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November 3, 2023

How to Optimize Your Event Journey (Before, During, and After)

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An event marketing strategy isn’t just hosting one experience and calling it a day; it’s an entire adventure for the consumer from start to finish. But many brands focus too much on the experience itself and not the journey to get there and beyond. 

In this blog, we’ll break down how to optimize your event journey not just for your consumer but for your entire team. We’ll talk about how to improve your:

  1. Pre-Event Registration
  2. Mid-Event Participation and Personalization
  3. Post-Event Feedback
Overwhelmed? We got you.

“Optimize” — What does it mean?

When we say “optimize,” we’re not just using it as a buzzword. “Optimize” in this context means identifying clunky and overly manual processes in your strategy and taking steps to reduce friction where you find it. 

To optimize your event journey is to make every consumer touchpoint part of your experience and leave a lasting impression beyond the current moment. 

Pre-Event Registration

The first step in your consumer’s event journey is to register for your event. If you’re charging for tickets or offering a free sign-up, this step is vital. Not only does it help you keep track of the number of attendees, but it also allows you to collect essential data that can be valuable for future marketing campaigns and understanding how your current event impacts your overall strategy.

The two ways to optimize your pre-event registration are:

  • A first-party booking site that stays on brand
  • A platform where you can create your experience ahead of time to collect info during the event itself (especially great for event series and one-offs).
Platforms open the door to new options and opportunities

Branded Registration

One of the biggest complaints we hear from customers who’ve switched to AnyRoad is that before using our platform, they had to link to a different site entirely for their event registration. 

Guests would go to book tickets and end up on some other URL with entirely different branding, leaving them confused and put off. Not to mention, all that information went through the third-party platforms on its way to the hosts. That means they were suddenly in competition with the platform they relied on, unable to keep customer data for their marketing. 

The third-party platforms would reach out to the guest to recommend other events (often competitors) similar to what the brand offered. And for those who looked to avoid the issue with walk-ins, like brand home experiences, it’s usually a logistical nightmare with disparate platforms, point of sale systems, or even (dare we say it) pen and paper registration.

How to optimize

Using a first-party platform that keeps your URL, branding, and back-end data collection is vital for consumer ease and a frictionless signup process. By keeping your sign-up first-party, you’re making your consumer feel better about offering their data to register, knowing it’s just your company rather than an entirely different event service and ticketing platform that hosts it’s own search and communities. 

You’re able to ask for what information you need, offer marketing opt-in opportunities, and more to create an immediate and extended connection with your consumer without having to share it with third-party platforms.

Event Registration Optimization Example

For an example of where optimizing the registration process had an amazing impact, we turn to Ben & Jerry’s Factory Experience, a customer of ours. One of the big issues that brand homes often face is the walk-in factor. Although you might be able to set up pre-registration, it can be hard to get both online bookings and walk-ins on the same data platform.

“Unfortunately, since we were getting as many as 2,000 visitors a day, our guests often had to wait in line for a half hour or more just to get a ticket. Worse, they might have to wait up to another three hours for their tour to begin. That wasn’t ideal for them or us.” - Samantha Lacasse, General Manager of Ben & Jerry’s Factory Experiences. 

When they switched to AnyRoad’s booking and ticketing platform, they were able to reduce wait times and better schedule ahead for their ongoing tours.

“It’s been great to finally give people the convenience and flexibility they’ve long wanted. As we ramp back up to our pre-pandemic levels of tour hours and operations, using AnyRoad is going to make an even bigger impact.” - Amy Weller, Admin & Marketing Coordinator of Ben & Jerry’s Factory Experiences.

To see how they automated 73% of their bookings and more, read the full story!

Ben & Jerry's Factory Experiences

Activation & Event Platforms

When you go into your event, how are you preparing? Sure, you’ve ordered the branded swag and have a photo wall with a hashtag ready to go. But how are you collecting info about who’s coming to your event, especially if you’re not selling or offering tickets? 

Brands often invest tons of money into the flash and flair of their branded experience but need to plan for database growth, NPS surveys, and other metrics to showcase how the event drove a return on the investment. 

How to optimize

A Google Form is fine for those preparing for an event. But for the brands planning to grow, scale, and invest beyond one-off events, this process becomes manual and dysfunctional rather quickly. Creating an event dashboard that you can reference in real time and after the event can save you time in the moment and the long term.

Rather than pulling and collating collected data manually, planning to feed your data into one platform can save days of review later. It also pays to find a solution that can function offline, so when you’re back in a more wifi reliable location, you can upload the info without problems. And, by using a platform that integrates with the rest of your tech stack, your teams can better share results and connect the dots between experiential marketing and your business goals

Mid-Event Participation and Personalization

You’ve gotten all your ducks in a row and have an experience pop-up, activation, brand home tour, or class ready to go. Now it’s time to execute — but how do you reduce the friction of your event itself? 

