Better attendee data

What event attendees do gives you better data than what they answered when registering

The more data we have, the better. Many people think like this when creating a set of questions for the registration form of an event.

The logic is correct. Knowing about what attendees are looking for is the best way to create a great event experience for them.

Here is the problem. All this information is useless if the data is bad. And bad data is what you get when you force people to answer twenty questions to get a ticket.

This happens for two reasons. First, many will try to cut corners and finish the process as fast as possible (“Can I get my bloody ticket already?”). Second, people are increasingly concerned about the use of their personal data.

In short, you want as much data as possible about your attendee’s real interests, but people want to share as little data as possible. Where do you go from here?

Focus your attention on creating a simpler experience for attendees before and during the event. Below are five steps on how to do this. 

1. Keep the registration process short and sweet

Ask only essential, high-level questions to understand the demographics and main goals of your attendees. Help people join the event with as little effort as possible.

2. Force people to prioritise their main interest

On your registration form, ask multiple-choice questions that allow only a single answer. “Are you most interested in apples, oranges, or pears?”. Even if they are interested in all the options, forcing them to prioritise will bring in more valuable data.

3. Implement technology that makes recommendations before the event

Once people express their main interest, recommend different event experiences based on the option they selected. If attendees responded they are most interested in apples, only make exhibitor recommendations matching this answer.

4. Help people discover more of what they are looking for

During the event, learn from attendees actions. Monitor if they are visiting exhibitors selling Red Delicious apples, Jonathan apples, or Granny Smith apples. Use this information to make specific recommendations in real-time, such as “You showed interest in 3 exhibitors selling Red Delicious apples. Would you like to see similar exhibitors?”.

5. What attendees do is more important than what they say

If an attendee said they were interested in apples in their registration form but they are only visiting exhibitors selling oranges, it’s clear which information you should prioritise. Instead of collecting a lot of information before the event, focus on observing what happens during the event. 

People are not who they say they are. People are what they do.

The same principle applies to your attendees. Their actions during an event give you better data than anything they said when registering. Keep this in mind when organising future events.

Can you think of other steps to get better data from attendees? Let me know in the comments. 

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