Conferences are amazing, rich sources of information; by their very nature, they bring an industry’s audience together in one location. One of the services we provide to clients is the ability to investigate a conference or event for marketing communications purposes.
The Value of Conference Data
What happens when we bring a crowd of like-minded people together? We learn:
- What key topics and discussion points are most important and current to an industry
- How much mindshare a company has in a very specific context
- Who the most influential people are in an industry by relationships to each other (as opposed to more surface metrics)
Taken together, one conference provides us a snapshot of the landscape for any industry.
Example: MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2017
Let’s look at an example of this data-driven investigation by digging into the MarketingProfs B2B Forum, an event I had the pleasure and privilege to attend and keynote.
MarketingProfs B2B Forum Key Topics
Using natural language processing, we dig into the thousands of social media posts about MarketingProfs B2B Forum to determine what the most relevant words and phrases are at the event.
When we examine topic modeling, we look for the unexpected and the common. We see plenty of common – keynote speakers, social handles, etc. What’s unusual in the topics are the numbers of terms about how people feel, about attributes and emotions as opposed to neutral terms like marketing techniques and tactics. The conclusion we might draw from this analysis is that B2B marketers are looking for more resonance, more ways to speak to their audience humanly. This is expected; no industry has seen more automation of communications than B2B marketing.
Using modeling based on inverse document frequency analysis, we look at the overall mentions and their importance within individual pieces of content. Which company’s exhibition, for example, got the most traction?
Yesler’s sponsorship of a booth and the activities at it – Plinko – was the hit of the show. Helping companies understand conference mindshare also provides guidance for what activities to do – and not do – at future events.
Using graphing technology, we look at the people most talked about at a conference. Most influencer identification methods rely on fairly crude measurements like number of followers or re-shares, but at an event, we want to know who everyone else listens to. Who do the attendees reference?
We see mostly keynote speakers – unsurprising – but also their companies. Lee Odden’s Top Rank Marketing wins the overall category of who’s most talked about; marketers who want to dominate a conference’s conversations and spread the halo effect to their companies should look to Lee’s example.
This information is not only useful for post-conference reporting to determine whether an investment in the conference was worthwhile; analysis like this helps determine what to do for future events.
- Who should we follow up with?
- Who should we reach out to?
- What tactics work?
- What tactics should be shelved?
Whatever our industry is, by analyzing conferences, we create data-driven roadmaps for future marketing and communications efforts.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology