensive historical event data. And this is where Explori comes in! Explori is a supplier of choice to over 7,000 events and conferences around the world, amassing a wealth of data that forms the basis of performance analysis for benchmarking solutions. Explori's industry takes your important metrics of isolation and measures it in context, leveraging its robust database of historical data to offer reliable insights needed to understand the full ROI and impact of the experiences your events are delivering. "Any metric in isolation only paints a small portion of the bigger picture that an organization needs to assess how well their events are performing. To understand whether you're on the path to growth and future success, you need to view event performance in context." - The Explori Guide to Benchmarking INDUSTRY guide The Explori Guide to Benchmarking A detailed insight into using benchmarks to understand the ROI and impact of your corporate events program Download Guide As event organizers seek to understand the impact of their efforts, event benchmarks emerge as indispensable tools. These benchmarks offer the much-needed context to interpret event data accurately. By comparing an event's performance historically, within an organization's portfolio, and against industry standards, organizers can make strategic decisions that ensure success not just in isolation, but in the grander scheme of the events landscape. Check out Explori's Benchmarking solutions tailored for you. Get started with Explori, let us set you up with benchmarks that provide insights to guide your event measurement and innovation to increase your ROI. Book a demo with our events specialist today.
Originally created for M&IT There is an undercurrent of fear in the meetings and events world – rarely verbalised, even behind closed doors - of robustly measuring the performance of our events. A fear of collecting data that might put a spotlight on the flaws we didn’t even know existed. We’re scared that these insights might make our function more vulnerable to business criticism - or that knowing what’s not working is worse than knowing nothing at all. But in a world where corporate events teams are being cut and senior event leaders are facing redundancy, now is the time to combat those fears to leverage event performance data properly. How can we turn our insights from being the monster under the bed to a tool that secures the future of corporate event programmes? Turbulence We are living in a time of corporate event turbulence. And the instability comes from not having the right insights to truly evidence our business impact and value. The fear of measurement is holding us back. Absolutely, measuring performance effectively may show us that certain events are falling short. But it’s far from scary – it’s incredibly useful and empowering. As event leaders, data is the only tool that puts us firmly in the strategic driving seat. Understanding where individual events aren’t hitting business KPIs is the first step to doing something about it and, by contrast, allows us to leverage those highly performing events that change attendee perception and behaviours. But you don’t know what you don’t know, and running from the data is much more dangerous than using it to strategically to make the right decisions. So the question is – what should every corporate event leader apply to rid themselves of dataphobia forever? Collect the right data Gone are the days of using attendee numbers or revenue generated as rational event performance metrics. Not only are these purely reactive metrics (by the time attendee numbers have started to drop or we’re losing revenue, it’s too late to make strategic changes to our event design), they don’t tell us the most important longer term insights that really count – how attendees perceive us/our events, how their behaviour is changing because of them and what the longer term impact will be to the business. As we move away from measuring these more reactive metrics, we can start to be proactive in strategising and evolving our event programmes accordingly. There is no fear of the unknown if you know exactly what data you should be collecting. Communicate findings effectively You could have collected the best data in the world, but if this is poorly relayed to the event’s stakeholder group, then the effort risks being wasted. Communicating findings effectively to the business will not only arm you with control and confidence to alleviate your fear, but enables you to demonstrate your strategic position to your non-event peers. Like with many things, you have to consider what that end presentation might look like from the very beginning. It’s critical to understand before you even start collecting your event data what success looks like for a given event or portfolio, and what data points are central to measuring performance against this success criteria. Deliberately consider who are the different stakeholders, how should the findings be communicated back to them, and what you want them to do about it? Use your insights as a strategic planning asset Once you’ve collected the right data and communicated findings effectively, it’s then imperative that you actually use your insights strategically – closing the loop. If, during steps one and two, you’ve established that an event isn’t performing as the business would like, rather than being fearful of how this reflects on the events function, use this knowledge to strategically review the future of that particular event or portfolio. Closing this loop allows you to redistribute budgets, consolidate assets, make justified decisions and strategically redesign the future of your events programme. For a long time, there has been a fear of robustly measuring the performance of our events. Yet if we let dataphobia reign supreme, we will never have the right tools to defend our functions, our roles and our teams. The real scary thing is not being able to demonstrate crucial event value in a period of corporate event instability. Explori is powering the events industry with the right data and insights.
