Key figures in the exhibition industry have told EW that companies are beginning to use Big Data to drive the industry forward.
There has been a tendency to reflect too much on historical performance, rather than using data to deliver a vision of the future, according to Peter Hall, managing director at Informa Global Exhibitions. He added that strategy has relied too much on ‘gut instinct’. “This leads to a fragmented, reactive approach to planning,” argues Jonathan Dufton, managing director at SmartXpo. “It is also operationally inefficient, as key data points, from sales records to internal analysis reports, are rarely centrally located, making sourcing critical information labour intensive.”
SmartXpo’s solution, centralising data into a universally accessible dashboard, allows financial, operational, and customer information to be collected in a standardised method across the organisation.
Meanwhile, BPA Worldwide, a provider of business media auditing services, will launch ‘The B2B Media Exchange’, a Private Marketplace (PMP) for online advertising comprised of its media and event members. This has been decided on the back of research on the digital marketplace with media buyers.
BPA president and CEO Glenn Hansen told EW that smart use of data is a ‘knowledge issue’ that requires a mindset change. “Currently, individual members aren’t able to reach scale on their own to interest technology vendors to set up automated online ad trading, but when they band together and overlay data on audiences reached, BPA’s B2B members (media companies and organisers alike) can have an impact in the marketplace and attract premium pricing.
“With events there is a tradition for online space being sold as part of the package of sponsorship, so only exhibitors would appear on the website. While this makes sense for the run-up to the event and during the event, there is a missed opportunity to communicate with the event audience throughout the year and monetise that audience to advertisers who have not yet exhibited.”
GES is also finding value in smart use of data, notably via its N200 platform. See p38 for more.