Derrick M. Johnson, II, CMP, DES
Chief Diversity Officer & Director of Event Strategy, Talley Management Group
Not only have virtual events driven sustainable results, but they have proven to be valuable resources for connecting and engaging global stakeholders. Everything in the virtual space is focused more on the real-time user experience (i.e., when I click this button, something will happen) compared to in-person events where the attendees have limited control.
In this digitally driven world where preference, data consumption, and digital footprints are quickly changing, event strategists must optimize their experience strategy by focusing on data consumption and usability.
Many business event strategists struggle with the ratio of questions on the registration forms (short and concise vs. comprehensive). Meaningful information provided during registration beyond food preferences, pronouns, and accessibility needs will strengthen our abilities to plan for inclusion.
What happens when we ask participants to highlight any diversity requests or even articulate their goals for attending the experience? Even though these are easy to implement and send a strong signal of thoughtfulness and inclusivity to event audiences, strategists do not collectively use these approaches.
Event organizers of tomorrow need to be more conscious about delivering exceptional experiences based on the actual personas of delegates. The only way to identify these personas and the types of actions that fit them is through data.
Data in action
Beyond collecting the data via questionnaires, it is essential to understand how we can use it when developing an event strategy. Virtual events provide organizers great insight into the habits and experiences of each participant. Comparing this information and connecting it back to the developed personas could provide useful predictive analytics for future events. To enhance the user experience, we must leverage data.
Some of the most impressive virtual platforms leverage predictive analytics and algorithms using artificial intelligence. This technology helps increase audience engagement by saving the participant time by making meaningful connections to content, resources, speakers, and other participants.
Taking real-time insights and comparing them to what audience members said they wanted provides a clearer picture of the audience psyche — by understanding, we can customize. Many advanced bots have speech-text capabilities, providing users virtual personal assistance during sessions. It is essential to understand that artificial intelligence needs many data points to be successful, rather than just showing you illogical connections — it is not human after all.
Collecting meaningful information and harnessing the power of data is the future of business events. Technology and innovation have created empowered consumers, and the expectations are higher than ever. Now we need to give people what they want, when and how they want it — but first, there are leading questions to ask.