Ahead of her education session at IMEX Frankfurt month, we asked Chloe Richardson, VP Corporate Relations to give us a sneak peek into what attendees can expect from her session. IMEX Frankfurt, one of the MICE industry largest events, returns next month, and the Explori team will be there! Chloe Richardson, VP Corporate Relations at Explori, will be taking to the stage on Wednesday 24 May to discuss the importance of data and measurement within corporate events. Ahead of IMEX Frankfurt, we asked Chloe to give us a sneak peek into what attendees can expect from her session. *** “It has been years of uncertainty for the meetings and events industry, and with an upcoming recession, increasingly time-critical sustainability expectations and a talent shortage unlike any we’ve seen before – it isn’t going to get any easier for corporate event leaders. In fact, our organizations are already looking for quick ways to tighten the purse strings. Where can we cut budgets? How can we redistribute resources? Which department is most dispensable? And let’s face it – meetings and events functions have not always prioritized how to present performance in a way that the wider business understands. We’ve been so busy doing our day jobs – juggling a multitude of skills for stakeholders whilst drowning in irregular working hours and travel schedules that defy time zones -- that we’ve yet to really leverage the most important thing when it comes to evidencing value and impact – the science. Sure, we’ve GOT data. Even too much of it perhaps. With an accelerated worldwide digital transformation and the increase in event technology platforms, obtaining data is no longer the challenge. The struggle is collecting the RIGHT data, and then effectively interpreting it to evidence that events are a valuable business channel. In fact, in an Explori study into the long-term challenges faced by event planners, measuring (and thus communicating) event performance came top with 68%. With case studies from corporate event leads, practical tips and actionable insights, this session has been designed to help you make sure you’re collecting and using the right data to win arguments.” *** Don’t miss Chloe’s session Data wins arguments: What should corporate event leaders be collecting to evidence the impact of their program?taking place at 13:00 on Wednesday, 24 May at the Research Pod. Can’t wait until May? Book a discovery call with Chloe today. Chloe Richardson VP Senior Corporate Relations
Originally created for Association Meetings International read the full article here One of the ongoing challenges facing many event professionals operating within associations, networks and membership organizations is the ability to implement change. This is particularly an issue when looking to modify a significant element of the event such as the format in which it’s delivered, location or frequency. Many businesses collect vast amounts of data post event but fail to put the results to use. In a recent podcast, the vice president of Meta, Nicola Mendelsohn, spoke to the challenge of change: “I’m open to change my mind if I see evidence and data. There’s a poster on the [office] wall ‘Data Wins Arguments’. I like that because I think it’s true. Data allows you to really look at something and know if something isn’t going well to stop it.” Effecting change can be difficult, with time, resources and inclination being three of the prevalent blockers. At Explori, we believe framing the data and insights garnered from your events in a proactive and productive way can help influence change and overcome many obstacles, particularly amongst your most senior stakeholders. Know your audience Being able to play the data back to your stakeholders in a way that engages them, and more importantly, encourages them to act on the insight, is vital. From the beginning, your event data strategy should speak to the wider organizational goals and objectives and be agreed by all parties. What does success look like for a given event or portfolio of events, and what data points are therefore central to measuring performance against this success criteria? You should also detail how the findings will be communicated back to the different stakeholders involved with the event and how will the findings be acted on. These elements are interlinked – the more apposite the communication of the findings, the more likely they will be acted on. Communication is key You can have the best data strategy and collection process in the world, but if the findings are poorly played back to the event’s stakeholder group, then the effort risks being largely wasted. At the heart of this, the key mantra is that one size absolutely does not fit all. Each of your stakeholders with have different levels of seniority, with different business focusses and insight needs. Some will respond well to granular details whilst others will want headline statistics. Others will enjoy a more visual presentation; others simply want the numbers! A fundament task when mapping out the stakeholders for your data project is to fully understand who your stakeholders are and how they like to be communicated to. For example, it’s unlikely that the C-Suite level stakeholders are going to want to be presented with a 10,000-row spreadsheet with raw data. Whilst those in an operational role, who are perhaps more likely to have a remit to implement day-to-day changes on the back of the data, will find a 'Top 3 takeaways’ summary insufficient. However, both groups will be reassured that the other type of output exists – the C-Suite, that there is a detailed data analysis underpinning the key messages, and for the operational stakeholders, the takeaways provide an initial steer into the data that they can follow-up on with the more granular outputs. Here are some top things to consider when presenting insights: Think about the optimal timing of the playback session. All day is likely to be too long and difficult to keep focus, and from an organizational perspective, very tricky to coordinate calendars and get everyone together. One hour? Likely to be too short. Think about what you want the outcomes to be, then use an estimate of how long you think each section will take to determine the optimal meeting length Be as engaging and interactive as possible. Be clear, visual and pitched at a level that can be understood by the whole group. Try: “What do we think about this?” “Can we shed any light on it?” Talk to them personally For example, “I know you felt there was a problem with the app. Here’s what we found re. the extent of the problem, and some suggested solutions from users. Do we believe any of these would work?” Qualitative findings can help engage the audience, building on any quant data. Hearing customers’ voices directly adds colour to the quantitative findings. Additionally, look to get your stakeholders involved in recommending customers to participate in the research process - this enhances their engagement and buy-in from the start of the process and they will be particularly keen to hear the results from their nominated contacts. Act Accordingly The next critical step is gaining buy-in to ACT on the findings. In other words, what will come of all the efforts that have been expended to collate the data? This is partly empowerment – ensuring (again, ideally provided from the outset) that team members have authority to implement changes on the back of the findings. But it also once more comes down to communication approaches. You will likely have brought all your stakeholders together to agree a data strategy based on your organization or event’s specific goals and objectives. It’s now time for you to reconvene this group and determine an action plan based on the results. Be clear here on priorities and make sure the number of actions is kept to a manageable number – particularly for an individual stakeholder/team. Some actions may be small, however some of the more significant changes will involve engaging third parties and may not be ready to action immediately. Don’t kick these into the long grass, instead look to reschedule a meeting to review these changes on a regular basis and allocate a time in which they will be addressed. Documenting this process is key to engendering accountability amongst those involved and overall, ensuring the insights successfully leads to actions. In conclusion Change within business can be tricky to navigate. At times it can feel like an uphill task, particularly when your faced with multiple stakeholders. Remember, it’s human nature to resist change and can make some individuals feel vulnerable or nervous. Having a good data strategy in place, well-delivered insights, and a measurable action plan will help alleviate many fears and give your organization a solid foundation on which to build a positive customer-centric future. *** Like this? Download your free copy of The Power of Data Insights for Associations - Turning Insight into Revenue.
