7 Ways Tech Can Drive Better Event Data and High-Quality Leads

Stova: 7 Ways Tech Can Drive Better Event Data and High-Quality Leads

Skift Take

According to research from the Events Industry Council, exhibitors generate an average of 38 new leads from each event. But it’s not just numbers that matter: The best event technology offers a prized opportunity to gather first-party data, explore sentiment markers beyond surveys, and integrate event insights with CRM and marketing tech to superpower your event strategy going forward.

This content was created collaboratively by Stova and Skift’s branded content studio SkiftX.

As online privacy becomes a bigger priority, the tracking systems that marketers once relied upon are quickly being phased out. Amidst this shift, events are emerging as an essential source for one of today’s most valuable assets: first-party data. Effective and strategic outreach depends on a solid understanding of the customer, and event data can deliver unparalleled insights. Collecting this kind of business intelligence isn’t just a matter of knowing what to measure, but how to measure it.

For starters, it’s no longer enough to use attendee numbers as a benchmark of success. According to the Freeman 2024 Exhibitor Trends Report, “the future is about measuring and monetizing the quality of connections, not the quantity of them.” Their research showed that attendee quality is the top priority for exhibitors, with 93 percent of respondents citing this factor as “extremely” or “very” impactful. Comparatively, only 81 percent placed just as much importance on the number of attendees. Even concerns around unpredictable costs fell far behind, with only 61 percent of exhibitors assigning it the same level of impact.

So how do event organizers and exhibitors measure attendee quality? It’s not just a matter of tracking job titles, but of understanding attendee interests and behaviors — past, present, and future. To help event professionals reach this level of insight, Stova has published a step-by-step guide, From Surveys to Sentiment Data: Maximizing Event Technology for Enhanced Business Intelligence. Here are some highlights from this research.

Identifying Tools to Help Track Attendee Data

1. Streamline Data Flow With All-in-One Event Management Solutions

As exhibitors seek more quality leads from events — and look to event organizers to provide them — well-designed event technology can bring together insights into attendee behavior, preferences, and sentiment. An event technology ecosystem like Stova’s offers an end-to-end solution for events of all sizes and levels of complexity, giving both event leaders and marketers flexible options and attendee data that can be analyzed alongside broader marketing analytics.

To help you make the most of these end-to-end solutions, look for tech providers who offer exceptional customer service. Stova’s account teams, for example, collaborate with event planners to offer expert advice and recommendations. They not only provide insights into best practices for individual events, but also help planners understand the overall event ecosystem and improve stakeholder value across multiple events.

2. Offer Seamless Registration & Onsite Badging

As event planners will know, registration is your first opportunity to capture initial demographic data along with insights into the interests of your attendees. This can not only inform interactions with them before and during the event, but also in the crucial lead nurturing phase after the doors close. “While a robust lead retrieval system is key, it relies on a strong foundation from well-designed registration and badging solutions. Stova has its roots in both, and I believe that seamless registration and badging are the ‘make or break’ of any good event,” says Anush Alexander, Chief Marketing Officer for Stova.

Within your event management platform, a robust registration system can help you gather insights on attendee data, which can in turn facilitate your marketing and communications at every stage in the event planning process.

For maximum data capture, your registration platform should link seamlessly with well-designed badges. This ensures that attendees reach the show floor by minimizing wait times and streamlining the whole process. Besides allowing self-check-in to the event itself, digital badges can provide access to individual activations within the event — such as sponsor demos and session talks. Similarly, lead collection can be as simple as a quick badge scan. If your tech provider funnels this data into an automated lead-scoring system like Stova’s, exhibitors will have a quick snapshot of which prospects to prioritize during follow-up.

3. Track Movement With RFID Tracking Systems

When badging solutions integrate RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology, it’s possible to track attendee movements throughout the show floor. As a supplement to the high-touch data that a seamless badge-scanning solution offers, these metrics can provide valuable insights into foot traffic and dwell times. This not only helps to demonstrate the value of prime show floor real estate to exhibitors, but can also enhance exhibitors’ lead-scoring capabilities.

4. Measure Sentiment With Audience Response Systems

When gathering feedback about attendee sentiment, event planners have traditionally relied on post-event surveys. While these offer valuable insights, they also present challenges, from low response rates to a lack of specificity. By looking beyond surveys and instead using sentiment markers across live and digital touchpoints, organizers can get a much better understanding of how attendees really feel.

The audience response systems Stova uses allow for instant feedback, meaning higher response rates and the ability to zoom in on specific elements of your event. By segmenting surveys and delivering them to specific sessions or at specific intervals throughout the event, you can gather a richer data set. Binary feedback systems, that ask attendees to tap a positive or negative icon, are even faster and easier to implement.

Marketers can use this early sentiment data to help predict a customer’s future behavior, especially their intent to purchase again. It can also give you a better picture of the value you’re providing to attendees. This means you can be proactive about what’s working and what isn’t, and take action to improve weak spots before they escalate.

Streamlining Event Data

After measuring how engaged attendees are during particular sessions or segments of your event, it’s crucial to ensure that all this data reaches the right marketing channel. The solution: Connect event data with CRM (customer relationship management), marketing automation, and customer engagement platforms.

5. Implement Two-Way Integration With Your Marketing Tech Stack

When your tech provider offers full integration and seamless data flow with these platforms, you can get a better sense of the whole customer journey and its impact on your business. For example, by looking at event attendance alongside post-event purchasing behavior or lead conversions, you can better evaluate the event’s return on investment and further refine your marketing strategies.

Being able to integrate your event technology with CRM solutions such as Salesforce is also critical to allow for a more automated process when following up with leads. In-person interactions at events can be pivotal for establishing trust and kickstarting the buyer-seller relationship, but the post-event phase is often when sales teams clinch the deal. According to Gartner’s Future of Sales 2025 report, 80 percent of B2B sales interactions will take place on digital channels by 2025.

Stova’s end-to-end solution allows exhibitors to funnel all of this high-value event data into their digital lead nurturing systems, in turn allowing them to fine-tune the online interactions that ultimately drive conversions.

6. Collect Data With Minimal Friction

Quickly capturing essential lead data such as contact information, interests, and conversation highlights allows for efficient follow-ups. A lead retrieval system that provides instant, real-time access to scanned leads is therefore critical.

7. Qualify and Segment Leads

It’s standard practice for a lead retrieval solution to allow exhibitors to qualify and segment prospects by interest level, such as by “hot, medium, and cold” labels. However, branching surveys enable them to go deeper, segmenting by preferences and interests to create customized follow-ups with a greater chance of conversion. Predefined criteria such as budget size, purchase timeframe, or decision-making power can also help sales teams to prioritize their efforts.

To discover more tips on harnessing the power of data at in-person events, download the full report: From Surveys to Sentiment Data: Maximizing Event Technology for Enhanced Business Intelligence.

This content was created collaboratively by Stova and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.