The Relentless Pursuit of Customer Experience

Sowmya Perugupalli

October 3, 2020


7 min read

How can businesses create powerful event experiences through a trifecta of data, digital skills and tech integration?

The Heart of the Digital Economy 

With myriad opportunities available for adoption of new technology and digital transformation, the nature of events is constantly evolving. There is a shift from straightforward branding to hyper-personalization enabled by data and digital levers. A focus on customer intelligence will drive the business ahead in such a dynamic business landscape.

Figure 1 Data and Analytics for Digital Transformation

Employing the data approach to deliver better value to clients has been immensely successful for companies like Netflix, which leverages an immense amount of customer data to provide a hyper personalized streaming service. Likewise, in the event industry, post hoc data analytics using marketing data from corporate events has been an effective way to understand event audiences, potential leads, event ROI and general effectiveness of the event. However, the relentless pursuit of customer experience drives the event industry in a new direction today. Every digital touchpoint related to the event is a potential data mine. A focus on  digital touchpoints that could be generated pre-event, during the event or post-event provides a deep insight into the ‘wow’ factor that draws customers to your brand. During the event planning process, a thorough exercise of identifying relevant digital touchpoints needs to be done. Here are potential touchpoints at different stages of the event.


Create personalized attendee experiences. Send push notifications to guests through an event app to alert them about networking opportunities with attendees that share similar interests

During the event

Gather attendee data and curate their event experience. Use data from RFID powered Name Badges to provide access to relevant information at the event, managed restricted access to closed door sessions, track attendance


Post-event surveys and specific event hashtag usage on social media Track Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Digital Touchpoints for data collection

Making the entire event an interactive journey for the customer requires the business to take every single touchpoint seriously. The broadly identified touchpoints can be further broken down in a granular manner to allow collection of valuable customer data.

Figure 2 New Paradigm for Business of Data, WEF 2020

Undoubtedly, data is the powerhouse that drives event success and helps demonstrate a tangible ROI. Event Managers should be on the lookout for relevant touchpoints that provide access to rich customer data and understand the ways in which  data opens up new opportunities to create powerful customer experiences.

New Opportunities and Richer Experiences

What does this new focus on data mean for the Event Managers?

With collaborative event planning, crowdsourced initiatives, leveraging complementary strengths and shared revenue models, the event industry is capitalizing on new opportunities. A data-driven understanding of event planning and execution could potentially lead to creation of rich experiences for customers. Data insights that are captured over a period of time, ranging from pre event to post event, could provide in-depth insights and valuable customer intelligence. The end result would be a rich event experience that meets the core needs of customers and an event that meets its primary and secondary objectives. The Microsoft Ignite event held every year is a perfect example of an event experience that is constantly reinvented and perfected to create a hyper-personalized experience for each attendee. The event experience begins with each attendee creating their own event agenda and ends with attendees participating in one-to-one consultations with relevant experts. Everything that happens throughout the event is a series of experiences planned by the attendees themselves.

The new business model with data at its core- what skills do you need to leverage data and deliver value?

Organizations in the event industry are creating learning opportunities for their employees by offering CMP certifications through MPI and other ongoing education. While traditional certifications help employees get ahead on their career path, there are certain digital skills that are absolutely essential for those who work in the industry. These are skills that event managers must prioritise and place an emphasis on for the benefit of new and existing workforce.

  • Social Media Advertising 
  • Creating Digital Assets 
  • Data Analytics and Insight Generation
  • Event Tech Expertise
  • Customer Experience Management

Skill Development and creation of learning opportunities need to be right at the top of the C Level Agenda. When this happens, there are immediate results in the form of resource efficiency and better performance, and a long-term positive impact on ROI is felt. Upskilled and reskilled workers will fulfill new and emerging roles in the event industry that promise more powerful and high impact event experiences to customers.

What happens when you integrate the power of data into every customer touch point?

Leveraging the power of marketing and event data helps in the effective measurement of ROI. While a simple breakdown of ROI gives us the Event Revenue and Event Cost as the key determinants, a deeper breakdown helps us understand the complex factors that come into play. These complex factors could be sales leads, new tech adoption, resource utilization and other factors that create a memorable event experience. It is important that event ROI can be traced back to primary KPIs like ticket sales, registrations, sales leads generated, net promoter scores and other secondary KPIs like social media engagement and ad impressions.

In an economy that focuses on digital experience, using the right digital levers like automation, multiexperience and autonomous technology can help businesses recover and renew after the global pandemic. These levers can help businesses cope with new market realities, while accelerating their responses to changing customer needs. 

Here’s a look into event tech trends that leverage customer data to create a shift in perception and interaction.

  • A multiexperience event that creates a multisensory, multidevice and multitouch point experience for the customer (Conversational Platforms, Wearables, Environmental Sensors)

Data Opportunity- Collection of important demographic data for customer profiling

  • Providing customers with access to technical expertise or business domain expertise via a radically simplified experience (Virtual Assistants, Digital Integrators)

Data Opportunity- Collection of behavioral data for better query management and customer support

  • Autonomous Things and Autonomous Software to deliver the power of AI-enabled systems (Personalization and Automation across all attendee touchpoints)

Data Opportunity- Collection of contextual data for curation of event experience 

Takeaway for the C Level

  • Create an ROI-focused event strategy and identify KPIs
  • Focus on employee upskilling and reskilling to manage skills disruption
  • Identify all the event touchpoints at which meaningful customer data can be collected
  • Leverage relevant digital levers to create a memorable event experience

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