Why does your association need an event data strategy and what are the risks of not having one? Event data—and being able to use and interpret it effectively—is essential for associations to understand the impact that events have on their members. It’s equally essential for ensuring that this impact grows rather than fades over time, that events stay front of mind for members and key stake holders alike. Explori has worked with thousands of event professionals and meeting planners to help them understand how benchmarking, attendee tracking, setting strategic goals and other practices can work to ensure that events fulfill their purpose, whether it’s driving business for members, bringing members together for networking or moving the dial for the industry. Sophie Holt, managing director of Explori, cautions that simply gathering event data without a strategic plan in place is not enough to achieve these goals. Holt emphasizes that metrics in isolation, including past attendance, only indicate what has already happened, not what will happen. Even events that were well attended one year can fall flat the next if a newer, more enticing show comes along. Perhaps the seemingly popular event was really a “hostage” situation that only attracted people because they had no other choices. An event data strategy, one that drills down into attendee behavior and examines their actual engagement with the event, can help predict future attendance and indicate what improvements may be needed to keep it on an upward trajectory. While some event planners may think data won’t tell them anything they don’t already know, Holt says that all too often anecdotal information, whether it’s an effusive email from a happy speaker or angry words from a sponsor, gets mistaken for data. “You can’t just rely on anecdotal information—it’s a psychological phenomenon that we retain information that confirms beliefs we already hold,” she says. “It’s data that gives voice to the silent majority and reveals hidden trends.” What are the risks of not having an event data strategy and why is it more crucial than ever? With the pandemic, business and marketing experts say that people have become more discerning of how they spend their time and are looking for more curated experiences. “We need a deep understanding of the customer journey and future behavior,” Holt says. “The risks of not doing so are clear—you will be less customer centric, and decisions will be made without addressing what people want or need. You will fall short in marketing goals.” She also notes that while the rise of event technology has brough in a flood of new data, it hasn’t brought in a flood of new insights. Unfortunately, data all too often gets trapped in silos within an organization and loses whatever impact it could have. With a strategy in place, data gets to the people who can use it to create better events, achieve organizational goals and predict behavior. How has Explori helped associations use event data to their best advantage? One example is the Chicago Dental Society (CDS), which has held its Midwinter Meeting every February for over 150 years. Feedback from the event had been gathered on rudimentary survey tools, which didn’t provide a robust way of understanding how the event performed in the eyes of the attendees and exhibitors. The CDS turned to Explori to help it understand how this annual event was performing against the global healthcare sector. Explori gathered data at three key points throughout the event journey. Attendees and exhibitors were asked at registration about their objectives in attending the meeting, data on their engagement was gathered at the event and responses were mapped to provide a post-event analysis. Following the meeting, Explori blended several key indicators together to provide a single overall event score, including overall satisfaction, likelihood to return, and event importance. Aggregated together, these points provided a clear picture of the event’s performance, without emphasis being placed on any single factor. From the data, Explori created an analysis that enabled the CDS senior leadership to understand the attendees and exhibitors’ experiences at the event and their attitudes towards it. They were then able to prioritize the areas of improvement that would have the most meaningful impact. Holt believes that employing an event data strategy for a successful event is not dissimilar to how a farmer ensures a successful harvest. It starts with planting the right crop, monitoring environmental factors throughout the growing cycle and making note of what can be done better next time. Like this? Download your copy of The Power of Data Insights for Associations - Turning Insight into Revenue.
