Events have always been an integral and fundamental part of customer experience: they encourage movement en masse and the brand-user relationship which becomes a reality while the performance is taking place. After the show however, once the curtain has gone down, how can you quantify the actual return from such a substantial investment for a short length of time?

The digital age opens up new scenarios for the MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibitions) industry, which up until now has been focusing on striving for the wow effect, to the detriment of benchmarking. The use of tactical solutions, not supported by strategies, has often lead to events based on one-shot efforts. Also, the information collected, mostly personal data, do not tell us  much about individual habits, which means that the resulting databases are not suitable for subsequent marketing activities. How is it possible to achieve long-term benefits turning the audience from mere viewers to loyal users?

The digital age has established a new time logic in the events world which make it possible measure and thus monetize, them. Italian companies are faced with a market consisting of 37 million smartphones and 6.5 million tablet computers, as well as with a new consumer type: 28 million owners of devices with an internet connection, with one million using exclusively the mobile channel (Source: Doxa survey 2013 – Mobile and App Economy Monitoring Unit 2014). The target is therefore increasingly digital, which means that it is essential for the MICE industry, currently a container of touch-and-go solutions, to progress towards consequential strategies before, during and after the experience, to accompany the user throughout the event. The focus, therefore is not only on performance: a digital strategy actually means engaging consumers with multi-channel solutions in the pre-event phase, then starting a brand-user relationship program with the active involvement of the audience during the relevant event. The peak should be reached during the post-event phase, with the information previously acquired making it possible to establish a 1to1 communication strategy, by sending customized communications based on the individual behaviors.

In this respect the user regains a leading role, as the key figure in the hosting event, from where you can embark on a brand loyalty path which is stable and long-lasting, but most importantly can be turned into customized buy-in actions, which have a direct impact on sell-out. By benchmarking the user experience it can be monetized in order to integrate and support sell-out trends, database building and brand awareness in the long term, from a progress marketing perspective!

Fulvio Furbatto for PromotionMagazine