Big Data Plays A Role In Event Management

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

What’s the big deal about big data?

We’ll assume every event planner knows they should be collecting hard data on their events and analyzing this information, looking at their metrics and working to improve performance, drive down costs, etc.  We’ll also assume you’ve heard the term Big Data.

Many, likely those who don’t fully understand it, say Big Data is the Holy Grail of making events run smoothly and profitably. While that’s certainly an exaggeration, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of information provided through the analysis of Big Data – or its value for your events.

To fully understand why Big Data analytics plays a role in event management we should clearly define Big Data. Most buzz-phrases float out there being thrown around. Simply put…Big Data is everything beyond the traditional information you already collect at every event you produce – registration numbers, budget, attendee demographics, and etcetera.

A Better Understanding of Big Data

Big Data is unstructured information created by the activities of attendees, speakers, event staff, and partners. It includes details such as spending habits while on the event floor, general attitude towards vendors, engagement levels with guest speakers…in essence, it’s everything that cannot be tracked or monitored by traditional analytics platforms.

Big Data is about the information that hard data can’t give you.

Was a person who purchased a vendor’s service while attending your tradeshow happy with their purchase? In turn, did they value your tradeshow because they attributed their finding a new product to attending the event? If all you have is transaction data – you have no way of knowing the answers to these questions. The answers to these questions allow your team to tweak a vendor list to better meet attendee needs the following year.

The Big Value Of Big Data

When properly analyzed, Big Data allows you to overhaul virtually every facet of your events.

Your team can be tweaked for greater efficiency, the show floor can be modified to allow for greater flow and ease of access, topics can be revisited and reworked based on attendee opinion, and costs can be sent down through the floor.

Of course, the very nature of Big Data makes it near impossible for any human being to work with on their own. As such, it’s not terribly surprising that we’ve seen a host of different analytics platforms popping up across event management – tools hunt for patterns in unstructured information, at which point a trained expert can examine these patterns or extracted information, and determine if there is relative value.

The analysis of Big Data is a fairly complex task, one requiring an analytical mind and a great deal of discipline. This post discusses the importance of combining strategy and expertise.An event planner wanting to leverage the benefits of Big Data requires extracting the right data, using effective methods, and trusting the analysis done on the information requested. You should ask yourself if you can take on this additional task, manage it effectively and reap the cost-benefits, or if you should hire a third party.

Hint: surveys are often used to collect this random data for analysis. Tweetwall is a clever way to conduct a real-time survey of sorts. Think carefully about your questions and remember it’s public. 

To a large degree most professionals listen, read, follow, and learn from thought-leaders within their own or other industries. Very often thought-leaders, first-movers, or what we call early adopters are acting on information, hunches, or a potentially innovative concept that have been born out of Big Data analysis.

What’s so big about big data?

At the end of the day, it doesn’t much matter if you choose to hire someone or learn to manage this mass of information yourself – either way, you must determine if you’re able to truly implement and leverage the information extracted from Big Data in order to grow your business. It certainly seems worth it.

Big Data is no Holy Grail, but combined with hard data, your head for business, and good sense, you shouldn’t underestimate its value to the event planning process.