As A Conference Organizer Do You Have Delusional Data Hubris?

Cobalt Web

Do you believe that you currently collect all the necessary data from your meeting attendees?

Are you convinced that you already have all of the important analytics regarding your conferences that you would ever need?

Perhaps you are a conference organizer that thinks you have 100 percent of all the knowledge available to you through your current data collection to improve and guide your conferences.

The Delusional Conference Organizer

If you and your team believe that your data capture, analysis and reporting is as good as it gets…

And if you firmly believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can identify your conference and industry trends with the processes you have already put in place…

Then you suffer from Delusional Data Hubris says author and futurist Scott Klososky.

In reality, you have no idea what you do not know!

Delusional Data Hubris is the delusion of believing that you currently capture all the data necessary to effectively lead your organization, without analyzing what key knowledge you could be missing. ~ Scott Klososky, The Velocity Manifesto.

Here’s one quick way to find out if you suffer from Delusional Data Hubris: you are not even motivated to find out if and where you might possibly missing important facts and stats.

Collecting The Right Data

It isn’t enough to just collect data efficiently. You need to collect the right data and move it from data to information, from information to knowledge, and from knowledge to wisdom. In today’s rapidly changing world, we cannot confidently keep pace unless we can clearly and accurately see the status of our conferences and the industry it serves. We need better data.

Most conference organizers collect the following data: attendance numbers, expenses, revenue including registration fees, exhibit sales, advertisement sales and sponsorships, and basic registrant data.

Rarely do we collect:

  • Detailed data on our attendees and stakeholders such as which sessions they attended, demographics like age, race, etc., their likes and dislikes, hobbies, education, years of experience, etc.
  • Registrant data and compare it from one conference to another to find which attendees are truly loyal and have attended at least two of the past three years.
  • Data to see which companies invested the most of their resources in time and money in our conferences.
  • Speaker data such as scores, their session attendance and the number of speaker evaluations returned.
  • Attendee purchasing data on what other products and services our registrants purchased while in the conference host city.
  • Data on what’s keeping our stakeholders up at night and the urgent challenges they face.

This list contains some of the types of data that we need to collect and analyze to make better decisions. Deep inside the data is the truth about your conference, organization and customers. It is that data that documents and archives activities, preferences, results and transactions.

We also need to be able to collect, interpret and analyze what our customers’ and industry’s trends are in real time. As we collect more robust information, we can then move into predictive analysis.

Then we will have an accurate knowledge base that allows us to extrapolate what the future might be for our organization, our conference and our attendees. It is only at this point that we can design a conference experience that meets the real needs of our customers that helps them prepare for their immediate future.

For more information on Delusional Data Hubris, data collection and business intelligence, read Scott Klososky’s The Velocity Manifesto.

What other types of data should conference organizers collect and analyze? What are some nontraditional ways to collect data on our conference customers?

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1 comment
  1. Ed Farrell says:

    Thanks, Jeff. Your post made think of the data we are capturing in our event app but not using to generate potentially useful reports for the organizer, including the attendee data you identified. Given our app uses a signin with LinkedIn feature to automatically create an attendee’s profile (on an opt-in basis), we aggregate a ton of attendee data that can be used by organizers to better understand their attendees. Currently we are striving to provide the “right data” for organizers. Stuff that was not previously possible before mobile event guides and networking apps. For example, we provide a report on the networking activity facilitated through the app (# private meeting requests). We think this is especially valuable for events where networking is an important element of the value proposition. Now there is a way to begin to measure it. I would be curious as to what other data would be on an organizer’s wish list, in addition to what you identified above. I think vendors can play a key role in capturing relevant data and presenting it in useful format for improved decision making.

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