An event data strategy is essential not only for designing more impactful events, but ensuring that event professionals are recognized by their organizations as strategic partners. The effective use of event data allows event owners to demonstrate the role they play in achieving wider business goals, improving customer loyalty and navigating an uncertain future. Why does an event professional need an event data strategy? Collecting data and, equally important, knowing how to interpret it effectively enables you to bring more value to your organization – not just by empowering you to make more informed (that is, data-driven) decisions, but to really gain insight into how your event contributes to wider business goals. This in turn allows you to secure a seat at the table as a strategic partner. While some event planners view data as a professional quagmire, the fact remains that data will be the biggest criterion separating the wheat from the chaff as event and marketing teams continue to combine, as tech becomes increasingly important and data-rich, and as tech-savvy generations ascend to senior positions in their organizations. Planners who master the art of using data strategically can play a vital leadership role in their organizations. But a common challenge for many event teams is finding the time and resources required to sit with the data and derive insights, or in some cases to develop the analytical proficiencies in the first place. For those without the capacity, working with a research partner can be a significant benefit. Planners gain access to benchmarking and other interpretative tools to create event experiences and events that are strategically effective and have the impact they intend. How does a data strategy help you bring value to your organization through more strategic decision-making? The rise of event technology has brought a flood of new data, but not a flood of new insights. All too often the data is trapped in silos without a connection to wider organizational strategies. It’s not getting into the hands of people who need it. Opportunities are blocked for creating experiences that really speak to customer preferences. Conversely, when a robust data strategy is in place, the organization can hold events that provide better experiences for participants and achieve company goals. It can also aid in the prediction of customer behavior, helping planners create even more effective events in the future. Sophie Holt, managing director of Explori, notes that some event planners think data won’t tell them anything they don’t already know. “All too often they are mistaking anecdotes for data, perhaps an effusive email from a happy speaker or the anger of a sponsor,” she said. “Anecdotes should not be used in place of data. It’s data that gives voice to the silent majority and reveals hidden trends.” Even looking at past metrics such as attendance may not be very useful for future events, as they reveal what happened, but not what will happen. With the right tools, data can help predict how people will behave in the future. Even events that have always been well-attended can suddenly see an unanticipated drop-off. Perhaps people were only attending the event because there were no alternatives and now they have other choices. With the right data and tools to interpret it, you get a more realistic picture of what people actually think of the event and what has to be done to retain their loyalty. Collecting and interpreting data from an event can answer such questions as whether people changed the way they think or feel, if they identify more strongly with the brand, if they will recommend the company as an employer, if they learned best practices for their work or if they might change their behavior at the next event. Indicators of behavioral change are powerful metrics for planners, allowing for improvements to be made for more impactful future events. How can you develop the competence required to take advantage of the data at your disposal? The first step is to recognize that you need a partner—not just a supplier—to help you achieve your goals. While a supplier can sell you a product, a partner goes beyond this by tailoring their services to fit your needs. In order to do so, the partner needs an understanding of your business objectives. “Start with sharing your goals, show the big picture and tell what you are hoping to achieve,” advises Explori research director Suzanne van Montfoort. “What are the decisions you’re looking to make, who are the key stakeholders? There are so many moving parts, and giving clarity early on helps avoid confusion and delays.” After discussing the goals, it’s important to look at the data you already have and what gaps are there. What formats or languages are required? Do you want raw data that you can manipulate or do you want a more finished product? Also, discuss your budget and what your procurement process is like. For their part, the tech partner needs to explain the process of working with them, whether they can meet your deadline, if the project can be scaled down or up based on budget and what happens if you need to change the scope of the project. “If someone promises too much, that should sound an alarm,” said van Montfoort. “Find someone you can work with. Taking time at the start to develop the scope and plan will save headaches later.” How can this strategic business intelligence give you something to contribute to strategic discussions at your organization? Armed with a rich array of insightful information, event pros can present top management and other stakeholders with a compelling visual data story on the influence events have on achieving organizational goals and creating customer satisfaction. Equally important in this uncertain era, planners can demonstrate how business intelligence can be used to help organizations avoid or at least minimize the harmful impact that unpredictable outside developments could have on future events and customer loyalty. IN CONCLUSION For event planners seeking to play a leadership role in their organizations, working with a research partner like Explori to develop an event data strategy is essential. Event data if interpreted correctly can go a long way toward helping organizations realize business objectives and grow customer loyalty. *** Explori allows senior corporate event leaders to go beyond number of attendees. With our behavioural, sentiment, and cognitive measurement tools, you can discover how effectively your event strategy influences what stakeholders think, feel and do. Find out how Explori helps corporate event organizers gather vital insights to demonstrate the impact of events against the wider company objectives. Know more
