Exhibition News June 2018 - Page 15

ANALYSIS Harnessing the power of data NEC marketing director Martin Clarke explains how the venue’s customer segmentation initiative is helping organisers market and grow events U nderstanding your audiences is the secret to growing events, and the NEC is helping organisers reach their potential with the industry’s most powerful event customer data collection and analysis tool – customer segmentation. The groundbreaking initiative intelligently uses customer insight in a way that surpasses anything else previously available in events industry by allowing organisers to accurately connect with their audiences wants and needs. This data then brings the opportunity for organisers to tailor event content to refl ect, and even exceed, audience expectations. develop new show concepts. What makes this even more of an important innovation is the experience and expertise the NEC brings to the use of this uniquely powerful data model. We have the resources to go out to the market and work in partnership with organisers to apply the knowledge and insight the data offers to the very best effect. And segmentation is not a one-off project of course, we are constantly adding and analysing new data to ensure that we are in touch with new audience trends and attitudes - and to evolve our propositions and services. The possibilities are limitless. Exploring the nature of event audiences Customer segmentation helps to… The project started with a research study exploring fi ve factors: who the NEC’s customers are, why they attend events, how the NEC engages with them, their hierarchy of venue needs and their customer experience ‘wants’. It rapidly expanded from a purely venue perspective to capturing whole show experience. The study combined in-depth information on over three million UK adults, including ticket buying habits over a six-year period from NEC Group data and bespoke research data from event attendees, looking at their motivations and needs. From this, the NEC were able to identify seven distinct segments of people who share common characteristics, including life stage and lifestyle, behaviours and attitudes. An in-depth understanding of what motivates people to buy tickets enables us to see what will add value to the event for them – what makes them feel good, from show content to simple things like food, comfort, ease of access and so on – and create a hierarchy of needs which helps organisers shape their events and services to improve the customer experience. This in turn leads to return visits and increased sales which we can then further analyse to fi ne hone the offering for more and more growth: a virtuous circle with great potential for the whole industry. Customer segmentation promises to help organisers optimise the potential of their shows – and evidence certainly suggests that it is delivering on that promise. The NEC has helped to identify growth areas for a wide range of shows, enabling them to reach new audiences with new content, and tailoring propositions to match those audiences with messages appealing to their profi les. Segmentation has also helped identify potential gaps in the market so the venue is currently working with organisers to • Sell more to existing customers – with closely targeted marketing activity and channels - and identifying parallel interests where sales can be grown. • Identify new audiences – by profi ling existing audience types and matching them with potential new customers. • Enable better informed media choices – by segment, profi le and geography – leading to improved ROI. • Identify sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities – through in depth mining of brand choices across audience sectors, matching those choices to shows so organisers can approach the brands and form partnerships. The UK in seven segments 20% Content routiner 20% Social families 17% Family fi rst 17% Established enthusiast 11% Mature explorer 8% You-Gens 7% Unconstrained affl uent event w i f i . com exhibitionnews.co.uk | June 2018 15