| 04/24/2018

As technology advances—with the expanding use of artificial intelligence and machine learning—the importance of having unified event data continues to intensify.

When a set of event data isn’t connected to a related set of event data, the intrinsic value of both sets is wasted.

“For the event industry, the goal is to provide a personalized experience for the attendee and to ensure they are getting the right solutions from the event,” says Cory Smith, managing director of digital solutions at Atlanta-based event company Shepard. “By linking connected data sets, you have an opportunity to understand their inferred interests and make better recommendations.”

Here are three ways that event professionals can capitalize on the growth of unified event data thanks to AI, machine learning and other tech tools.

  1. Exhibitors and marketers can identify and connect with the most qualified buyers and prospects.

“For years, the organizers would provide guides and open the doors and hope that buyers and sellers connected,” Smith says. “The technology today allows for a more deliberate approach to making the right connections. This process is not unique to events and attendees; it applies to other verticals, online and face to face.”

  1. Better predictive analytics can be delivered.

“While machine learning models can be trained on one data set’s features with very good predictive outcomes, deeper insight can be obtained or corroborated with complementary sets, expanding the predictive scope and power of the original model,” Smith says.

  1. Data-driven marketing can help boost attendance.

For instance, unified data allows segmentation of a group curious about a certain product category, Smith says. The ability to deliver highly personalized, relevant content based on predicted interests creates better engagement and conversions, he says, and can lead to higher attendance at events targeted at that group.

Furthermore, content and topics searched through the registration process and other online activity can be the foundation of future campaigns focused on relevant sessions at your events, Smith says.

Unified data can also:

  • Provide insights into registration trends related to job types, industry verticals and geography to drive campaigns in emerging areas tied to an industry or event.
  • Match buyers’ interests with the right exhibitors to improve the experience for both.
  • Build an event agenda based on input provided by attendees during the registration process.
  • Identify interests tied to behaviors uncovered during the registration journey, with that knowledge being used to develop lead scores for exhibitors.
  • Enable insights into a marketplace—pain points, interests, trends and so forth. This can come from surveys, audience engagement measurements, registration information, social media activity, attendee tracking and lead retrieval. “There are many data collection points,” Smith says, “and the key is to unify the like data sets to drive a clear view of your event.”

 

So, now that you realize how great unified data is, what’s the best approach to unifying your data?

The ideal environment is the cloud, as it forces multiple channels through the API pipeline and establishes uniformity, Smith says.

“Once on the cloud, augmenting the unified data set is a breeze, as the multiple cognitive APIs and machine-learning platforms are native to that environment,” he says.

Even though unifying data sets through the cloud is a “breeze,” Smith acknowledges that some event professionals initially might not embrace data the way they should.

“When you start talking about data, dashboards and predictive analytics, most event organizers tent to lose interest,” he says. “But it’s important to highlight the outcomes and opportunities to grow and improve the value of their event.”

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