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How Data Provides For Amazing Live Events

In the dynamic world of event production, success hinges not just on the creativity and execution of your events but also on how well you understand and utilize data. And I’m not speaking about financial figures only, because every producer will keep these on speed dial 1. I’m talking about all the other data, but let’s be honest: how much do you actually use them? Speaking for myself, I love numbers, but I often look at them in hindsight and try to learn from them for next time. I don’t utilize them as often as I should, because events and productions are often driven by creativity and not by the rationale of figures.

However, the vast array of statistics available to event producers can be a goldmine of insights, helping to refine strategies, enhance attendee experiences, and ultimately, foster a healthier organization. 

In this comprehensive blog, I delve into critical data and statistics an event production company should preferably monitor and discuss how these figures can be leveraged to drive success.

Understanding Your Audience

Let’s start simple with numbers that you will learn in your first lesson in marketing, business administration or any client-orientated study. 

Demographic Data

What to Collect: Age, gender, location, and profession of your event attendees.

How to Collect: You can get a lot of data from your website, news letters and its visitors through Google Analytics. You can also get information from your followers on social media, which also show statistics for businesses. And finally, any data people leave behind from ticket sales and on site.

How to Use It: Use the data to get to know your audience and tailor your event themes, marketing strategies, and even the choice of speakers or entertainers to better match the preferences of your target demographic. 

For instance, a tech conference might feature more cutting-edge tech discussions if the majority of attendees are professionals in the tech industry and more basic discussions if the attendees are people who would like to start in the industry. 

DJ party, what audience does it attract? Get your data!
What’s the general audience at a DJ party? And does it change depending on the music played?

Attendee Feedback

What to Collect: Post-event surveys that gauge attendee satisfaction, what they enjoyed most, and what they felt could be improved. Look at all aspects: not only the speakers but also the location of the event, the food and very importantly if it’s more a business event: how people felt they had the opportunity to network and get to know other attendees. 

How to Collect: Send out surveys after the event, give people the opportunity to leave feedback behind on site (like a notebook or something digital). Collect reactions on social media and any press reviews.

How to Use It: Use this feedback to make direct improvements to future events. High satisfaction ratings in specific areas can guide you on what to repeat, while suggestions for improvement can help refine the attendee experience. This does not mean repeating it one on one: do not book the same speaker for the next 4 years, because he/she always has a good rate. But find someone similar in topic and/or presentation style. Did they like the speaker himself or did they like it e.g. due to a more interactive style? 

Financial Metrics

Alright, you know your audience. Now, it’s time to dive into the financial aspect. Extremely important to take note of this during the production process and to act on it.

Revenue Streams

What to Collect: Ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise sales, and any other sources of revenue.

How to Collect: Preferably you use an (online) programme that collects all this data and where you can quickly see how your revenue and each individual stream is doing.

How to Use It: Start analyzing which revenue streams are most profitable and which are less. It can help you to focus your efforts more effectively. For example, if sponsorships are your largest revenue source, it might be worth investing more in partnership development. If some revenue streams generate barely any income, check if there’s a problem there and whether it’s worth spending any time and money on it.

Taking it a step further, check if you need to adjust your costs based on the revenue streams. If you calculate in advance a certain revenue but notice that the revenue will not reach that mark, take action before you’re in debt. 

Cost Analysis

What to Collect: Venue costs, speaker fees, design fees, marketing expenses and operational costs.

How to Collect: Like with the revenue, you preferably use an (online) programme where all costs are noted and where you can check updates on the costs.

How to Use It: Identifying your major cost centres allows you to find areas where you can reduce expenses without compromising the quality of your events. This might involve negotiating better rates with suppliers or finding more cost-effective marketing channels.

Keep in mind what you know of your audience data and expectations. Sometimes, major costs are needed to satisfy your audience or to reach your purpose for the event. If your event is a large music festival, your biggest costs will be the musicians and I don’t suggest you cut these. However, if you organize an event for wine tasting and 20% of your budget goes to fireworks to close the event, reconsider. 

Margin and profit

What to Collect: expected margin, taxes, and expected profit vs. Actual margin and profit

How to Collect: If you have the costs and revenue in the same programme, you can see the balance between the two. Otherwise, you might want to find out these numbers by putting them together (this can even be in excell by use of a formula).

How to use it: Use it to make sure you’re right on track. In advance, write down what your minimal margin (income minus costs) should be: this can be in percentages or actual numbers. Make sure you stay above it. Kind of obvious, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you skip over this data when you’re busy. Make it your business to check every morning or every week as soon as you come into the office. 

