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Conversations: Marius Milcher on High-Profile Partnerships, Helping Events Teams “Be the Heroes,” and What’s Next for RainFocus Integrations 

13 Dec 2023 | Jessica F. Lillian | 5 minutes

Any data is only valuable when it’s available and accessible. From the start, the RainFocus platform has included extensive features to set event data free from its traditional silos. Data must be immediately, broadly actionable. That’s why Marius Milcher, group product manager, strategic integrations at RainFocus, has led ongoing work in developing partnerships and integrations that further enhance events’ role in omnichannel marketing. We recently sat down with Marius for his expert take on everything from companies’ most common data integration challenges to the right uses of generative AI. He also gave us a sneak peek at an exciting new sales-focused RainFocus feature set in Salesforce.

Event data is very important, especially to integrate into the broader marketing tech stack. What are some current best practices? 

People are placing a lot more importance on data. Many companies made large investments into their customer platforms and they’re trying to use data to better understand their customers’ interests

With in-person events back, there’s a need to capture all the data coming out there as well. Data capture was easier in digital settings, where you can track engagement and so on. In person, there is a different set of challenges.

RainFocus covers the entire attendee journey, from registration to post-event activities, and captures key granular activities, including visiting exhibitors, attending sessions, and more. Uncovering the attendee journey helps you make better use of the investments being made into the event channel. It’s also an opportunity to activate an optimized attendee experience and add new dimensions, such as greater personalization. Having data in real time rather than waiting for batch jobs to process allows you to act quickly. 

What are the most common obstacles to getting to that ideal level of data integration and usability? 

The key is latency. As consumers, we want things really quickly now. But for many organizations, latency is the reality of the software and tech stacks they have inherited. They know the outcomes they want, but the challenge is getting there with their technology and potentially navigating a lot of complexity.  

The full tech stack isn’t just the event platforms. You need to look at things like the CRM and MAP, which aren’t isolated to events. How do you get that data into hands of the people who need it — fast? Streamlining and simplifying is the goal of RainFocus integrations. 

RainFocus has some high-profile partnerships with Adobe and Salesforce. What does that say about how events are becoming more integral to the overall business and less siloed?

The Adobe and Salesforce partnerships are key. One dominates in the marketing space, and one dominates in the sales space (with some overlap). Together, they represent the core components of where your event data needs to go so that its full value can be realized. 

Having sales understand the engagement levels and patterns of their accounts is critical. Marketing also needs a wealth of data to quickly act on. Both Adobe and Salesforce often have the major systems of record for their customers, so the value of event data can be immediately maximized.  

Events are often a big chunk of the CMO’s budget, and the value they generate for the business is more important than ever. 

With the ongoing popularity of remote and hybrid work, events are critical for getting that facetime with customers and prospects. It’s more than just a get-together — it’s a business necessity. So it’s something that needs to be measured more comprehensively. 

Ultimately, it’s about helping the events teams be heroes. They put a lot of work into the planning and execution of an event, and it takes a lot of time. The data proves the return, and by making that data easier to integrate, they can spend more time on the events themselves. 

Generative AI is a big topic in the events industry and beyond — what are the most promising possibilities and use cases?

In our space, workflow efficiencies is a big potential benefit. Asking questions of your data without needing to be a PhD-level data scientist or waiting a long time to get answers can be very helpful. There are great efficiencies to be found in reporting and analysis — testing a hypothesis, uncovering patterns in the data, and so on.

For event content generation, there are both opportunities and risks. For example, if you have a talk track that’s completely artificially generated, you lose originality and the human quality of the content. The whole reason we go to events is human contact and engagement. We have to be careful there. 

With any exciting tech development, there’s a balance between wanting to be the first to try new things and being cautious. Early in the year, everyone was eager to implement generative AI, but that initial excitement now seems to be plateauing as we are seeing where we really want to go with this. Companies are looking to find the true utility — and figure out what considerations and restrictions need to be put around it. 

Finally, for clients or anyone starting to learn about the platform, what do we have in the pipeline for future RainFocus integrations?

We’re planning to help empower sales teams even more to understand event engagement. Lots of folks integrate our data with Salesforce already, so we’re creating an entire RainFocus experience in Salesforce. 

We’ve been interviewing customers on how they use the platform and what they’d like to see. There are lots of exciting features in the RainFocus platform that aren’t necessarily immediately accessible to the sales team, like one-click event registrations and access to more event data. 

With new RainFocus integrations within Salesforce, sales teams will be able to go beyond data on just contacts’ and accounts’ sessions and meetings. They can really help these attendees and engage, and they can move opportunities forward with tools like attendee nomination features, targeted agendas, and expert meeting setup. Sales reps are empowered and they can do their job better, and the entire organization enjoys a better return on their event and their investment in RainFocus.