Accurate and relevant data from referral-marketing platforms can aid decision-making, inform marketing campaigns, and grow revenue. But simply collecting information isn’t enough. Organizers need to act on referral-marketing data to amplify its value and benefits organically across the organization.
A more natural way to amplify word-of-mouth recommendations
Referral marketing is the practice of facilitating the natural inclination of people to recommend products and services to others. It delivers new and verifiable registrations and attendees for events using software that identifies genuine advocates and makes it easy for them to recommend the event to their contacts and networks via social media, email, and (in the case of Gleanin Connect) WhatsApp.
Data management is challenging for planners
Acting on event-technology data is a challenge for some event planners. A MeetingsNet article summarized survey data that UK-based event management software provider Eventsforce collected. It reveals that only 48% of planner respondents consider themselves to be “tech-savvy,” and 47% name data management tools (analytics, reporting, etc.) as the hardest to manage.
Metrics to amplify the value of referrals
Referral-marketing platforms provide event organizers with some significant data points:
Making referral-marketing data matter
Event organizers can act on referral-marketing data in impactful ways:
The net new attendees metric is likely one of the most challenging KPIs for event organizers to manage even though it is the most indicative of event health. If the number of net new referrals is high, it’s a sign that event content is fresh, and the experience for attendees is valuable. Organizers can take action on this information in at least two ways:
On average, 16% of event registrants will advocate (refer an event to a colleague). Marketers can use this metric to determine whether referrals are on track during the registration cycle. If advocacy is pacing below average and marketers have implemented best practices, such as sharing the “who, what, and why” of referrals with pre-registrants and incentivizing them to open up their very valuable networks, it could be an indicator the event is flagging. Planners should reassess the networking, educational, and experiential needs of the audience, find out what’s not working, and make adjustments.
On the other hand, when advocacy is high, it’s a reliable indicator that the event is performing well. A post-event survey of advocates can reveal WHY they thought the event was valuable enough to tap into their networks to refer it to others. Those responses can help to enhance the elements of the event that are working well.
Peer-to-peer influencers are valuable multipliers. Organizers can take measures (perks, incentives, exclusive access) to reward influencer behavior, enlarge the influencer community, and support an ongoing practice of attendee referrals.
With the right approach and tools, organizers can convert non-attendees into advocates as well. The non-peer influencer metric can indicate who else is driving value for the event and find ways to support them. Organizers can decide, for instance, which sponsors are more proactive, which exhibitors are fully engaged in hitting their ROI metrics, and which advisory board members are “working the line.”
By analyzing new attendee demographics (companies, titles, geographic locations, buying influence, etc.), organizers may, in some cases, discover new event audience segments which they can subsequently target using other marketing channels.
Advocacy channels (how new registrants choose to register) are indicators of where pockets of new attendees may reside and where marketing and advertising budget may be directed. For example, a sizeable number of referred attendees registering over Facebook and sharing over Facebook is an indication of the strength of Facebook as a marketing and advocacy channel for an event. A smart course of action for the organizer could be to increase its investment in Facebook.
When advocacy to conversion is low (i.e., a high level of advocacy and a low number of conversions), it indicates that the core group of advocates love the event but fewer reasons exist for its invitees to convert. Based on this metric, organizers should review the core messaging and value proposition for the event to determine whether it requires improvement.
Relevant and easy-to-understand data from referral-marketing platforms helps event planners—91% of whom, according to the Eventsforce research, say event—plan more efficiently. It is also the fuel with which event organizers can grow their events and their business. Taking action on referral-marketing data supports a culture of data-led decision-making and creates more opportunities for growth.
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