For field marketing and activations, the issue lies in making data collection as seamless as possible. For example, when you set your activation goal to grow your database, what’s the plan for making that happen during the event? Sure, you can link a QR code to a form, but unless you’re using best practices and the right value exchanges, you might have a series of “no thank yous” and long waits.

For brand homes, how are you delivering a personalized experience? As more and more brands enter the brand home space, standing apart from the crowd is vital for offering an experience that lasts beyond the moment. When you connect your brand with consumer memory, they’re more likely to purchase your product moving forward. 

The two ways to optimize the experience delivered during the event are:

  • Simplified value exchange and registration for line reduction and quicker database growth
  • Offering specific personalization for increased consumer conversion and purchase intent

Line Reduction

No one likes a line, so many brands suffer from lower NPS ratings and negative feedback due to a slow-moving wait. The fact is, it’s not too hard to keep the line moving, but it requires some planning and the right tech.

Remember that offline mode we talked about earlier? Part of keeping a line moving and a frictionless event experience hinges on reliable tech. If your forms go down, that will take a toll on your wait time. So, finding a platform that can work anywhere, regardless of Wi-Fi circumstances, is a great way to eliminate that issue.

Another way to keep your lines under control is to assign at least one person dedicated to data collection. Or, as it was referred to in our recent blog, the Jack Black of your team. This person has a QR code that open to your registration form and walks up and down the line to get people registered before they get to the front. 

Offline Event Example

JUST Egg, a plant-based egg made by Eat Just, learned through market research that the biggest barrier to getting consumers to try their product was hesitation about whether a plant-based egg could taste as good or better than one from a chicken. Yet, 90% of consumers who taste the product go on to buy it.

They decided to run a 300-event activation series that included festivals and grocery store pop-ups. By using AnyRoad’s offline mode, they could continue collecting data even in more remote festival locations.

Read more on their strategy and their 30,000 data point growth here

JUST Egg pop-up

In-Experience Personalization

Personalization is a vital part of creating an experience that speaks directly to your consumer. It uses consumer data to create a one-to-one interaction personalized to each customer. 

In fact, according to a 2020 Salesforce study, 97% of marketers noticed an increase in business outcomes as a result of personalization. When you leap into personalization, you get increased revenue, more responsive marketing, improved data collection, and a higher return on investment.

So, how do you personalize an experience? This one has one foot in the pre-registration world and one in the mid-event world. By collecting some data from your guests during booking (or mid-event as they’re registering in real-time), you can ask your consumers and visitors what their preferences are for the experience. 

If you’re doing a spirit tasting, what are their favorite kinds of flavors? Even having their name as part of the experience can be enough for in-event personalization. 

Brand Home Personalization Example

Diageo’s Johnnie Walker is the world’s best-selling scotch whisky, and is available in over 180 countries. Diageo made a major investment in Scotch Whisky tourism and the power of in-person, sensory experiences to drive consumer engagement and long-term profitability. 

It sought, in Johnnie Walker Princes Street (JWPS), to create an experience that would accommodate a lot of people, while also customizing and personalizing the experience for every guest. The idea was to meet people wherever they were in their whisky journey, catering to everyone from the curious to the connoisseur.

The JWPS team needed to deliver customization and personalization at scale. Data captured in the AnyRoad-powered booking process is combined with AI to create a customized flavour profile for guests on the signature ‘Journey of Flavour’ tour experience. The drinks guests are given during the tour are then tailored to their unique profile.

A look inside JWPS

Post-Event Feedback and Follow-up

Congratulations! You’ve run your experience, and everyone left happy and satisfied. Does that mean the event is officially over? Not quite. 

You still need to follow up with the consumers you connected with at your experience for a post-event survey to get everyone’s favorite experience metric, the net promoter score! It’s not too hard to send an email; the challenge is automating the process and analyzing large volumes of feedback in a way that surfaces trends beyond just the total rating by itself. Some of the most valuable insights can be found from the additional comments consumers share, in addition to NPS.

This kind of data aggregation can be a huge manual load on top of sending out your surveys. For many brands, so much of the data they collect lives in different places and multiple platforms. Pulling it all together is a huge time sink, with hours, even days wasted. That effort can go to so much more impactful activities. 

Optimize this process with:

  • Automated post-event follow-ups three months and six months after
  • Aggregated data on one platform and automated feedback analysis to surface individual trends and patterns

Post-Event Follow-Ups

Have you ever attended an event and walked away feeling like you were left hanging? You had a great experience but have yet to hear from the brand again. That's where automated post-event follow-ups come in handy. 