While many event professionals and marketers are eager to get back to the live events they know and love, research shows that virtual events and event components are here to stay. Covid may have forced the industry online in 2020, but advances in virtual event technology combined with changing attitudes towards remote working and commercial activities have given the industry plenty of reasons to continue investing in it as restrictions are lifted and normal activity begins to resume. Underscoring this shift is a continued call to action to make the industry more sustainable. According to a recent report in the Independent, 85% of the event industry’s carbon footprint comes from travel. Sustainability is the number one challenge corporate event planners cite as needing to be addressed by 2024, according to an ICE corporate benchmarking report from 2021. It’s not hard to see why virtual events are continuing to rise in popularity even as live events return. In fact, Amex GBT’s Global Meetings and Events Forecast predicted that 39% of meetings will be hybrid and 19% will be virtual in 2022, meaning that 58% of all events will have a heavy virtual component. A smaller study conducted by Explori on behalf of PCMA and AC Forum around the same time corroborated this, finding that 70% of survey respondents who intended to move forward with live events were planning a significant digital component, Research from the Explori Global Recovery Insights report has revealed that 80% of senior level decision makers in the US and UK who had not participated in a virtual event prior to the pandemic have now tried them, and 44% of those are now more likely to organise their own digital event. This is corroborated somewhat by a recent LinkedIn study that interviewed more than 1,800 marketers responsible for events across 13 counties, 85% of whom had held a virtual event in the previous year. Gartner predicts that by 2024, 30% of technology providers with at least $100m in revenue will extend their reach to additional audiences and roles by shifting to a ‘virtual first’ event model for both first-party and third-party events, compared with less than 5% before the pandemic. For marketers who take a ‘virtual first’ approach, virtual-only events are likely to dominate their portfolio, although live events will likely continue to feature in their annual event programs. The continued use of virtual events, particularly to deliver content-heavy programs and to expand the potential pool of live event attendees, may result in a re-tooling of event goals and success metrics. Where previously the quantity of attendees might have been a key KPI, success will now have to focus more on a more qualified audience and better engagement -- and for better or worse, virtual events are unparalleled in their ability to substantiate engagement on their platforms. This itself may motivate event marketers to use them more heavily where the virtual format doesn’t compromise delivering on stakeholder objectives. Explori is the leading visitor and exhibition insight specialist in the events industry, working with some of the biggest event and exhibition companies in the world. To find out more about trends in the events industry, visit our Industry Reports hub.
How successfully are exhibitors connecting with qualified contacts? Are attendees finding the partners and suppliers they need? The answers to each of these questions rely on data, and the ability to deliver high-impact experiences to stakeholders depends on an event strategist’s ability to measure and interpret it. Measuring the impact of each event component offers a view to how both exhibitors and attendees experience an event, and tracking this data over time lends itself to better and more financially attractive events from one year to the next. Event organisers often track engagement and satisfaction across their stakeholders with simple post-event feedback tools, but there remains a lot of pandemic-related uncertainty around travel and the market is becoming more competitive. Associations and exhibition organizers are under increasing pressure both to deliver value and to substantiate it to exhibiting partners, sponsors, and other stakeholders. Measuring and benchmarking events and event components is essential to meeting that challenge. Avoiding Stagnation (or Worse) It may be tempting for long-running shows to treat a pattern of revenue growth as the rule. ‘We’ve been growing 3-5% per year for 10 years,’ they might say, ‘so we have nothing to worry about.’ The trouble with neglecting to measure things like satisfaction and impact on an ongoing basis is that organizers run the risk of missing changes in the market that might undermine a pattern of growth or positive impact. The crux of the problem lies in relying too heavily on lagging indicators. For example, let’s say you run an annual conference and expo that serves as a mainstay for your industry. If you’re plotting your revenue from year to year on a graph, you may see a comforting incline maintained by a loyal base. But if you’re not also tracking how actively satisfied that base is at every iteration of the event, you may not be picking up on pain points that need addressing -- or worse, a rising sense of discontent. What if a segment of the attendees wasn’t able to make relevant connections this year? What if they found the show less navigable for some reason? What if the exhibitors found the audience less qualified and the deals less lucrative? What if both camps simply come every year because they don’t feel they have another comparable option? In a world where exhibitors are increasingly prioritizing a highly qualified audience