One of the great things about virtual events is the data. They’re a gold mine of information with their ability to track movement and interaction. But as with all big data, the value is in the interpretation. That’s why we make the distinction between intelligence and metrics. Both are important to establishing an event’s ROI, giving marketing and sales customer insights, and setting the next event up for even greater success.
Poke around the internet and you’ll find this typical definition of event intelligence: “information collected from an event that gives the organizer insight into what happened at the event—how it went, what the attendees did, etc.” That’s okay but it conflates insight and evaluation. In doing so, it’s easy to miss opportunities to build in information that goes beyond what’s available in platform analytics. The distinction is that metrics report WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE. Intelligence answers the question WHY.”
Here’s a simple example. Let’s say Halloween is an event. Metrics will tell us how many trick or treaters came by; what candy they grabbed; who said thank you. That’s a matter of observation. We could even ask if they were satisfied with their treats. But let’s say we also built in opportunities to uncover allergies; find out what candy their parents threw away; or learn whether decorations enhanced their experience. This kind of intelligence would help us create a more personalized event next year, organize a better Easter Egg Hunt, and add to our overall understanding of the neighborhood.
The time to start thinking about intelligence and metrics is at the very beginning of event planning. The data you want to collect affects your platform choice. The questions you want answered impact everything from the attendee journey to polling questions to session titles. Start by creating a picture of the information and outcomes this event should deliver. Define the event intention (i.e., lead generation, brand awareness, or affirmation). Make an audience wish list – what you’d like to know or confirm. And remember—
Metrics evaluate elements of your event. Intelligence fuels your understanding. Together, they provide the insights that deepen relationships and drives business.