By Tim Groot
The benefits of post-event analytics come as common knowledge to event organisers and businesses. The data and insights from previous events have always been used to improve future events. Today, however, event organisers can actively measure the amount of interaction amongst attendees, track user behaviour and identify preferences for events that still need to happen.
The next step is actively using this information prior to and during the event to improve the event experience. In this article, we’ll look at the importance of pre-event analytics and just some of the benefits that they deliver.
One of the main objectives when hosting a networking event is to get as many people to attend as possible. Despite having a full house at the event, filling the room with irrelevant people can be counter-productive. In order to maximise on productivity, all attendees should hold value in terms of engagement.
Having an understanding of your target market allows you to send effective, targeted email and marketing campaigns. It also allows you to stay in touch with attendees prior to and during the event which will help to prevent no-shows and low attendance records.
For trade shows the typical conversion from registration to attendance is as low as 60%, we’ve seen that by launching Event Matchmaking Software before an event this can increase to 85%!
Helping to improve networking quality
Combining your registration data with the pre-event networking behaviours of your attendees can help you more deeply understand which groups of people should be attracted to your event.
Enabling organizers to understand which types of people are missing from their event to create the ultimate networking experience. This data could be used to create targeted advertisements to attract specific people to an event using tools such as Feathr.
Custom Email Campaigns
Using pre-event analytics it is possible to exactly understand which audiences are engaged leading up to the event and which ones aren’t. This can be done based on registration data, smart platforms such as InfoSalons can give you a ‘score’ of the likelihood of someone actually showing up.
Grip’s networking data could be used leading up to the event to understand which audiences are not active on the platform yet. You can then send specific emails from the platform to, for example, inactive Exhibitor Representatives with recommendations of who to meet and the benefits of joining.
These points highlight the value of Pre-Event Analytics and savvy organizers will continue to find exciting new ways to use this to improve their events in real-time.
About Grip: We believe technology exists to enhance the human experience. If you’re looking for an easy way to analyse and leverage pre-event data, get in touch with us to see some powerful features that could be useful for your event.
Grip Events | By Jake Rigby
Talking to people is a necessary part of our every-day lives, but for various reasons, B2B events can be daunting.. even if the sole purpose is to network!
Networking events all have similar trends. People turn up, have a couple of chardonnays, talk to as many people as possible, which eventually leads to an exchanging of details. From here on things seem to tail off. You may have generated a decent amount of leads, but not all of them will be valid and you might very well end up wondering why you haven’t been talking to that prospect, who was standing four feet away the entire time.
If people are given the right environment and tools to thrive in these daunting, yet exciting events, it ends up benefiting all parties concerned. Networking events happen for a limited amount of time, so the road to a successful event starts by enabling people to match with each other as soon as possible – which can often be prior to the event itself.
Here’s our take on how to create an environment that allows people to get return on time AND investment at your networking event.
Use social media to generate noise
Social media has become an every-day norm. Encourage attendees to share and like posts on the various platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. This can easily be incentivised and it is the fastest way to spread the word about your event. Not only will this increase YOUR online presence, but the attendees will get a great idea of who else is going to be there, and plan accordingly.
Online access at the event
Free Wifi is standard when it comes to networking events. If possible, try to avoid a complicated sign up page as this can be a major turn-off. A simple page giving the attendee the option to check-in to the event can be a great driver. It also alleviates the stress of attendees checking into the wrong location! I’m sure that the local deli would love the recognition. Alternatively you can make a password available to attendees on their badges.
Creating a groovy hashtag for your event is a great way to trend online – make it visible to attendees and watch it fly!
Apps like Tweetbeam are also great for collecting tweets about the event and broadcasting them in real time! This can be done either at the event itself or on your company’s website. The only catch with this? Someone should moderate the content that gets put out there – we don’t want any un-welcomed surprises about how “Susan can’t wait to take advantage of the cocktail bar!”