over sheer volume and customers are increasingly prioritizing highly curated, high-value experiences, show organizers can no longer afford to rest on the laurels of prior success. Intentional Data Mining Across the Customer Journey Gathering data across the attendee journey allows exhibition organizers to determine which steps of the journey drive value and which contain bottlenecks or pain points that need to be addressed. Understanding both is essential for ensuring a positive experience that continues to meet (or ideally exceed) stakeholder expectations over time and motivates the right behaviour at and after the event. There are plenty of tools in an organizer’s arsenal for tracking engagement and sentiment. These include surveys, social media engagement, polls, and analytics built into registration and other platforms. Sophie Holt, managing director of Explori, advises that organizers “consider which data sources will tell you the who, the what, and most importantly, the why?” in order to derive meaningful, actionable insights from event data. Being intentional about what you want to discover will help to set you up to track the right data points. For example, if you want to measure exhibitor satisfaction, purely looking at the number of leads generated is only one piece of the puzzle. Generating fewer leads at a higher conversion rate can be preferable to coming away with a higher volume that doesn’t amount to any revenue. Similarly, a high registration rate does not necessarily translate to a successful event or happy sponsors and exhibitors if it isn’t proportionally reflected in brand engagement. Only through tracking both registrations, engagement, and ultimately conversions will you gain perspective on the real value to each stakeholder category. Why might brand engagement have been subpar? Perhaps the show floor layout was suboptimal. Perhaps matchmaking could have been better utilized. Perhaps key brand activations were scheduled at times that competed with one another. Using the tools available to gather both quantitative usage and engagement data as well as qualitative feedback is the best way to discern these issues and ensure that an event maximizes its impact and drives desired outcomes for both members and exhibitors. You Have the Data; How Do You Know If You Did Well? “Using integrated research tools to benchmark an event’s success over time and against competitors allows a narrative to be drawn out of the data,” says Holt. Ultimately, it’s up to each organization to establish its own objectives and success metrics, but there are a number of common key performance indicators that are fit for purpose. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is perhaps the most common. Derived from the disposition of your attendees (or exhibitors) to recommend the event on a scale of 1 to 10, an event’s NPS is a fairly clear indicator of success. That said, NPS surveys should include an opportunity for qualitative feedback to facilitate actionable insights. It may even be worth personally following up with outliers that give an event an especially low score. Holt points out that “being able to demonstrate to attendees that their feedback has been listened to, and what steps have been put in place to address any concerns, is incredibly powerful” when it comes to engaging members and, ultimately, delivering greater value. This will also help to develop a sense of community around an event as it conveys a sense of influence over how the event evolves; listening to and actioning feedback underscores an organization’s commitment to serve the member community. But directly asking attendees and other stakeholders how much they liked the event only offers one piece of the puzzle. A more comprehensive analysis involves an array of data from a variety of sources. Text analysis from social media sources, engagement data on virtual platforms and event apps, and longer qualifying surveys all contribute to the bigger picture. However, a challenge many organizers face when collating that data is an inability to reconcile it across a single event, nevermind a whole annual event program. Inconsistent data formats on the part of disparate tools and systems makes it rather difficult to compare events. One way to side-step this issue is to set top-down survey standards for collecting attendee and exhibitor feedback. Asking questions in a consistent format with consistent language across all events reduces the guesswork and interpretive lift when comparing one event to another. In this way, it makes it a lot easier to establish benchmarks as well -- and benchmarks are the ultimate goal for measuring progress in your event’s impact. Whereas a trend of moderate increases in revenue can come from a number of mechanisms (increasing ticket prices, higher volume registrations), the trend of consistent improvement in the user experience is what leads to a legacy of meeting objectives and changing behaviour -- in other words, value. While internal benchmarks give associations insight into how well their events are doing relative to other events they’re putting on, the same principle can be extrapolated for all the events within a given industry. In other words, your fall conference might be doing better than your spring conference, but only through industry benchmarks can you know how well either are doing in a more objective sense. Operating with established industry data conventions allows you to tap into insights that go beyond your specific organization’s event portfolio. Not only does it streamline the process for collecting feedback by somewhat answering the question of what to ask your stakeholders for you, but it allows the data you get back to stand apples to apples against the industry standard. Intentionally gathering and analysing data in consistent formats allows conference and exhibition organizers to not only demonstrate the strategic impact of their events, but to determine how they fare against the rest of the market. Want to find out more? The Event Impact Playbook which aims to help event organisers measure the impact of events so that they can underpin their next strategic event is available to download for free here.