By sending out feedback and NPS surveys three months and six months after the event, brands can gain a better understanding of how attendees perceive their brand over time and how their events affect purchasing behavior. 

Plus, it saves time for the brand by automating the process. By getting feedback and a Net Promoter Score, brands can better tailor the event journey to their attendees and improve brand perception.

How the feedback process works with AnyRoad's Pinpoint

Better Data Aggregation

When gathering consumer data, it can be easy to fall into the trap of having it scattered across different platforms. But brands should really aggregate all that data into one central hub. 

This approach helps prevent the data from getting siloed, meaning that every piece of feedback, no matter what event it's from, can be easily tracked and connected with profiles to understand your consumers better. Pair that with automated real-time analytics, and it can become easy to surface meaningful patterns and trends that can be used to guide your strategy going forward. Brands can gain a clearer view of the entire event journey of their consumers and save valuable time and human resources.

Data aggregation and dedicated analytics can provide a wealth of benefits, including avoiding siloed data, better tracking of trends and patterns, and saving valuable hours. That's especially true when you have a large number of events (often globally) and want to ensure that your event journey is seamless, consistent, and data-driven

Data Aggregation and Analytics Example

Conversate Collective, an experiential events agency, was eager to create purchasing behavior profiles to drive revenue for their CPG beauty client. 

The best way to build that database? A series of large-scale field marketing events. 

Conversate’s goal was not only to engage large segments of the beauty brand’s consumer base but also to learn more about them. They were eager to understand consumer behavior, like where they live, shop, and how often they use the brand’s beauty products.

Not only was AnyRoad’s platform able to identify buyer behavior, but it also found new cultural segments in the beauty brand that they could market to. AnyRoad’s insights and reporting also discovered that of all the events, beauty consultations were the most popular.‍

Perhaps most telling of all, the data surfaced by AnyRoad showed that 74% of guests were more likely to purchase the CPG beauty brand’s product after attending one of the events.

"It was helpful to have this data to really know what and how customers were feeling and how that aligned or didn't align, with what brand was doing or expectations that they had,” says Aja Bradley-Kemp, Conversate’s Founder and Chief Experience Officer.

Ultimately, AnyRoad helped Conversate and their beauty brand client gain a clearer picture of how they perform with their current demographic and who they should consider targeting going forward. Those insights are critical as the beauty brand works to scale, grow its business, and meet the needs of loyal and new fans alike.

Deepen Your Relationships

With ever-evolving technology, your event journey can be optimized to foster deeper connections between brands and customers at every touchpoint. Taking the time to pre-plan registration, review existing structures, and develop innovative customer feedback loops can not only help you learn from previous experiences but also give you the tools to keep innovating. 

Recognizing what’s possible for event engagement is the key first step. You don’t have to build everything from scratch. There are plenty of tools out there that can help with improving pre-event registration, mid-event participation and personalization, and post-event engagement. Reaching your highest potential isn’t out of reach — so why wait? Start building automated processes to drive success in your current and upcoming events. You have the power to dictate healthy brand growth and maximum efficiency for you and your team. 

Ready to get started on optimizing your event journey? Download our free ebook now for more info on how to make your scaling happen without the mental breakdown!

Step 1: Evaluate Your Scheduling Software Needs

Before researching online booking systems, evaluating your business needs is essential. After all, you don’t want to overspend on bells and whistles when you only need an online form. For newer events looking to scale, a more sophisticated system might be the goal but not the starting point.

Consider the type and size of your business, the nature of your services, and the volume of transactions you handle. For instance, if you run tours and tastings, you should look at solutions meant for high-volume enterprises that can include add-on shirts, beer steins, and more.

Scheduling Software Flowchart

We made a helpful flowchart to help you decide if you’re ready to invest fully in online bookings or look into a free scheduling app, like Google Forms, as a better starting point.

As someone trying to make smart investment decisions, you don’t want to buy a booking and ticketing solution that doesn’t meet your needs. Use our guided questions to determine where you are in your investment journey.

Booking System flowchart
Use the flow to gauge where you are on your journey!

2. Compare Booking Page Features and Pricing

Booking Page Features

Once you have a clear idea of your business needs, you can compare online booking systems that meet your criteria. Have a list of your most essential needs and what would be nice for you to have. Some features you should consider including on your list include:

  • Website integration
  • Branded booking page
  • Configurability to match your brand
  • Payment processing and add-on sales
  • Automated reminders
  • Automatic data analysis
  • Feedback collection and analysis
  1. Website integration
  2. Branded booking page
  3. Configurability to match your brand
  4. Payment processing and add-on sales
  5. Automated reminders
  6. Automatic data analysis
  7. Feedback collection and analysis






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