First, let’s understand the definitions of data versus information. According to Merriam-Webster, data is defined as “factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion or calculation.” Information is defined as “knowledge obtained from investigation, study or instruction.” To put it even more simply: data is an enabler but almost always not in itself, guidance nor an answer. Conventions and trade shows may be awash in visit data, but not always in guidance or answers.
Data can be found easily on the exhibit floor or conference area. Examples include the number of attendees and their registration details (e.g. job title, location and buyer profile), RSVP data for sessions and keynotes and raw traffic data (what booths or sponsor areas were visited). For some events, even the number of cars in the parking lot of the convention represent a data point or the number of drink tickets sold for the Tuesday night networking event.
But if the parking lot of a shopping mall is jammed, does that mean most everyone inside is shopping and visiting all the stores? Does it mean they are leaving satisfied and planning a return visit? Similarly, a busy exhibit hall may look like a success but in reality, perhaps most people (and there could be a very large number of people indeed) are there but not really engaging anyone: they are only spending a minute or two at each booth – maybe less – and just collecting the proverbial free pen or squishy ball. Attendees sign up for several educational sessions and RSVP for keynotes and luncheons but when they arrive, their plans or interest levels change. What they say they will do doesn’t happen and if it does, then maybe only for a brief time. They pop in and out.
This where information comes into play. Information can tell the show organizer and marketers how interested and engaged those in attendance where. Strong analysis and intuitive reports can show which booths had the highest levels of interest by attendees based not just on how long and how often they visited, but where else in the conference they went that was related to what that exhibitor was selling. Strong analysis and intuitive reports can show how attendance and actual traffic data in each zone or session varies per hour or day based on job title or other criteria like first timers versus return visitors. Strong analysis and intuitive reports can show when the event is over, who the top visitors were based on what they actually did and experienced. A database can then be built: how did this show compare to the last three and with Panvista’s help, to other shows in the same industry?
Event data helps, but it’s information that can be acted upon with confidence. In the end, information that is curated by accurate means like beacon technology earns a more precise ROI in the hands of operations teams, exhibit sales and most importantly, event marketers.