Event Marketers Use Email, But Lag In Data Gathering, Study Says

Email is the most used channel in event marketing — almost all attendees receive it before conferences. And it is important in post-event follow-up. But the targeting may suffer because of the difficulty of collecting data, judging by a study by Cvent.

Of 406 event professionals surveyed, 75% feel they are not up to speed on integrating a wide range of data to build attendee profiles.

That said, 81% believe that it is important to integrate data from conference attendees’ physical and digital footprints. Yet only 20% feel their organizations are extremely or very good at this.

And only 29% think they are extremely or very effective at basic data collection, with 23% who believe they are good at using it. Finally, 38% understand what their attendees are doing onsite.

Prior to events, “attendees mainly see email from event organizers and visit event websites prior to attending,” the study notes. Email is first on the list, with 94% receiving pre-event messages, and 77% visiting websites. Mobile apps, used by 30%, are a very distant third. A mere 15% receive SMS messages.  And the event world has barely touched virtual or augmented reality.

What information do they ask for prior to events?

Of those polled, 88% request full contact information. In addition, 61% ask for the industry sector, 36% the product or service interest, and 35% their decision-making level.

That’s not precisely what they get. The study found that 86% of attendees give full contact information, and 43% their product needs or wants. This is based on a separate survey of 200 event-goers. In addition, 42% supply their decision-making level. Finally, 38% reveal their session picks and 32% reveal their interest in attending other events 

On-site, 70% collect registration data and 50% gather session attendance. Plus, 46% collect session ratings and feedback, and 42% conduct surveys.

After the event, 83% go for overall event feedback, and 51% for interest in future events. And 42% ask for product and service interest.

How long does it take to market an event? Over half say their window is under four months.

Email is the primary channel in the follow-up process, with 66% conducting post-event email surveys. In contrast, 38% track social media posts or engagement activity. And 37% respond to sales inquiries tied to the event 

“Email remains the preferred source of business communication,” says Brad Gillespie, vice president of enterprise marketing at Cvent.

He adds, “For marketers, the email address is the identifier that we use to associate the contact with communications across other channels, therefore obtaining a person’s email address and maintaining the accuracy of that record is essential.” 

Gillespie continue, “For events, marketers rely on email at every stage of the event lifecycle for communication, and the biggest opportunity for event pros today is keeping the conversation going post-event. The post-event survey, usually delivered via email, is the first step in this process but there are many others. Sellers and marketers alike depend on email to reach attendees with post-event follow-up and related updates.” 

Post-event data is utilized in planning future events by 74%, and overall event measurement and ROI analysis by 64%. In addition, 62% use it when marketing future events, with the same percentage for post-event communications 

Over two-thirds of the respondents say they believe in integrating attendee data with their CRM systems, and a similar percentage scores high on integrating event data with social media.



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