Rethinking Your Event’s Value and Other Revelations from Transform USA

Photo credit: Transform USA

Feathr President and Co-Founder Aidan Augustin, along with new VP of Sales Heather Holst-Knudsen, traveled to Washington D.C. last week to attend the inaugural Transform USA. Transform is a conference for senior leaders in the event space who are responsible for digital development, and Feathr was a proud sponsor of the event. The one-day event brought together an influential event industry group for education, networking, and thought-provoking discussion.

Transform’s theme was “data, analytics, and digital in events,” a topic Feathr knows a thing or two about. We’ve been excited to watch the event industry join us on the message we’ve been preaching for years: the future of event growth is in data and personalization. Better utilized data means a better experience for attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors. The presentations from industry leaders at Transform reflected this attitude. Here are some of our key takeaways from the event:

 

The Year-Round Event Experience

One of Transform’s key presenters was Jean Foster, VP of Marketing for the Consumer Technology Association. CTA puts on the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the largest trade show in the world. Jean’s presentation included a step-by-step plan for events leaders to set and stick to a data-driven marketing strategy. The step that stood out most was to “focus on the attendee experience before, during, and after the event.” An attendee’s experience with an event doesn’t start when she walks into the convention center and it doesn’t end when she leaves. The experience is year-round. Successful event organizers understand this and make use of attendee data to maintain a personal and perpetual relationship with attendees outside the confines of the venue.

 

 

Event Organizers as Value Creators

Another presenter, Denzil Rankine of AMR International, encouraged his audience to rethink their roles. He taught that it is important for event leaders to imagine themselves as value creators, invested in customer success. Event organizers traditionally focus on a smooth execution of the event, paying the most attention to core aspects of the event model such as square footage. However, growth in net square footage in 2016 was a stagnant 2%, which echoes growth statistics for the previous four years. Digital revenue grew a promising 12% in 2016. Denzil showed that customers are in the digital space, and their success is now the key driver of growth.

 

Look Beyond Attendees to Your Addressable Market

Scott Schenker, VP of Strategic Events at ServiceNow, presented how data and analytics drive profitability. One of the most eye-opening concepts he taught was that event organizers need to cast a wider net. Scott spoke about the difference between an event’s attendees and its addressable market. An event’s addressable market consists of its attendees, their business communities, and the sphere of social followers connected to the event. Attendees represent a small fraction of event organizers’ market, but they absorb a huge portion of the organizers’ energy. If event marketers want to see real growth, they must consider their entire addressable market as their customers.

Can you see the connection between these insights? As Transform knows and Feathr shouts from the rooftops, it’s all about data.

It’s interesting to imagine what the events industry will look like by the time Transform USA 2018 rolls around. Some organizers will certainly take its lessons to heart, setting aside the resources and time to begin to execute data-driven, value-minded personalization strategies for their events. And most likely some organizers will contentedly carry on with their status quo. After an inspiring trip to Washington, we at Feathr know who we’re betting on.

We'd like to extend a warm thanks to Transform and the show's organizers, AMR International and Lippman Connects for putting on a great inaugural event.

 

Lippman Connects President Sam Lippman with Feathr's Aleks Levental and Aidan Augustin
Lippman Connects President Sam Lippman with Feathr's Aleks Levental and Aidan Augustin

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Chris Hillman
Chris Hillman is Feathr's go-to writer/editor/photographer guy. He makes sure we cross our T's and dot our...lowercase J's. When he's not agonizing over grammar, you can find him playing music all around Gainesville.