Are you an event planner? You might also find this blog interesting for you, in addition to this one.

Marketing Effectiveness

This one become increasingly more common to check, but the statistics does not always reach the producer. Often, it stays within the marketing department, although it can offer valuable information for all departments. So make sure you receive them, even if you don’t necessarily need them immediately. 

Reach and Engagement

What to Collect: Social media metrics (likes, shares, comments), email open and click-through rates, website traffic, and advertisement performance.

How to Collect: Statistics behind social media channels, most news letters programmes offer statistics and you can use Google Analytics and Ads for your website and advertisement results.

How to Use It: These metrics can inform you which marketing channels are most effective at engaging your target audience, allowing you to allocate your marketing budget more efficiently. 

As a producer, you can use it for your content. When just starting the marketing campaign for a specific event, it can tell you how the audience receives it and whether you need to change things. If you notice certain things are viewed more (specific topics or speakers), you may want to add more of them. Read the comments on social media and see whether people miss something, whether they are excited about it and any other things they mention that might help you to improve the event. 

Conversion Rates

What to Collect: The percentage of people who purchase tickets after clicking on an ad or email link.

How to Collect: Use the statistics that news letter platforms offer.

How to Use It: Understanding what drives conversions can help you refine your marketing messages and targeting. A/B testing different calls to action or messaging can further optimize your marketing efforts.

For a producer, it’s interesting to see which people buy these tickets. Is there a common characteristics? And more importantly: are these characteristics what you expected them to be? If there’s a mismatch between the audience you target and the actual audience buying tickets, find out why and see if you need to adjust your programme. 

Operational Efficiency

For producers, this is most important. This is essential to make sure the process is going smoothly and producers need to jump in when they see a mishap happening (soon). 

Event Logistics

What to Collect: Set-up times, vendor performance metrics, and incident reports.

How to Collect: This is a hard one to measure exactly. But you can use a planning programme or an event management tool.

How to Use It: Analyzing logistical data helps identify bottlenecks in your event setup and execution. This could lead to changes in your choice of vendors or alterations in your event timeline to improve efficiency.

A to-do list with gantt for event management
This is part of a check list for event management, including a gantt to show when should be done when. This list is created via Instagrantt, but there are several websites and tools that can help you get that oversight on the operational side. Something like this can really help you quickly see which tasks are delayed and also what the consequences are for the sequential tasks.

From personal experience, I would like to add that almost all errors and delays are created by humans and their time issues. If you’re creating an event production for another company, one of the biggest stress factors are usually the clients who don’t reach deadlines or don’t reply in time, causing the whole process to stagnate. So make sure you create a good schedule with the client, including deadlines and go over them with the clients. Once I made this schedule, the client agreed and then they decided to go on a three-week summer holiday in the most critical moment without letting me know in advance. Never a dull moment 🙂

Technology Utilization

Often, this falls under the marketing department and you will barely see any data from it. Same as the marketing data earlier. However, this also gives you some additional insight into your audience, their expectations and interests. 

What to Collect: Data on app downloads, website interactions during the event, and use of interactive technologies.

How to Collect: Make sure that all platforms collect statistics of the technology used, like the website and app. If you use interactive technologies, try to find a way to count the use, like how many people clicked on the button ‘start’ or have them leave a mail address.

How to Use It: This data can show how effectively you’re integrating technology into your events. High engagement with event apps or interactive features can indicate a more immersive attendee experience.

If people need to sign up and give some information to use the technologies, see if you can make use of it other than for marketing. Check their demographics, but maybe also check if there are some future clients between them or some interesting people you might want to have a cup of coffee with. They know the event, so the first step towards a connection is a lot smaller. 

Market Trends and Benchmarking

As an event production company, you need to stay on top of the game. Don’t just jump from event to event, but look wider and at a higher scale: what is the market doing, how do you make sure you stay positioned in the market or even better, how can you grow in the market? 

If you want to delve deeper into the market and the entertainment sector, read this blog.

Industry Benchmarks

What to Collect: Average event sizes, typical budgets, and standard revenue models in your sector of the event production industry.

How to Collect: Research! Find interviews with people in the field to hear their opinion, talk to people on events, keep connected with the industry by news letters and social gatherings.

How to Use It: Use this data to benchmark your company against industry standards. This can help identify areas where you’re outperforming the market and areas where there’s room for improvement. Also, note if there’s a development in the longer term. Does the budget typically grow over time or is it declining? If it’s declining, think about how long you want to stay in the industry and whether you need to slowly move towards another niche. 

