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Event data overload ‘needs philosophers over scientists’

Eventprofs are faced with an overload of information which needs “more philosophers than data scientists”, according to an industry expert.

Enrico Gallorini, co-founder of GRS Research & Strategy, believes organizers need to go back to basics with the questions they ask their audience, in order to really understand their needs.

It comes after his company acquired the Info Salons ME registration company with the aim of better “humanizing” the information gathered during this process.

He said: “The most unexpected question is always the most basic one – the why of something.

“This is the key but unusual question, because it is not quantitative – it is a qualitative way of doing research.

“Here is where our industry is going – blending the quantitative approach to a more robust and strong qualitative approach.

“We have to have the courage to go back to the why of things – as a research company, we have to have more philosophers than data scientists.

“Today we live with data obesity. To overcome having so much data we need to have a number of things.”

These include:

  • Specific industry benchmarks
  • Deep analysis and understanding 
  • The ability to visualize thoughts into useable action plan 
  • Integrate different but comparable data
  • Asking the right questions
  • Investing in qualitative interviews
  • Having the time to create a strategy based on data

Humanizing data is ‘future of event research’

Exhibitions are the highest collective moments for a specific industry – companies, competitors, suppliers, opinion leaders and more come together to build.

Enrico, who is also president of Info Salons ME, believes the “unique experience” of registration is where a participant’s data becomes humanized – manifesting with the person appearing arriving on the showfloor.

This is partly behind the reason for the move to acquire the registration company.

He said: “That onsite moment is magic, it is unique and is the secret to what makes an exhibition wonderful and the most exciting business generator – that person becomes real.

“I feel that registration is an Art – it is very, very, very difficult to humanize data.

“This data humanization is something that we really need to care about.

“The human touch in our industry is the core value. 

“The brand, the history, the reputation as the best registration experience is for sure Info Salons ME.”

Enrico set out that larger events have a greater complexity to make the participant experience a good one.

The ability to make that happen comes down to solving any last minute problems, having procedures in place and the ability to data into “a person that enters the door of the exhibition”.

Enrico believes this humanization process is the “future of the research industry” which can drive human experience at shows.

He added: “If data is the currency of our industry, Info Salons ME is the bank of the industry and GRS is the financial expert.

“Many organizers are thinking of internalizing many activities, including the registration.

“I believe that having the right partner that can help and be solution-oriented instead of only technology-oriented is a unique asset, and Info Salons ME is the best in this.”

Digital evolution, not revolution

Enrico believes the technological uptake of our industry has so far been so far been slow, in part due to it having a strong business model.

That is why he has argued that little will change for exhibitions by the time we hit 2030.

However, the market’s need to focus on customer experience will lead to an evolution in tech tools, rather than a “digital revolution”.

He said: “To think about the future, we have to consider the trajectories that our element of dissertation has.

“As a researcher I want to focus on methodology and theories to predict the possible future, so not giving my point of view, but fact and element to reflect.

“One of the most interesting theories that I feel it is very suitable to apply to our industry is the Lindy Effect.”

The theory proposes the longer something has been and continues to be used, the longer its remaining life expectancy.

It argues that longevity implies a resistance to change, obsolescence or competition and has a greater odds of continued existence into the future.

He added: “So I expect that the actual business model that has centuries of resilience will still be valid in 2030, seven years from now.”

Enrico describes this as “good news for our industry”, however the resistance to change can be negative for innovation through tech.

Despite this, he believes organizers will begin to invest in elements that can support the best customer experience.

The starting point for this process of “empowering” the exhibition would be through “useful digital and tech innovation”.

Enrico said: “I want to be clear, I feel that already our industry is aligned with the main needs of the markets – so I do not see a huge revolution.

“I feel there will be many evolutions, especially on sustainability and the use of data.”

Enrico believes our industry has emerged from the pandemic stronger than before.

That is why he has argued now is a good time to experiment with ideas and make changes – as long as it is backed up by figures.

He said: “To promote innovation it is fundamental to arrive with numbers, best practice and methods – not with ideas and opinions. 

“It is important to ask for a specific budget to test, try and experiment with new elements.

“That’s not to change the business as it is, but to increment and adapt to the new needs of users and beneficiaries – exhibitors and visitors.”

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