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The rise of the data analyst

Trevor Foley, of tfconnect, says that the data analyst has become a prized asset for many companies as we move into a new year.


A developing trend in the world of talent and recruitment has become an absolute that may make you ‘stand out’ in 2020.

As organisers specialise by sectors and/or geographies, increasingly look at the ‘data’ piece or expand their M&A and geo-clone activities, the age of the specialist or niche organiser is very much here.

The search for a General Manager is anything but a search for a generalist! There might be four or five tick boxes that need to be checked. An essential language, a particular passport, M&A experience, sector expertise, or evidence of joint venture partnership management success might be the minimum requirement to get on the shortlist for a key role. 

Such is the attention on globalisation that global organisers are, for example, looking for separate regional MDs for Hong Kong, Singapore and South China, all for the purpose of specialised growth in different countries and different regions in Asia.  

Some clients are now telling me that data marketing is growing in both strategic and tactical importance compared to the sales function. ‘Sales’ is being declared as a marketing channel and the desire for marketers who can structure, analyse and segment visitor groups are the greater need. The balance in the respective size of these two teams is set to change. 

There is more data available to organisers than ever before – the problem is that there is a challenge to turn this data into action. The sheer volume of data means Data Analysts are set to become a crucial commodity in 2020 and beyond. In truth, we are playing catch up with the tech and social media giants, so we will all need to get on top of this as quickly as possible.

More broadly, there is a positive reaction from clients being introduced to individuals who can demonstrate experience and success in delivering different forms of visitor and show experiences. Those with the ability to seamlessly blend brand messaging with attendee experience and immerse visitors in meaningful events that they won’t forget will grab the attention of today’s organisers and venue owners. It’s a necessary shift - today’s consumers are increasingly unimpressed by traditional event formats. Those with a true passion about a sector will be able to harness their creative vision to provide the most authentic means to interact with visitors.

I’m delighted to see that sustainability is also right at the top of the list of key issues for show organisers. As our customers demand we pay attention to our environmental responsibilities, organisations are beginning to make room for staff positions like Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Manager. The ability to implement strategies in order to run more efficiently, cut waste, and increase profits while doing so, is an attractive skillset to possess.

In short, the organiser growth process is becoming more sophisticated across all functions – sales, marketing, and operations – as well as at general management and C-level.

If you possess a niche specialism in any of these areas, you could be set for a brighter and bigger career in the next decade. 

Happy New Year!