Offer out a press package
If you have speakers coming to the event, give them a package of images and graphics that they can use on their blogs, platforms and social media pages. If you’re doing press releases, think beyond the old-fashioned form and write something snappier, such as a 300 to 400-word blog post. Journalists and bloggers will simply repost your material, so keep it short and sweet, with lots of images.
Use Technology to improve your event!
One of the difficult things about hosting a networking event is being able to guarantee attendees that they will get return on time. If you were at a three-day conference, for example, you could end up spending the majority of your time talking to the wrong people. Attendees even find themselves talking to people with the aim of finding out who they actually need to talk to! This can take hours of valuable time and makes it very hard to generate the right leads.
This may seem like an impossible task, but fear not, there is a solution!
Using the right networking app allows attendees to cut through the above challenges. It allows attendees to optimize return on time, exhibitors or sponsors to optimize return on their investment and it gives YOU, the organiser, complete control and transparency.
A trick that many event organisers miss? Making it possible for attendees to start matchmaking PRIOR to the event itself. That way, instead of nervy introductions, awkward conversations and disappointing outcomes – we see warm introductions, relevant conversations with valuable outcomes.
People are at the event to connect with each other
Your networking event serves as a golden opportunity for people to talk to clients, prospects, end-users and even rivals, so make sure that you create an environment that facilitates this.
Creating simple, user-friendly feedback forms for your event is a great way of receiving valuable, constructive points on how to improve. Event organisers who listen and act on these suggestions usually end up going far!
The Grip Matchmaking App provides a seamless way of generating quality feedback, by having an option to rate meetings with “Good”, “Bad” and “Didn’t Happen.”
Final takeaway: Technology improves networking, but it doesn’t kill human interaction
The fact that you are now able to take a warm approach when pursuing someone at a networking event is a revelation. This should not, however, be mistaken for something that is there to replace human interaction. At Grip we are not interested in the amount of app-logins, time spent on the app or the amount of people using the app. The powerful Grip app is built to increase the amount of quality conversations that attendees have at the event.
Any event professional who wants to be at the top of their game has to consistently find ways to revolutionize their attendee’s experience. Artificial Intelligence is transforming the events industry as a whole, yet a key part of the attendee experience is still the most ‘human’ one — networking.
Up to this point, event networking has been a slightly overlooked area. While the days are over when event-goers were thrown together with a generous bar tab and expected to ‘mingle’, notions of ‘exposure to prospects’ and ‘creating the right atmosphere’ for meaningful connections are still fuzzy.
Consistently getting the human-to-human connection right – appropriately and meaningfully – is what turns a ‘regular’ attendee event experience into something revolutionary.
Here at Grip we focus on getting that connection right. Through personalizing the networking experience with Artificial Intelligence, we’ve facilitated about a million connections so far (and counting).
Here’s an insight into some of the key networking personality traits we’ve encountered, and how you can use an understanding of them to revolutionize your own attendees’ experiences.
Time savers have signed up to the event because they want a tangible ROI on the cost of attending the event. With them, the saying ‘time is money’ is not a cliche. They could be start-ups looking for a partnership, sales looking to capture a business lead, exhibitors looking for a customer — but they’re looking to make the most of their time.
Help them schedule meetings before the event even begins, to boost networking productivity.
“The meetings would have taken at least the first day of the conference to arrange – but (with Grip) I’ve been able to arrange them a week in advance.” — Max Davies-Gilbert, Director, Enemigo
Closely related to Time-savers are the Curators. These are the folk who believe in scheduling good quality meetings, not lots of them. It’s easy to collect or ‘swipe’ as many business cards as possible, but Curators know that a staggering 87% of leads at tradeshows are not followed up on, and they want to use their time and resources better.
“The app helps you clarify which potential meetings you want to have… 5 out of 6 meetings I’ve had are quality meetings; I’ve had 8 yesterday and 8 today, so it’s been pretty good.” — Matthew Servini, CEO, The Craft Distilling business
With a completely different work set-up – open offices and mobile workstations – and a job that entails being constantly on-the-go, the Restless would prefer not to be tied down to lots of paperwork, or logging in to an app multiple times and updating it on – heaven forbid – a desktop. They live on their smartphones and tablets, so nimble, easily-managed mobile technology is the way to go.
