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ROI of event personalization Infographic courtesy Eventsforce

Data, Data All Around—But What to Do with It?

The new study from Eventsforce says event planners have plenty of data on attendees, but struggle to use it effectively.

A research study released this week by Eventsforce says that personalization and data-driven marketing is a growing priority for 73 percent of event planners, yet more than 50 percent struggle to see how effective their efforts are in engaging attendees and building brand loyalty.

Of the 150 senior event planners surveyed, 56 percent don’t end up using all the data they collect for the purpose of personalization and another 44 percent find it difficult to determine how much personalization they should actually do, according to the company.

The research findings are based on the views of event professional based in the U.S. and the U.K. and represent corporates, associations, government and educational institutions, professional conference organizers, and event management agencies.

The “ROI of Event Personalization” research study conducted by Eventsforce last month has found that an overwhelming 96 percent of event planners use some form of personalization across their events.

Tailored event invitations topped the list as the most popular method of personalization at 89 percent, followed by personalized communications at 71 percent, which includes things such as attendee emails and dedicated landing pages on event websites. Other tactics include pre-populated registration forms and tailored registration paths for different types of attendees. Lower on the list are personalized on-site experiences, including catering and giveaways at 24 percent, followed by personalized push notifications and concierge services using apps and chatbots.

The study found that the increasing use of data-capture tools such as registration forms and mobile apps are also fueling the drive for event personalization as they help event planners collect valuable information on attendees to create more powerful and customized event experiences. When investigating which tools are seen as the most effective for sourcing personalization data, the findings revealed that registration systems topped the list at 84 percent, followed by CRM and marketing solutions at 62 percent. Almost a third of respondents also rely on data collected from surveys and event apps.

“The findings of the study have been interesting because despite the demand for personalization and the abundant use of data collection tools, a lot of the personalization data that event planners are actually collecting from attendees is not being used,” said George Sirius, CEO of Eventsforce. “The results show that only 44 percent of event planners use most of their personalization data, with another 22 percent claiming they can’t get the insight they need from the data they have.”

The study also looked at some of the other issues event planners are currently facing around personalization. Almost two-thirds of respondents felt they lacked the sufficient time and resources to personalize experiences effectively, while 31 percent struggle to measure the return of their personalization efforts.

Other issues revolved around data management, including determining what questions to ask attendees for the purpose of personalization, getting the balance right between providing value and protecting attendee privacy and dealing with data inaccuracy.

“The issue of data is a big one when it comes to personalization,” Sirius added. “Before even starting the process, you need to think about what data you’re going to collect from attendees and agree across your organization on how this data is going to be used for the purpose of personalization. Attendees also need to understand why you’re gathering their information and how it is going to bring value to their event experience. Getting that balance right is really key if you want personalization to work.”

London-based Eventsforce provides web-based event management software that powers thousands of successful events each year. With headquarters in London (UK), its customers span 14 different countries and represent some of the leading names in finance, education, government, associations, PCOs and publishing. Its highly customizable software is designed to provide an end-to-end management solution that addresses every aspect of the event life cycle, from planning, marketing and registration to abstracts and awards management, as well as on-site management and event reporting.


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