Event technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past two years, yet many event marketers still haven’t unlocked the full value that tech providers can offer. Data management is a case in point.
The increasing use of event tech has given event profs and marketers access to a wealth of data, but without proper management, it can easily become overwhelming. To get the most from event analytics, event organizers and marketers need tools that leverage two-way integration with CRM (client relationship management) software and MAPs (marketing automation platforms).
CRMs and MAPs can be so much more than registration platforms. When data flows seamlessly between an event platform and the best-in-breed MAPs, event marketers can take advantage of a self-managing feedback loop. This type of data exchange is constantly working in the background to improve the attendee experience with greater and greater personalization while also feeding into the marketing team’s sales funnel with increasingly targeted tactics.
By understanding this process and the benefits events stand to gain, event profs can harness the power of data to unlock personalized event experiences that deliver real value.
Understanding data terminology
Event tech comes with its own jargon. Before event professionals can understand how best to manage and use data, we must first understand the language behind data.
Check out our foundational glossary of data terminology used in this post:
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and essentially refers to how a business manages its relationships with existing and potential clients/customers. In this post, we will be referring to CRM from the technological perspective — a CRM system or software. CRM systems help businesses, event planners, and marketers build relationships with customers through streamlining processes while gathering and tracking customer data.
MAP stands for Marketing Automation Platform. Usually used as a web-based solution, a MAP automates and streamlines routine and repetitive marketing work, like emails, landing pages, campaigns, and social media posts. Marketo, Eloqua and Hubspot are popular MAPs.
When referring to tech integration, we mean combining different types of tech (apps and tools) to produce a favorable outcome that enhances problem-solving and adds value.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is a software intermediary that talks to other applications or tools and connects them. Because of this functionality, APIs are essential in setting up tech integration that operates effectively.
An event tech stack is pieces of technology and products that you put together to create a digital event experience.
Automation is the process whereby a technology requires minimal human intervention to deliver the desired results, like sending out an email marketing campaign or capturing data from one platform to another automatically.
Two-way data flow
Two-way data means data flows in both directions — updates between systems are made automatically on both sides, for example, the data moving between an event platform and CRM.
Lead scores are numerical values assigned to potential leads that demonstrate their inclination to become a sale or client.
Unlocking the value of your event data
Data is of little use unless you understand how to set up your integrations correctly, what your data means and how to use it:
DEFINE YOUR OBJECTIVES
Unlocking the value of event data requires planners to carefully select event tech stack integrations that match their event needs.
To understand this fully, planners must begin by clarifying their overall event objectives and understanding their event journey. Like, if a planner wishes to gather data to convert into potential leads, the tech that will most likely work best is integrating with a CRM such as Veeva. Or providing a platform to make attendee networking easily accessible while pulling data, like automatically syncing confirmed meetings into an agenda using Braindate.
USING “BEST-IN-BREED” TECH
One trend that we are seeing become a preferred way of setting up tech integrations in 2022 is adopting a “best-in-breed” approach.
A best-in-breed tech stack differs from an all-in-one platform because it allows planners to choose the most effective event tools and integrate them into their events for different functions — leading to better event personalization and relevant data for capturing. Examples include using a particular event tech for registration, CRMs, MAPs, and event engagement.
Utilizing best-in-breed provides capabilities to incorporate advanced integrations, like CRMs and MAPs, that pull multiple streams of data from an event instead of registration only and give a comprehensive overview of attendee activity to formulate profiles while automatically updating in real-time. This in-depth overview could include data on a specific attendee profile giving insight into sessions attended, surveys, polls, and Q&A results while automatically pulling the data into the CRM or MAP platform.
Bringing these tools into your digital event experiences (either in-person, hybrid, or virtual) allows for maximum efficiency while providing consistent data that can be used for ongoing improvement.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
While integrating best-in-breed tools will provide an enhanced event experience and capture data more efficiently, planners must ensure that their chosen tech stack (like your CRM and MAP) is also set up to run correctly. Otherwise, the data you receive from your event may not make sense or be usable — you must sort your data into the right places.
Further, you should check the capabilities of your platform regarding APIs. Without APIs, a planner will have to spend a lot of resources (think time and money) manually capturing the data. This connecting-the-dots process should also include checking if your integration is read-only or read-write (referring to two-way data traffic), how often data transfers happen between systems, the level of data security, and who owns the data.
When capturing data through integrations, planners gain valuable insights into attendee behavior, needs, and interests — helping create event experiences relevant to their audience.
This personalization through data could include:
- Content structure (shaping content to attendee interest, needs, and relevant news)
- Having the option to pre-select or recommend agenda sessions
- Networking with like-minded people
- Offering increasingly refined experiences tailored to individual attendees
In addition, by incorporating real-time responsiveness through two-way data exchange, planners can manage and adjust an ongoing event and shape future event experiences.
The benefits of:
TWO-WAY DATA FLOW
Having two-way data flow within your tech stack allows information to flow freely between your event platform and CRM/MAPs platforms or your event platform and website. Either way, this two-way communication between platforms, tools, and apps is beneficial for planners and their events, especially when the process is automated.
Two-way data flow that updates automatically saves planners the hassle of updating the information themselves while minimizing mistakes and providing the data in easy-to-use, accessible formats on the platform.
This data flow allows planners to decide on the appropriate connection response when reaching out to specific attendee groups pre, during, or post-event, including how often (daily, weekly, or quarterly) and which medium will work best (like email, push notifications, a phone call, or social media).
Further, data captured can generate lead scores, which are valuable when seeing where attendees are in the sales funnel and determining which action is best to take next: A follow-up email? A webinar? Or a social media campaign?
Feedback event professionals receive from a best-in-breed tech stack gives ongoing and consistent evaluations — helping them troubleshoot, improve where needed and tweak their event strategies with solid data.
This extended feedback is made possible by tracking attendee activities and engagement. This loop translates into a continual refinement of attendee profiles matching with CRM/MAP client profiles and allows planners to improve the event experience on an ongoing basis.
Event professionals no longer need to feel out of their depth when mapping their event journey using event tech to enhance the overall experience and ROI. By understanding the ins and outs of event data, what works and what doesn’t, we can unlock the value of event data — the continuous improvement and personalization of the event experience.