Why Elevate Believes Data Is The Future For Events Businesses

Events businesses are enjoying a new lease of life as countries around the world ease their pandemic restrictions, but new research suggests too few have a clear idea of ​​how to measure their success. Events specialist Elevate warns there is little consensus on which key performance indicators (KPIs) to capture in order to evaluate the performance of an event – ​​and, in many cases, little effort to capture any meaningful data at all.

Elevate’s research is intended to serve as a wake-up call to events businesses staging large-scale experiences such as festivals and sports tournaments, but also smaller events. While there is widespread interest in KPIs such as net promoter scores (NPS), total purchase value (TPV), and visitor satisfaction scores, the research suggests these data points are rarely collected at events.

“While allowing for every event working to different goals, it’s clear that there is room for greater understanding of what’s possible in event measurement across the board,” says Ed Wood, Elevate’s CEO.

In practice, marketers’ events demands vary, not least depending on the size of their businesses, where they operate, and the industries in which they specialise. Among the larger companies, for example, favored KPIs include return on investment, brand recall scores and TPV. But while retail brands are more interested in the latter, FMCG businesses tend to focus on brand preference. UK marketers are particularly likely to focus on NPS as a measure of success.

The broader point, argues Wood, is that as the global industry events bounces back from its near total shutdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, organisers and marketers need access to much better data in order to seize the opportunity effectively and efficiently. “So often, the rationale for doing events is subjective, but the data that brands need in order to evaluate the experience objectively is not there.”

Elevate’s own solution to the problem is its newly-launched Impact technology platform, which marketers to capture a broad range of data, in real time, about how their events are performing. “Our aim is to give the events sector a benchmark against which to measure its success,” Wood explains. The platform captures data prior, during and after an event, and provides marketers with performance reporting tailored to the metrics they are most interested in.

The launch of Impact represents a new departure for Elevate, founded more than 15 years ago as a business to provide events staff to brands worldwide. The recruitment business grew quickly in the years following its launch, placing “brand ambassadors” with specific skills and experiences with events businesses looking for the best candidates for each event. Elevate focused on the UK in its early years before launching a highly successful US operation in 2017.

However, the emergence of Covid-19 in 2020 threatened to send the business into a tailspin as events around the world were postponed or canceled completely. “We just went off a cliff – our revenues fell to zero overnight,” Wood recalls.

At the time, that looked potentially existential, but in retrospect, Wood insists he would not change anything about the experience the business went through. “It gave me time and space to reflect, and I realised there was a massive opportunity here,” he explains.

One salvation for Elevate came through work supplying people for pandemic-related needs such as Covid-19 testing and vaccination sites. Many of the staff on its books had highly transferable skills that made them ideal for such work. That ensured Elevate was able to actually grow during the pandemic, and to focus on expansion, with new ventures launched in France, Germany and Austria.

In addition, Wood began to think more deeply about Elevate’s value proposition; the business had already invested resources in building its own customer relationship management (CRM) platform, and Wood saw an opportunity to develop technologies that it could offer externally. Impact is the product of that vision.

Looking forward, Wood believes the company’s new venture has the potential to outtrip its traditional recruitment business in terms of value. Elevate is able to offer the platform to clients for whom it is recruiting staff, but is also pitching it as a standalone service for events businesses worldwide.

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