This month, Explori’s Sophie Holt was invited by M&IT magazine to shares findings from the latest Global Recovery Insights study 2021, which reveals how corporate event professionals and their businesses really feel about returning to live events… Originally created for M&IT Magazine The great comeback One year on and businesses who regularly exhibit at trade shows are still sorely missing live events. While the absence of trade shows has meant some resources have been diverted into other channels, businesses have been unable to replicate the value of trade shows in key areas. 66 per cent of businesses reported reduced networking opportunities and 44 per cent felt fewer leads had been generated due to the lack of live trade shows. As a result, both visitors and exhibitors are now eager to participate in events at roughly the same frequency as they did pre‐pandemic (2018/19). With 72 per cent of existing visitors saying they plan to attend trade shows at the same or increased frequency, this indicates a positive appetite from attendee audiences for the return to the show floor. For exhibitors at trade shows, the intention to participate in future events has also returned to pre‐pandemic levels, with 62 per cent planning to exhibit at the same or increased frequency as before. Will the money return? While some event marketers are still having to reduce their trade show budgets, overall the cuts have been less severe and less widespread than feared. Three quarters of exhibiting businesses expect their budget to return to pre‐pandemic levels within 12 months. Spending on corporate events may also decrease, but like trade shows, the impact seems less severe than was suggested in 2020. Interestingly, there is evidence that event marketers are prepared to protect investment in the shows they do choose to support, suggesting that high‐quality shows could be protected from budget cuts. Of the marketers who will reduce their spend, three quarters are looking to exhibit at fewer shows and half will reduce their spend on travel and accommodation. However, of the respondents planning to save money by exhibiting at fewer shows, 60 per cent will maintain their spend on design and build and 67 per cent will continue to invest the same amount in floor space. Unlike previous years where visitor numbers were the driving factor, 86 per cent of businesses exhibiting stated visitor quality is a large influence on their decision to support a show, against 67 per cent who are influenced by visitor numbers. This ‘quality is judged primarily through previous experience at a show, suggesting established shows with high Net Promoter Scores (NPSs) are well placed to attract investment, but shows that are highly recommended are also valued, with over half of respondents saying this has a bearing on their decision. Going digital Across the entire survey, there is no evidence to suggest a wholesale shift away from live events towards digital – budgets for virtual events have remained flat. Whilst visitors appreciate the time and cost savings offered by digital and find it a convenient way to consume content, live events are still preferred across every aspect of the experience due to their unique ability to offer a high quality of networking and overall experience. For exhibit marketers and sponsors, the live experience is still valued across all aspects, and above hybrid. Only 64 per cent of exhibitors have participated in a digital event, up from just 52 per cent 12 months previously. Explori’s exhibitor NPSSM benchmark for digital events sits well below that for live events. This suggests exhibitors’ experience at digital events is a significant challenge for organisers who wish to pursue revenue for a digital model. Is hybrid the best of both worlds? Hybrid events would seem to have the potential to combine the best of live networking and discovery with the best of digital content consumption. However, the cohort of visitors who have experienced a hybrid event were not enthusiastic about them. While better than a purely digital event, hybrid was seen as a detraction from the live event and there is evidence that hybrid events are waning in popularity as live events return. Is there any future for digital and hybrid? Previous studies have shown that digital had the potential to attract new audiences, particularly where the show was new. This has been borne out by the many events which have seen an increase in visitor numbers to their digital shows. It appears this new digital audience has the potential to convert to a live audience in future, with around half of exhibitors and visitors saying they would be highly likely to attend an event in‐person given the chance, having previously discovered it digitally. The Panel For the first time, the Global Insights report surveyed a senior group of UK and US decision-makers who had no experience of using trade shows as part of their marketing mix prior to the pandemic. The results revealed that this group had been much more digitally engaged over the previous 12 months, having been much more likely to sponsor a digital event or organise their own than our exhibitor respondents. This group is also interestingly more likely to convert from digital participation to in‐person participation than either current visitors or exhibitors. They were also highly likely to continue to participate in digital with over two‐thirds saying they would continue to run their own digital events and sponsor and exhibit at third‐party digital events. Most strikingly, 55 per cent of this group now believe that they will exhibit at in‐person trade shows more frequently. What will the future of trade shows look like? The research identified four key findings regarding the future of trade shows. Digital has the potential to broaden both the exhibitor and visitor audience. It will play a part in enhancing communities around the event, providing better access to content and a more curated experience. The quality of the audience over quantity of numbers will rise in value. Future organisers will focus on engaging the highest quality audience and the narrative will shift away from selling based on the number of attendees. As a result, the floor plan will change. Future organisers will offer a range of sponsorships and activations to help exhibitors capitalise on more curated, meaningful engagement with high-quality visitors, rather than focusing on footfall. Booth design and exhibit strategy will change accordingly. Future organisers will also work more collaboratively with exhibitors at trade shows to ensure that the value proposition, both on and offline, is designed in conjunction with the exhibitor’s objectives and maximise investment is fully understood. In summary The Global Recovery Insights survey reflects the optimism felt by the exhibition industry that live events are returning to pre‐pandemic levels. Budget cuts have not been as harsh as predicted and spending is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels within an average show cycle. Quality shows are likely to be protected and digital has opened up new opportunities to convert naysayers to the power of live! The research was conducted by the live events research specialists Explori, in partnership with UFI and supported by SISO, has just been published. The global quantitative survey of trade show visitors and exhibitors, carried out in the summer of 2021, collectively gained 15,000 responses representing trade show participation in over 30 countries. The full Global Recovery Insights report is now available to download here.