“Grip was the ideal solution to introduce both an app and a matchmaking solution to the young and mobile Imbibe Live audience. We needed a solution which would work easily through their phones, especially as due to the nature of their jobs they are not at their desks very often.” — Sonja Van Praag, Publishing & Events Director, Imbibe
Most of the hard work in networking involves that element of uncertainty – trying to get the right connection in the right place and time. With the right app, attendees won’t have to leave their networking to random chance. Grip, in fact, uses Artificial Intelligence to make a science of serendipity, ensuring that attendees not only meet the most relevant people to their business, but also – potentially – unexpected connections that are useful.
“Usually I’m struggling to find the right person at the right time… Now, with the app, I’m not only setting up meetings with people who wanted to meet, but also meeting new people whom you might not have otherwise bumped into, which is revolutionary.” — Philip Harding, Founder, Dingle
As an events professional, you’re likely to be more of an extrovert — you like to get out there, meet people and get things done. But not all attendees are the same. For some, ‘networking opportunities’ at an event can sound more like a threat than a promise — even if networking is part of their job. And who doesn’t have days when they aren’t up to the demanding task of meeting and mingling?
Cover all the bases with a networking app that ensures parties mutually interested in each other can connect without an awkward handshake or spammy meeting request in sight. A ‘Handshake’ in the Grip app signals to both parties that there’s interest to meet on both sides.
Tip – This works really well with VIP attendees too – they get to define how much networking they want to do, and with whom.
“It’s quite easy to meet up, because they have an interest in you, and you have an interest in them. You have the Handshake, so you assume you both have an interest.” — Caitlin Frost, Sales Manager, GlassCo
Of the million and one things to do for an event, the ‘UX’ – User Experience – of an event app is rarely on organizers’ priority lists. But attendees now expect more, and appreciate a well-designed app. Good UX makes the difference between an app that attendees download – and then promptly ignore – versus one whose interface is easy to understand and fun to use.
“Grip is very easy to navigate, and connecting with people is quite a low barrier process; very few obstacles… This is one of the best experiences digitally, both in terms of correspondence but also in terms of UX.” — James Sandrini, Director, Eight Point One
Grip empowers attendees, exhibitors and hosted buyers to make meaningful connections at events. Contact us to see if we can provide an event app and professional matchmaking solution that suits your event.
A leading global association of tradeshow organizers and the exhibition industry has recognized Grip as one of the top event apps this year.
UFI, which comprises 725 member organizations in 85 countries worldwide, awarded Grip its 2017 ICT Technology Award in July. The Technology Award honors outstanding digital tools designed to make the next generation of exhibition professionals fit for the future, and recognizes new technologies that support the exhibition industry. The theme for this year’s Award was: “Digital Innovation – What will be our solution for the future?”.
Grip, which also won last year’s IMEXPitch, stood out from the competition with an innovative product which offers an event networking app that has established more than 60,000 connections (and counting) for thousands of professionals.
Presenting at the UFI European Conference, Co-Founder and Grip CEO Tim Groot explained that the idea for the product emerged when the organizers of Cannes Lions 2016 wanted a smoother and more engaging way for attendees to network. Grip’s solution was to design a standalone custom event app using Artificial Intelligence to power a matchmaking API (Application Programming Interface) to deliver the best networking recommendations in a fast and friendly way.
Put to the test at the 15,000-attendee event, the Cannes Lions networking app established an average of 8.4 connections per user and more than 20,000 connections over a few days, enabling hundreds of face-to-face meetings, meaningful connections, and creating a huge positive impact on the event experience.
Also presented were
According to UFI, “presentations from the finalists were of an excellent standard, making the selection of an overall winner a very challenging assignment”. However, Grip’s presentation was “clear, comprehensive and met all the requirements needed for the tool to be considered a winning solution”. Other finalists presenting to the UFI’s Digital Innovation Committee in Cologne, Germany, included Messe München GmbH, ExpoPlatform, and Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Center.
