Thank you to session sponsor, GES!
Data has been at the forefront of our industry. Many have advised us on the importance of data and our industry has done a tremendous job of gathering data. However, we are lost when it comes to connecting the dots with the amount of data gathered. Taking on the task of deciphering data can appear intimidating and overwhelming. Similar to the Intersection of Science and Creativity session, the speakers tackle how to effectively use data by presenting case studies of successes and failures with data analytics.
- David Saef, CTSM, EVP, Strategy & MarketWorks, GES
- Meta Brown, President, A4A Brown
- Hyoun Park, Founder & CEO, Amalgam Insights
First things first…
Do you have a data strategy? Polling the audience in the room, Saef reveals that 65% did have a data strategy. Knowing that data is important in making business decisions, the expectation would have been that the percentage would be higher. However, most things are better said than done.
Saef conducted another poll with the audience asking them on their top event challenge. 77% wanted to find a way to increase attendees and exhibitors at their event(s). Most exhibition industry professionals worry that face-to-face connections will dwindle and the livelihood of the exhibitions industry is at risk. However, the answer to these worries is data.
The speakers gave case studies of companies outside our industry and how they used data – detailing the highs and lows of data analytics.
High: JustFab’s Use of Personalization
JustFab is an online subscription fashion retailer that carries selections of shoes, handbags, jewelry and denim. When entering the site and becoming a member, the user completes a style quiz. Using the answers from the quiz, JustFab offers an array of fashion options to their members, creating a personalized shopping experience.
More and more of show attendees want personalization. Echoing off what JustFab does for its members, show organizers can create personalized experiences for their attendees based off of the registration data. Look at your registration data and find out what offerings resonated with certain groups of people. Decide if those offerings should be implemented next year and what type of people would attend those offerings.
Low: The Netflix Prize
Known for its crowdsourcing and putting the user first, Netflix crowdsourced its research and development by offering up $1 million to anyone who can improve their recommendation engine. A group of engineers won and were paid the prize money. So, what could go wrong?
Netflix didn’t implement the solution because it was too complex for practical application. The company didn’t realize just how much work it would take to implement the solution. On top of that, they were out $1 million.
Make sure there is a plan and if something is feasible to implement. Not thinking your strategy through can cause wasted energy, time and money.
High: Iron Maiden Follows the (Illegal) Buzz
English heavy metal band, Iron Maiden wanted to be where their fans were and perform sold out shows. What they didn’t expect was the journey in selling out their shows. The Iron Maiden team followed their fans’ conversations on social media platforms. They found out that their music was illegally downloaded at a high volume in South America.
Instead of jumping to legal consequences, Iron Maiden did a tour in South America and it proved to be a success. Iron Maiden listened to their fans and followed their fan base.
For their events, show organizers may want to increase their international attendance. However, there may be a decision to take the show internationally. Instead of having the attendees come to you, take your show to them.
Low: M.D. Anderson Cognitive Computing Initiative Fail
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center was all set to change the future of healthcare. M.D. Anderson planned on using IBM’s Watson cognitive computing system to expedite clinical decision-making around the globe and match patients to clinical trials.
The future had to wait. The Watson product ended up not working with Anderson’s new electronic medical records system. The inability to connect the analysis tool with the operations data proved to be costly and an embarrassing setback. The incident showed that the analysis ended before it even began.
How to Avoid Analytics Failures
Make a good plan. The reason why analytics fail is because companies did not have a plan for success. Having a plan is not rocket science and should be the first thing finalized when dealing with data analytics.
Figure out what the process will be in reaching your business goals. Pave a clear path in achieving success with your show by laying out the steps to get there.
You need to be involved. Do not take a hands-off approach in dealing with data analytics, no matter how intimidating it may be. It’s better to know a lot about your business and a little about analytics than the other way around.
The intersection of affordable event technologies and data collection has opened new opportunities and challenges to event leaders. Knowing what data to collect and analyzing the data to provide a customized and tailored experience is key for success.
Data analytics is a big concept, but take it apart piece by piece. Invest the time and energy in creating a data strategy and process in achieving doable business goals. Keep it simple and the success will follow.
For this and other insightful commentary on the future of exhibitions, we invite you to apply for registration for the 2018 Predict conference, taking place on 13-14 September at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD.