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Strategizing Success: Insights from François Fournier, Director of Global Events at DTN

"Showing why changes are needed with solid data is key to winning support and staying agile" - François Fournier quote

Are you struggling to measure your events' impact and ROI effectively? You're not alone—many professionals today face the challenge of quantifying event success. 

In this revealing blog post, François Fournier, Head of Events at DTN, shares his expert strategies for navigating event planning. As event costs rise, leveraging data becomes essential. This post delves into François's tips on data-driven planning, balancing metrics, overcoming resistance to change, and selecting the perfect speaker.

Drawing from two decades of experience, François's insights offer a lifeline to those aiming to optimize their event outcomes.

Expert Insights

Embracing the Era of Data-Driven Event Planning

François emphasizes the criticality of data-driven strategies in a landscape where event costs are soaring. By carefully evaluating the number of qualified conversations and revenue opportunities and tracking progress through CRM systems, event planners can pivot from guessing games to informed decisions. François highlights:

"It's crucial to track key metrics like the number of qualified conversations and potential revenue opportunities. By adopting a data-driven approach, you can ensure that every event not only meets but exceeds its goals, providing a clear line of sight from initial engagement to final results." - François Fournier

Important steps to keep in mind are: 

  • Implement tools to track event-generated opportunities.

  • Focus on the quality of interactions rather than quantity.

  • Measure potential revenue from events to assess their effectiveness.

  • Use data insights to direct efforts towards high-return events.

Leverage AI for Efficient Data Analysis

Artificial intelligence can be a powerful tool for efficiently analyzing large data sets. When faced with hundreds of survey responses or other feedback forms, AI can help you rapidly parse the information to gain insights. Use AI technologies to analyze survey data post-events to measure attendee satisfaction, comprehension of messaging, and overall event success. This technology can save significant time in identifying trends and key points that need attention or improvement.

Here are some actionable steps to leverage AI for your data analysis:

  • Use AI technologies to analyze survey data.

  • Save time by using AI to pinpoint key points and trends.

  • Use insights to address areas needing attention.

Use the Data to Overcome Resistance to Change

When initiating change in an organization or working with a team with long-standing traditions or ways of doing things, it is critical to be prepared for resistance. Data-driven decision-making is your ally in such situations. Use hard data to present your case and articulate the rationale behind the shift in strategy to your team.

"The key to successful events is thorough planning and clear communication. Whether it's aligning internal teams or engaging with external partners, ensuring everyone is on the same page is vital. This collaborative approach leads to more impactful and memorable events." - François Fournier

If you clearly demonstrate how change benefits the company, your team will likely rally behind new initiatives. Continuous analysis of event ROI is essential, especially if the costs of participating in events are escalating. Keep your team updated with concrete results and iterate your strategies based on these outcomes.

Action steps to overcome resistance to change: 

  • Use data to explain the benefits of new strategies.

  • Articulate the rationale behind changes to your team.

  • Encourage a flexible mindset to adapt to new methods.

Maximize Your Sponsorship Impact

Evaluate the true impact of event sponsorships carefully. Avoid low-impact sponsorships such as those shared with other companies or with limited engagement opportunities, like coffee breaks without speaking roles. Instead, seek sponsorships that offer direct engagement, such as receptions where you can interact with attendees or mobile app sponsorships that enable push notifications. Leverage sponsorships that allow you to capture attendee impressions effectively and consider the potential to obtain attendee lists for more personalized pre-event engagement. 

Here are some actionable steps to maximize your sponsorship impact: 

  • Focus on opportunities that offer speaking roles for high visibility and interaction.

  • Choose personalized receptions or app sponsorships that include push notifications.

The Intricacies of Measuring Internal vs. External Event Metrics

When measuring the success of internal events like a global sales team conference, François recommends post-event surveys focusing on participant satisfaction and motivation levels. For external events, especially those involving digital sponsorship packages- without a physical presence- he suggests gauging success through targeted impressions, such as app downloads or keynote session attendance. These metrics are invaluable for evaluating brand exposure.

Important steps to keep in mind are: 

  • Gather feedback on satisfaction and motivation for internal events.

  • Use metrics like app downloads and session attendance for external events.

Invest in Speaker Relationship Building

Finding the right speakers for events is a time-consuming but critical task. It's not enough to engage popular or high-profile speakers; you must seek out those willing to build a session collaboratively, aligning with your event's themes and goals. Utilize speaker bureaus or third-party services that can recommend experts based on your criteria, but also cultivate direct contacts and consider recommendations from your network. Always look for speakers who are willing to understand your audience and are open to tailoring their message to fit your needs. As François says, 

"We're looking for somebody who's going to work with us, open to help us, and then present a very customized presentation.”  - François Fournier

Some action steps to follow are: 

  • Find speakers who are willing to customize their presentations.

  • Ensure the speaker aligns with your event's themes and goals.

  • Look for speakers open to collaboration.

  • Seek recommendations and use speaker bureaus to find suitable speakers.

Build Continuous Engagement Beyond Events

To foster a sense of community and keep the momentum going after an event, consider follow-up webinars featuring keynote speakers from the event or creating recorded sessions accessible to a wider audience. Utilizing such strategies can extend the life and impact of an event, keeping your community engaged and the conversation going. This approach can also draw in new prospects and reinforce relationships with existing clients.

Action steps to build continuous engagement: 

  • Feature keynote speakers in post-event sessions.

  • Provide recorded sessions for a wider audience.

AnswerBite Tip

  • Offer post-event content packages such as summaries, playbooks, expert insights, and lessons learned to keep the conversation going, attract new prospects, and strengthen existing relationships with sponsors and attendees.

  • Monetize this content with post-event modular packages, or offer it as an add-on to pre-event ticket sales.

François Fournier's insights provide invaluable guidance for optimizing event outcomes. From data-driven strategies to selecting the right speakers, François emphasizes the importance of strategic planning, collaboration, and continuous engagement.

By adopting these best practices, event leaders can ensure their events are impactful and drive meaningful results. Embrace these insights to elevate your event planning and achieve exceptional outcomes.


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