Four ways to make events more meaningful for audiences

Four ways to make events more meaningful for audiences

Natasha Wood, Head of Strategy explains how FT Live delivers events that connect people and brands in a truly memorable way.

This article is produced in partnership with Cvent.

What are the most pressing challenges of the events world, and how can we resolve them? C&IT and Cvent gathered events and marketing professionals for a half-day event at Lumière London Underwood on 8 June to discuss and debate the new events landscape. 

Natasha Wood, head of strategy for FT Live, kicked off the event with a keynote on why the power of events to connect brands and audiences and deliver meaningful experiences is now stronger than ever.

Wood described how the pandemic highlighted the importance of human connections and serendipitous conversations, where “answers are found to questions we didn’t know we needed to ask”. 

Post-pandemic, one of the biggest challenges for corporate event planners internally has been justifying bringing back in-person events. From a business perspective, the margins and reach of digital events can be fantastic and a vital part of an event strategy. Yet, as Wood explained, in-person events are essential for a sustainable portfolio. 

For an insight into FT Live’s event strategy, Wood shared four things she is “doubling down on” to ensure the brand’s events are more relevant to their audiences than ever before.

1. Innovative networking

“Invest in your networking capabilities – and that’s not only about putting great technology in place,” said Wood, who suggested breaking networking into five areas: time, space, content, technology and profile. “Think about the space, the infrastructure, and the amount of time allocated to networking,” she said. “Content encourages networking, so consider themed business lounges. Roundtables are a great example of how networking can be embedded into the event experience. Matchmaking tech is the final aspect to consider.”

2. Interrogate the data

Data on attendee behaviour, from both digital and in-person events, must be “interrogated to understand what attendees are telling you about the experience. And use that data to design your event experience,” suggested Wood.

When asked about benchmarking metrics, Wood listed revenue, profit figures, engagement, retention and NPS score, which is broken down into the quality of the content experience, networking etc. 

3. Stay agile

A recession and budget cuts are potential future headwinds for event planners. Wood urged the audience to not “forget everything we've learned over the last few years. Digital events are still an important part of our arsenal, and are great ways to stay connected with our communities between events.” 

Agility is also crucial in Wood’s approach to bridging the gap between live and virtual communities. She explained that it is useful to adopt a mindset of digital transformation, which involves experimentation, testing different technologies, and learning.

4. Know your attendee inside out

Understanding your audience, the different groups within your audience, and the problems that you're trying to solve for them, should be at the core of all your event planning, advised Wood: “If you know your sectors, understand the problem you're trying to solve, and design your events accordingly, you have a recipe for success.”

Find out how Cvent can help you leverage attendee data to maximise your event success.