Top 10 innovative trends event industry
StartUs analysed the top 10 innovation trends in 2024 for the event industry. How innovative are you?

Trend Analysis

What to Collect: Emerging themes in event production, new technologies being adopted, and shifts in attendee expectations.

How to Collect: Same as the industry, do your research and stay in touch with the industry. You may also want to try Google Trends, which tells you what people are searching online.

How to Use It: Staying ahead of industry trends can give your company a competitive edge. Incorporating innovative technologies or themes into your events can attract a broader audience and generate buzz.

Employee and Stakeholder Satisfaction

Your attendees need to be happy, but you can’t organize an event without employees and stakeholders. As the marketing saying goes: they are your first ambassadors for your company. Happy employees and stakeholders mean that they deliver better work and are willing to stay longer term. 

Employee Engagement

What to Collect: Employee satisfaction scores, turnover rates, and feedback from staff surveys.

How to Collect: Send out surveys to the employees and staff. Talk one-on-one with them. Check HR for details as how many employees leave your company, how long they are staying on average and more.

How to Use It: High levels of employee engagement are correlated with better performance. Use this data to address any areas of dissatisfaction and to improve your company culture, which can lead to more successful events.

Also, check how your employees are functioning and where the weak spots are. A bad employee doesn’t necessarily need to be fired, but maybe he/she is in the wrong function or might need some more education. See what you can do before taking impulsive actions. 

Organogram for event management
Just an example of how the event team may look like. Depending on the event, you might skip some jobs, but might need multiple with the same function. Always check what you need to get your event happening, but in the most efficient way possible.

Stakeholder Feedback

What to Collect: Feedback from sponsors, vendors, and partners regarding their experience working with your company.

How to Collect: Send out surveys and talk to them.

How to Use It: This feedback can provide insights into how to build stronger relationships with your stakeholders, potentially leading to more lucrative partnerships and smoother event execution.

Utilizing Data for Continuous Improvement

The key to leveraging these data points effectively lies in the continuous analysis and willingness to adapt based on what the numbers are telling you. Implementing a cycle of planning, executing, reviewing, and refining based on data insights can lead to significant improvements in all aspects of your event production company.

Like I said at the very beginning, sometimes you get so swept up with the whole process and its creativity, that you neglect or don’t have the time to take a moment to delve into the statistics. This is not always bad, but they can upgrade your already good event. 

One note however: you’re the production company and not always in charge of creative decisions, like the event theme or speakers. They may come from the client or investors. It’s still useful to check the statistics for creative input because in the end you are organising the event and you should at least advise the creative party. You can use the data to make a better argument. 

Data Integration and Analysis Tools

Investing in data analysis tools can help consolidate various data streams into actionable insights. It can save you time. Tools like Google Analytics for web traffic, social media analytics platforms, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems can provide a holistic view of your performance across different areas.

The Role of AI and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming increasingly important in analyzing large datasets and predicting trends. These technologies can help identify patterns that might not be immediately obvious, offering predictive insights that can inform future event planning and marketing strategies. For example, read this blog with 20 tips how AI can help you analyse statistics. AI is especially interesting for market strategies and trends. 

Use AI for data analytics
A prediction for 2024 by Sprout Social for the use of AI in data analytics in marketing. What can this mean for you and how can you use this?

Creating a Data-Driven Culture

Fostering a data-driven culture within your organization ensures that decisions are made based on evidence rather than only on intuition. This also involves training your team to understand and utilize statistics in their daily tasks and encouraging a mindset of continuous improvement based on these insights.

Intuition is still very important, as every event is the result of passion, enthusiasm and some fantasy. It should never be reduced by only numbers. However, they can exist next to one another and even reinforce each other. 

Want to know more about the tension between creativity and commercialism? Read this blog.

Conclusion

In the competitive landscape of event production, data and statistics are invaluable assets that can guide your company toward greater success. By meticulously collecting and analyzing them related to your audience, financial performance, marketing effectiveness, operational efficiency, market trends, and employee and stakeholder satisfaction, you can make more informed decisions that enhance the quality and profitability of your events. Embracing a data-driven approach not only helps in fine-tuning your strategies, but also ensures that your organization remains adaptable, resilient, and forward-thinking in an ever-changing industry.

This article has been created with the help of AI. Edited, rewritten, modified and adjusted by me.

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