How to Analyze Conference Data For Marketing and PR

conference marketing header

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.

conference topic model example

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.

Marketing Mindshare

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?

conference idf analysis

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.

Conference Influencers

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?

conference influencer analysis

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.

What Next?

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

Download our new eBook, How Social Broke PR

Posted on October 10, 2017 in Analytics, Conferences, Events

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change. Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim. He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.
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