Engaging members, growing the membership base and generating funds are three major objectives for any association and are frequently addressed by hosting regular events. Richard Kensett, Explori's commercial director explains how drawing on data to measure the impact of events on audiences’ engagement can lead to better and more financially attractive events, and ultimately enhanced membership value. Originally created Boardroom Magazine From conferences and award ceremonies to specialist training and networking sessions, events can take a variety of forms and offer a range of benefits to members. Association event organisers tend to have a sense of how an event is received but lack a robust way of measuring how it has performed in the eyes of the attendees. Many gather post-event feedback by using simple tools, but as associations come under greater scrutiny to demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) from their engagement activities, more sophisticated survey platforms and analysis are needed. According to my colleague Sophie Holt, managing director at Explori, “as associations grapple with proving real value for their members, measuring and benchmarking events is one way to help organisers deliver real value to the association to underpin its goals.” Gathering meaningful data across the customer journey By gathering and absorbing the results of data-driven measures of success across not only their events, but also across many different touchpoints with their membership , associations can gain a clearer understanding of where they add value and where they need to alter their event(s) or their overarching membership value proposition. According to Holt, “having performance measurement tools allows associations to increase their efficiency and effective use of resources. They provide a picture of how individual activities contribute to the wider membership experience associations are trying to create.” Surveys, social media engagement, attendee tracking, matchmaking, polls, registration tools and apps that collate demographic and sentiment data are all ways that attendee data can be gathered and used to build a holistic picture of attendees over the course of the customer journey. That data can then be used to gain actionable insights to enhance future events, create a more attractive financially contributing event, and also deliver member value. Holt advises, “consider what data sources will tell you the who; the what; but most importantly, the why?’; only then consider how you are going to gather the data and turn it into valuable insights. “Using integrated research tools to benchmark an event’s success over time and against competitors, allows a narrative to be drawn out of the data. Being able to see where an event has succeeded and identify areas where it has fallen short gives the planning team valuable insights which they can use to improve future events.” Event measurement for association events There are a number of KPIs that help organisers predict the conditions an event may face in its next cycle. The Net Promoter Score (NPSSM) is one useful measure of advocacy (i.e. the likelihood someone will recommend the event), while another is the ‘loyalty versus ‘satisfaction’ matrix, made up of ‘hostages’, ‘apostles’, ‘mercenaries’ and ‘disaffected’. Hostages are categorised as unsatisfied but likely to return. A high percentage of hostages puts an event at significant risk if the organiser does not deliver for this group. Hostages are at risk of moving into the disaffected group (unlikely to return), so it is better to focus time and effort on this group as the event is still likely to be important to them, rather than risk losing them. Understanding the sentiment of these groups gives organisers the power to proactively address any hidden challenges that they might not be aware of. Holt points out that “being able to demonstrate to attendees that their feedback has been listened to and what steps have been put in place to address any concerns is incredibly powerful and likely to be a key way in which attendees are engaged, ultimately delivering greater value.” By effectively gathering and analysing data, associations can benchmark themselves against their competitors to demonstrate the strategic value their events offer members, ultimately delivering better value to those who matter the most. CASE STUDY The issue Like the majority of associations, the Chicago Dental Society (CDS) runs a programme of events throughout the year. From saving the compromised tooth to tax deductions most dentists miss, holding events is an integral part of its offering, sharing best practices amongst members and promoting continued professional development. For the past 156 years, The CDS has run a Midwinter Meeting every February. Feedback from the event has been gathered on rudimentary survey tools, which didn’t provide a robust way of understanding how the event performed in the eyes of the attendees and exhibitors. The CDS turned to Explori to help it understand how this annual event was performing against the global healthcare sector and to use robust data to underpin its instincts. The approach Explori gathered data at three key points throughout the customer journey: pre-event (demographic), at event (experience), and post event (survey). At the registration phases, attendees and exhibitors were asked about their objectives in attending the Midwinter Meeting. Attendees' and exhibitors’ engagement was gathered at the show, and the responses were mapped to provide a post-event analysis. Following the Meeting, Explori blended four KPIs together to provide a single overall event score: overall satisfaction, likelihood to return (loyalty), NPSSM and event importance. These different questions impact upon each other and aggregated together create an easily digestible single point of truth, without emphasis being placed on any single factor. Understanding whether objectives are being met and which are the most important is done using correlation analysis. The percentage of attendees who report their objectives as having been met is mapped against their overall satisfaction to understand if meeting a certain objective meant they were more or less satisfied with the event. From the data, Explori created ‘your event story’, an analysis that enabled the senior leadership to understand the attendees and exhibitors’ experiences of, and feelings towards, the event. The analysis allowed leadership to prioritise those areas of improvement that would have the most meaningful impact on the attendees’ and exhibitors’ overall experience. The outcome Strategic recommendations to improve future events were made as a result of this data and benchmarking. The CDS will continue to work with Explori to build-up an understanding of the value their Midwinter Meeting event offers their members and attendees over the next few years as the show reverts to live in 2022. Data will support intuition and ensure the best of the show is retained and change occurs when necessary. Want to find out more? The Event Impact Playbook which aims to help event organisers measure the impact of events so that they can underpin their next strategic event is available to download for free here.