INSIGHT Premiere Recap: Event Data, Engaging Your Attendees, and a New Role for Virtual
22 Nov 2023 | Jessica F. Lillian | 3 minutes
RainFocus INSIGHT 2024 kicked off this month with INSIGHT Premiere, the eagerly anticipated annual first chapter of our exciting INSIGHT program. This must-attend virtual event featured not only a sneak peek at the full slate of what attendees can expect at the main conference in January, but also a candid panel discussion with two accomplished industry leaders.
Michele Cole, head of global event and experience marketing at Esri, and Erica Spoor, SVP strategy at Freeman, delved into the most pressing questions and challenges that event leaders face today. Here’s a quick recap:
- Full event schedules are back, but things aren’t quite the same. Both speakers noted organizations’ excitement at hosting full in-person event schedules this year after a few years of disruptions. Nevertheless, attendance patterns have not quite stabilized, and budgets remain a concern. The value that each company’s culture places on events makes a huge difference.
- Virtual offerings still matter. Digital experiences are a key enhancement for on-site engagement and flexibility — for example, an in-person attendee may catch a session from their hotel room due to a busy schedule and then meet up with the speaker on the show floor. Of course, livestreams and other virtual offerings also still serve those who cannot attend in person or simply want to explore what a company and its conference are all about at a lower price point.
- Make in-person event experiences meaningful and personalized. Spoor stressed that every event must have a timely and relevant value proposition. Personalization and direct application to attendees’ career growth are key. Cole recommended maximizing networking opportunities, especially across industries, and creating a sense of belonging.
- Show impact with the right data and KPIs. Traditional ROI measurement methods may not work best for events, given their unique role in the customer journey. Spoor advocated for zeroing in on a “return on objective,” and both panelists agreed that looking at a carefully selected small group of KPIs related to both business impact and event operations provides a streamlined — yet comprehensive view — of events’ impact.
- Events tie into the customer journey like never before. The old approach to events saw them as finite occurrences and siloed from marketing and sales. Now, with easy, sophisticated data integrations from an event platform to the rest of the tech stack — as well as a collaborative, data-driven approach — events teams think like marketers, sales reps act quickly on leads, and marketing campaigns flourish.
- Stay flexible and open to experimentation! Finally, both speakers encouraged events teams to embrace change. The industry has never been predictable or easy, but organizations willing to be bold and respond to challenges with creativity will thrive in 2024.
INSIGHT Premiere is just the beginning! Learn more about our conference and register here. And if you want to dive into the themes discussed at Premiere, catch the full replay here (with a free INSIGHT account).