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Don't drown in data, EventHuddle panel warns

Panellists argue event planners lose delegates by asking too many questions in registration forms

Pictured: (from left) Alessandro Valentini, Hellen Beveridge, Kevin Jackson, Rasmus Hansen and Slawomir Laskowski take part in this month's EventHuddle

Complicated and long-winded registration forms are deterring delegates from signing up to events, this month's EventHuddle has warned.

Event planners are risking losing their audience by trying to obtain too much information beforehand, with the panel pointing out that the majority of that data isn't used anyway.

Panelist Hellen Beveridge, of consultancy practice Pure Rocket Science, said the drop-off for long-winded forms was huge. "I've seen registration pages that are seven pages long. There isn't really a great deal of benefit having page to page of demographics. Some things you just don't need to know. Usually the top three are the most prevalent."

Fellow panellist Rasmus Hansen, co-founder and CEO of Airfinity, added: "The starting point has to be asking what are the key metrics we really want to measure our event on. I think basic data on the demographics of attendees, and of social [online] followers are the two key things. I’d advise organisers to focus on a few sets of data and really get that right, rather than have a long list."

Beveridge and Hansen were joined on the panel by Slawomir Laskowski and Alessandro Valentini, with Kevin Jackson as chair, at events venue 1 Wimpole Street in London.

Another problem identified in the debate, entitled Unleash the Power of your Event Data, was the prevalence of the age-old habit of spreadsheets.

Beveridge warned: "A lot of organisers don't know what their churn is; some can't organise things geographically. Actually trying to pin-point who's coming year after year, who your influencers are… you'll never get a sign of it using spreadsheets."

Laskowski added: "Come on guys, we're in 2017… it's so crazy (to still use spreadsheets). If you're on a database, you can connect directly and see everything. Whenever you do any changes it'll automatically update. If you operate on one spreadsheet, then have another event, they'll update the data but it's on a new spreadsheet. Then you end up with so many documents."

Laskowski advised planners to look into new technology to use to capture and store data, saying it was "super easy and super cheap".

Valentini urged for data and marketing people to work alongside one another, saying: "You may end up with tonnes of data and you'll never use it. There might be a key stakeholder fixated on asking 25 questions and no-one will use the results. You need to be clear about your marketing and what are you actually going to do. Don't waste energy collecting it, just go for the essentials."

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