“The UFI Technology Award is one of the most prestigious technology awards in the trade show world.” says Tim Groot. “We feel honored to be chosen as this year’s winner among so many great companies, and it’s great to see that the judges share our belief that technology can vastly improve networking and deliver an improved return on investment for exhibitors by leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence.”
“We are looking forward to presenting our solution at UFI’s Global Congress in Johannesburg later this year and will continue to push the boundaries of technology at trade shows.”
Grip’s win comes hot on the heels of last year’s IMEXPitch award, a competition for event tech startups to showcase themselves to event organizers and marketers from around the world. It’s run as part of IMEX America, the US’ largest annual meetings industry trade show, featuring the largest hosted buyer program in North America. Grip also won the standing-room only audience poll at IMEXPitch, and will be displaying at IMEX later this year.
UFI’s Awards recognize and reward successful result-oriented initiatives in the exhibition industry in areas ranging from digital innovation, human resources, marketing and operations and services to trade fair poster design and sustainable development. UFI represents around 50,000 exhibition industry employees globally, and works closely with its 58 national and regional association members. Over 900 international trade fairs bear the UFI approved label, a quality guarantee for visitors and exhibitors. UFI members continue to provide the international business community with a unique marketing media aimed at developing outstanding face-to-face business opportunities. More information on the UFI is available at www.ufi.org.
Hosted buyers are all about efficiency. While they appear to enjoy a relatively charmed event experience, they are primarily serious about their business, coming to events with the goal of avoiding time wasted otherwise on online searches, email chains, and phone calls.
For event organizers, therefore, matchmaking hosted buyers with exhibitors should prioritize efficiency; a hosted buyer’s meeting app, for example, should be about balancing B2B networking exposure at the event with generating relevant, good quality leads.
What does efficient matchmaking mean on the ground? It’s about saving precious time with mutually agreed-upon, personalized matches, offering a curated experience before, during and after the event, and respecting the privacy of hosted buyers by empowering them to choose whom they wish to connect with.
All these aspects of efficient matchmaking involve personalization. And the only way to offer a high degree of personalization on a large scale, with hundreds or thousands of hosted buyers, is through Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Here are a few ways Grip, powered by AI, offers an event app for hosted buyers meetings that helps event organizers personalize event matchmaking –
Grip’s pre-event professional matchmaking solution is to have attendees register using a social media account of their choice (such as LinkedIn), with our Artificial Intelligence engine then matching relevant parties. For event organizers, it’s goodbye to reams of spreadsheets and data-entry.
Pre-event meeting scheduling happens within hours rather than days. This happens after both parties have indicated a mutual interest in each other’s areas of business. Hosted buyers can ‘swipe right’ on individuals on their personalized list whom they’d be interested to meet, or left ‘skip’, if they’re not. Depending on how they interact with that list, a fresh set of prospects are generated, and so on. It’s a virtuous cycle of feedback and improvement. Once the other party also swipes ‘Interested’, it’s a ‘Handshake, and both parties can agree to a timeslot and location to meet. This can be changed or rescheduled as required.
As a first layer of privacy, Grip’s AI carefully curates the prospects shown to attendees. Hosted buyers and Exhibitors retain as much anonymity as they can handle.
Exhibitors need only to swipe ‘Interested’ on those prospects they reckon to be good quality leads. This sifts out opportunists in unrelated businesses trying to stuff their meeting calendars for a post-event report.
Hosted buyers have their own, unique set of digital content the moment they open the app, with personalized recommendations of which speaker best suits their interest. (Smart) Attendee Lists mean no more ‘networking roulette’ with whom they might meet.
On-location, hosted buyers enjoy real-time recommendations. That means that, in the midst of the event, the AI recommendation engine acts as a virtual concierge, making recommendations in real time, and learning from the hosted buyer’s interaction with it to source new prospects for their personalized list.
We are Grip, a professional networking app for events. Grip empowers professionals to achieve their networking potential. The Grip matchmaking app connects delegates, speakers, and exhibitors in a fast and simple way.