Events are seen as important part of membership growth strategy – yet managing event data is a problem for 88% of associations
A new research study has revealed that 87% of associations see events as an important aspect of their membership growth strategy, but an overwhelming majority of 88% are struggling to get what they want from their event data. The study from Eventsforce, which investigates the importance of event data for associations and membership organisations, was conducted with more than 80 senior event planners from the industry across both the UK and US markets.
In a new eBook, titled ‘The Value of Event Data for Associations and Membership Organisations’, Eventsforce highlights some of the key findings from the research study – from the most popular data collection tools to the data metrics associations use when measuring event success. It also identifies how associations are using this data across their organisation and how technology can help them address some of the biggest data management challenges they face around events.
“As the significance of events continues to grow for associations, so does the importance of managing all the data they collect from events. Events data is incredibly valuable for any kind of membership organisation. It tells them a lot about their members and how they’re engaging with their events – it also gives them the kind of business insight they need to expand their reach to much wider audiences,” said George Sirius, CEO, Eventsforce.
“But with a more data-driven approach comes new responsibilities, especially now with legislations like GDPR in place. Associations need to be savvy in deciding what kind of data they need from their events, how this data is going to be used and how it’s going to bring value to their organisation. Effective data management now sits at the heart of an association’s success and its ability to acquire members and grow.”
The research study showed that 83% of associations see registration systems as the most effective tool for collecting valuable information from attendees and events – followed closely by online surveys at 64%. Other tools that got the vote include check-in systems, social media and web analytics.
The findings also showed that measuring success is the primary reason why associations collect data from events. The source of this data varies from registration and attendance numbers to engagement levels and revenue. Unsurprisingly, however, it’s feedback from attendees, sponsors and exhibitors which tops the list of metrics when it comes to measuring event ROI.
Other areas the study looked at was the importance of data management and whether associations were able to get any value out of the information they collect from attendees and events. The results showed that 80% of associations find data management and security a much bigger priority around their events after the EU GDPR came into effect in May 2018 – with 86% of those surveyed making improvements like cleaning up their databases and investing in new tech tools which allow them to put better data management processes in place.
Despite these improvements, however, an overwhelming 88% still have problems when it comes to getting the most of their event data. More than half of associations said their data was spread across so many different systems that it was difficult to control. A lack of integration between their event and membership/CRM systems also created issues when assessing how members were engaging with their events. Limited time and resources was another common complaint for 36% of associations – while a third of respondents said a lot of their data was stored in spreadsheets which made it difficult for them to manage from a security point of view.
“Our research shows how data collected from events is becoming more and more important for an association’s larger goals and this trend isn’t going to stop. Using technology to get the right kind of analysis and insight – along with following good data management practices – will bring about new opportunities that will help associations grow and engage more closely with members and stakeholders in the long-run.”