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How to mine data from online events

Online events have become a valuable marketing channel for businesses of all sizes, especially during the pandemic when live events have been scaled back. However, extracting data from online events requires specific strategies to measure intent and move prospects down the funnel.

“Online events tend to attract larger audiences than face-to-face events — at least that’s our experience — and they’re less expensive and time-consuming to produce and attend,” said Marc Sirkin, EVP Product and Technology of Third Door Media at The MarTech Conference. (Third Door Media is the parent company of the conference and this publication.)

“A marketer at a service and consulting firm told me they hadn’t considered how to play to the unique strengths of online events, the specific intent signals they could collect and the actions they could receive,” said Sirkin. “It just never occurred to them.”

Dig deeper: What is a digital event platform and how can it help you?

This is how marketers can gain valuable insights when they play to the strengths of online events.

Find the right data from online events

There are a number of touchpoints in an online event, each of which offers marketers an opportunity to gain insights from attendees.

Registration. When participants register, they may provide firmographic and demographic information. The event host can also ask custom questions during registration. For example, does this participant have the authority to make purchasing decisions? Are they in the market for the product or service you are selling?

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“I think the craft here is not asking too much, but getting what you need and what’s useful to understand your audience,” Sirkin said.

Third Party Data. The data coming in from this particular online event can also be filled in by an external data company.

“You can always use third-party data services to augment and enhance that data, and then connect it to your CRM for a more complete picture of your attendees,” Sirkin said.

event activity data. Some of the best signals of intent come from the way attendees navigate the event.

“Did you watch your session live or on demand or both?” Sirkin asked. “Some platforms even provide timestamps so you know if someone was watching, say, outside of business hours or over the weekend.”

And a bigger picture – did they even attend the event or just signed up?

Additional Links. With an online session, the host or sponsor of the event may also have the option to add additional resources alongside the presentation.

What participants click on in these resources can further clarify their intent. They can also help educate the participant and provide more calls to action. If they are very interested, they can even sign up for a meetup or demo.

“A marketing executive at a service company told me that from her perspective, if someone asks a quality question or takes a specific action like downloading a white paper, that’s the person of interest and [you should] take appropriate action,” Sirkin said. “And finally, she said, most people don’t ask any questions.”

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Digging Deeper: Why Are We Interested in Virtual Events?


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Organize the dates of online events

The data from online events is a rich source of information.

“For example, you could create specific ABM triggers that are more personalized than your average drip campaign,” Sirkin said.

Marketers can create scoring models based on the various actions that attendees took at the event. This allows you to see which prospects are further down the funnel.

Who were the prospects who asked questions, either in a comment box during a session or in a poll? Who is following your company on social media within 24 hours of the event? These are all strong signals that become actionable when compared to all other actions taken during the event.

Download the MarTech Intelligence Report: Enterprise Platforms for Digital Events: A Marketer’s Guide

Also, set up a formal lead review process with key stakeholders before the event, instead of getting overwhelmed with all the data coming in after the event. This means you need to coordinate your efforts between marketing and sales.

“A B2B software vendor told me after an event that sales typically get the leads they want based on these criteria, and the rest of those leads are thrown into a drip campaign,” Sirkin said. “Involving them in some sort of generic drip campaign — does that make sense, or is there a missing part of the process here, almost like a mid-engagement funnel that you could create?”

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Once marketing and sales are organized, the data coming in from an online event becomes even more valuable. The trick is knowing where to look to discover and mine the data. Then create a plan to take action based on that data.

Watch this presentation from The MarTech Conference by registering (it’s free).


About the author

Chris Wood has over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as an associate editor, providing original analysis of the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed tech and political leaders, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins to former Cisco CEO John Chambers to Vivek Kundra, who was named the country’s first federal CIO by Barack Obama. He is particularly interested in how new technologies, including language and blockchain, are revolutionizing the marketing world as we know it. In 2019 he moderated a panel on “Innovation Theater” at the Fintech Inn in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-oriented reporting in industries such as Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age, and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS and contributes fiction, criticism, and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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