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Delegate Engagement

A scientific approach to customizing the delegate experience and further engagement

The Brief

For one of our major clients, who runs a large financial services event, greater delegate engagement and networking were paramount to the success of this project. It was vital that they truly understood the motivations of the varied attendee groups along with their preferences, likes and dislikes. The event had run for over 20 years and the client wanted to build on previous experiences to allow attendees to connect on an even deeper level.

Their brief to BCD M&E was to enable a more targeted delegate engagement strategy driven by research and data analysis. This would allow them to then evolve and shape the event making sure every element was even more relevant and personal to the different audience types.

The Solution

BCD M&E’s specialist Delegate Engagement team took a scientific approach by developing a strategy that gathered pertinent data from in-depth delegate profiling. For this event’s continued growth and success, it was important to identify the delegate make up and their differing expectations and needs. The process was developed over the preceding two years during which period detailed audience segmentation was carried out and feedback from various attendee types collected.

Once the audience’s different motivations and objectives for attending were established, it was important to analyse this data to deliver appropriate insights and track year on year trends. Event content and structure was then planned, developed and delivered against those objectives.

This also enabled us to support the creation of an ongoing communication plan for each segment that optimised their attendance and networking opportunities.

By using a combination of targeted data collection throughout the delegate journey and cutting-edge onsite technology during the event itself, we were able to further understand delegate attendance and behaviour.

The total audience size of 7,500 was broken down into four delegate segments; 25% were in roles related to sales, 53% were CEO’s and Leadership, 21% Marketing and 3% in Analyst or Compliance roles. The segments were determined by demographic data captured at registration relating to these job roles and other specific criteria.

Key for each segment was to:

• Gain insight into their size, interests and behaviours

• Determine which parts of the event were accessed by whom, how long they stayed there (dwell time)

• Assess which networking areas were most used when connecting with others

• Determine who was more likely to connect, with whom, and the personal traits driving connection (segment, interests, where from etc.)

• Determine which sessions/streams were attended by whom, how long they stayed, whether they connected
The areas of interests were vastly different for each category but by understanding this, communication and content were then structured to match these interests.

The introduction of RFID tracking on-site meant we were able to determine which areas of the event and exhibition space were the most widely used and significantly, which ones could be repurposed in future planning.

The overall event satisfaction measurement was equally as important and helped us identify where minimum satisfaction targets were not being met and allowed targeted changes to be made to improve future events.

The Results

The valuable data and insights gathered enabled our client to fully understand their audience and deliver an event that met and indeed, surpassed their expectations. By using the detailed delegate profiling, the client was able to produce a communication strategy to engage their audience by specific segment. This allowed them to extend the lifecycle of the event from just a few days on the ground to a full year long marketing campaign. Communications pre-event were personalised to cover identified interests, which also helped drive attendance, through to post event follow up based on the actual attendee experience.

Content was shaped to meet delegates’ interests and the audience was matched with relevant sessions and given a personalised agenda, rather than a one size fits all approach. It also facilitated better networking as the shared objectives and interests identified allowed for peer to peer and also delegate to supplier “matchmaking” before, during and after the event.

The RFID onsite delegate tracking provided statistics on exhibition layout and traffic flow with figures on dwell times and stands visited. This gave exhibitors valuable feedback to shape their exhibition design and layout, and indeed stand position, for the future.

Post event survey data has shown that satisfaction has increased by 26%. In three years, all segments, have shown healthy increases in perception of the event with it being ‘the top priority event I would consider attending’.

This is not only an incredibly positive outcome but, by using quantifiable research and data, one which allows the client to accurately improve the experience by constantly monitoring audience interest and engagement.