How to Leverage AI to Drive Digital and In-Person Event Success

February 1, 2023

Rodney Hart

Rodney Hart is the vice president of events at RainFocus, defining the company’s event portfolio while showcasing the power of the RainFocus event platform. He is focused on using event data to comprehensively measure event ROI across event types and specific event behaviors. Previously, Hart worked at Dell Technologies optimizing the onsite tech stack of in-person enterprise events of over 15,000 attendees and most recently pivoted to build large-scale digital and hybrid experiences.

Business leaders are increasingly asking their marketing teams to innovate upon key performance metricsthat’s how we create, assess and use measurements to drive superior outcomes. Consumer preferences and trends today are evolving at a rapid speed and frequency. To keep pace, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is needed for organizations to collect data, analyze and extract actionable insights. 

Event marketers have long been siloed, operating under the assumption that events were the sole critical touchpoint in a buyer’s journey. That’s no longer the case, as event leaders realize AI isn’t just the future, it’s heavily ingrained in the presentinforming data-driven experiences from a user’s first touchpoint to their last. 

Digitally Led Engagement 

Whether you’re targeting a customer at a digital or in-person event, it’s become increasingly difficult for event marketers to map a “perfect” buyer journey. In reality, perfection doesn’t exist, and striving for such a goal can make marketers too near-sighted. Actual value comes from connecting your event data with deep learning processes to develop prescriptive recommendations. AI supports this initiative.  

For decades, collecting event data was a menial task due to the limited resources needed to combine, create and test its accuracy. Now, it’s become the cornerstone of enterprises’ internal operations across industries, allowing leaders to measure their strategies’ impact and success through real-time customer feedback. 

Marketers must contextualize their event information to get the most out of their datasets by combining their first-, second- and third-party data. Then they can deploy the use of AI to automate the process of interpreting data to recognize patterns, adding a layer of reasoning to develop personalized and relevant recommendations based on each individual’s specific content needs.  

Over time, this repetition will fundamentally change how marketers detect and influence users’ behaviors that matter most with the right messages, reducing the potential for missed opportunities. Subsequently, end-to-end event management platforms that prioritize building contextualized data catalogs will continuously enrich attendees’ experiences by delivering intuitive content. 

Eliminating Binary Thinking 

Faced with heightened customer expectations, event marketers require a mindset shift to eliminate binary thinking that has long pitted physical and virtual events against one another. For the last few years, the name of the game was agilityhow quickly marketers can pivot the format of an event. We’ve always known the event format affects whether a customer’s journey is relevant or not, but to date, the ability to measure its impact positively or negatively on a customer’s experience has been just out of reach.  

By integrating AI into an end-to-end event management platform, marketing leaders can standardize the array of sources from which they collect information, including registration, social profiles and previous channel interactions. This enables the achievement of a new level of sophistication that allows marketers to forecast the effectiveness of their event portfolios and strategies to best connect with their target audience. 

Looking ahead, eliminating looming customer uncertainties will be key for marketing leaders’ ability to achieve optimal engagement across big, small and mid-sized events without straining their budgets.

AI Introduces a New Chapter for Event Marketing  

Marketers often want to precisely allocate their resources to the most effective channels to achieve the highest ROI, prioritizing profit instead of relevancy for the customer. It’s important to infuse your marketing processes with AI to avoid being stuck in a loop of perpetual uncertainty. Meaningful change begins by understanding the effectiveness of current efforts and learning how to elevate them to deliver more impact to stakeholders, customers and end-consumers.  

Experimentation and curiosity are key parts of a marketer’s DNA. By continuing to consider new avenues and strategies, marketers will usher in a new age of hyper-personalized attendee experiences that earn customer loyalty again and again.

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Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact