Aidan Augusti (pictured), co-founder of event personalisation platform Feathr, says events are changing, and organisers need to change with them.
The future of events is still about real face-to-face interaction, but technology has been changing our relationship with live events for years now.
Seminars have become webinars, networking has become social networking, and buyers can increasingly purchase anything they need without getting up from their chairs.
The popularity of online content and social media raises the question of whether conferences and exhibitions are still the best place to network, learn about trends, and generate leads. I contend that live events will always remain valuable, but their value is changing. Fast.
With the pressure mounting on traditional conference and exhibition business models, the events industry needs to be proactive in creating new ideas in order to evolve along with its fluctuating value proposition. I believe the answer lies in personalisation.
In the same way that consumer technology helps make our everyday lives as efficient as possible, offering personalised event experiences – before, during and after the event – will enhance the experience for organisers, visitors and exhibitors, making attendance at live events increasingly appealing.
Tools to walk the talk
For event organisers to personalise experiences before, during and after the event, they need to properly understand the customer’s journey. This will only happen through a significant investment in data infrastructure. Collecting data is pointless unless you do something with it.
Organisers must use their data to offer unique event experiences or face being left behind. At the very least, they need to capture insights from data-heavy sources such as event registration, customer relationship management data, social followers and website analytics.
Harnessing this data is key to the next step of personalisation. Using data in this highly targeted way is only the beginning of personalised event experiences for organisers.
This can include the digital delivery of bespoke training, sharing best practice and advice and exhibitor information – all tailored to what the customer has shown an interest in. Such technologies will help tackle the engagement challenge, especially for millennials, and give customers an opportunity to make better, more informed decisions based on real-time data on the show floor.
The events industry isn’t going to experience an overnight change. Taking small steps towards meeting event audiences’ needs through personalisation will be crucial in boosting attendance numbers and exhibitor bookings, helping the sector to achieve the growth it needs.
Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of the feature that appeared in the August issue of EN. The digital version is available now.