David Preston, CEO and Co-Founder of Realise

David is CEO and Co-founder with COO Richard John of Realise. His work reaches into every part of the event industry – as a strategic service provider and educator, Event Apprenticeship coach, and Elevate Mentoring Board member. His team works with clients in the UK and across Europe, in the Middle East, Australia, and the U.S.A. David was named Most Influential CEO 2023 – UK (Event Registration & Intelligence) by CEO Review and recognized in 2024 by CEO View.


How to get real value from your event marketing

I am passionate about the power of events to drive business and strengthen customer loyalty. Everyone at Realise feels the same. That is why we go a little nuts when we see companies of all sizes wasting the enormous potential of their events.

I don’t want you to be one of those companies so here are a few thoughts that might help you ensure you don’t fall into that trap.

There is a simple formula we have developed for turning any event into one that gets results. And by results, I mean real business results.

Having the ability to:

  • collect data that aligns to your business objectives,
  • connect context to attendee data about their actual interests, and
  • create actionable insights that grow your business.

We call it D + C = Ai or Data + Context = Actionable insights (and aren’t you glad it’s not the other AI?!).

Events are a data goldmine. Event technology is constantly improving our ability to amass enormous amounts of data, but data by itself is just a series of ones and zeros. Individual nuggets of unknown value.

Event technology platforms offer options that let you go beyond collecting just the information on a typical business card, but, if that little amount of detail is all your business needs to succeed, no need for you to read on. Stop spending money on events and go buy targeted lists and provide better sales training.

The real gold in the mine is context.  Wrap each attendee’s data with context and you create a powerful combination. One that will have your sales team lining up for leads from your events – and your pipeline filled with real opportunities not just hope.

Let me give you an example.

Saving money vs. enriching attendee data. Even though the leading event tech platforms such as Cvent, Visit by GES, Certain, and Entegy offer tools for collecting context, many event planners are incented to “save” money – choosing to stick with basic registration.

Consider the conversation your salesperson can have with someone after attending one of your events when all they know is: the attendee’s name, company name, job title, etc. plus the event name. Maybe you connected each attendee with the products or services they currently own, who knows?

“Hi, you recently attended our ABC conference, how can we help you take the next step?”

Now consider how that conversation changes when you wrap it with context.

“Hi, so glad you were able to spend time at our ABC conference. I see you attended these three sessions […] that focused on […]. Which one had the most value for you? What stood out?

We have a White Paper I’ll forward to you that expands on the session topics.

And during the six product demos, our staff noted you have a couple of upcoming projects these solutions might help you with. I can coordinate a more in-depth review with your decision-making team. Would that be useful?”

That’s the power of context. It turns a warm follow-up call into a personal conversation based on what the customer is interested in and cares about. Your salesperson is ready with relevant new ideas or resources. Imagine how the prospect or customer feels when they know they have been heard.

The conversation becomes a consultative sale because your event team provided context giving the sales team actionable insights.

It is possible to get this kind of result with your very next event. Simply prioritise a fraction of the budget for the attendee engagement tools available in your event management platform.

  • Which sessions did each attendee choose?
  • How long did they stay? (Big difference between staying the full time and leaving a session after the first five minutes.)
  • What product or services stands did they visit? (Ideally, the event staff have skillfully used the lead capture tool to learn budget, decision-making authority, need, timing.)
  • What meetings did they have?

That is D + C = Ai. Data plus Context equals Actionable insights.


Now if you share this with your event marketing team and look to them to rethink the event data you have been collecting, you can redefine what you really need to learn from each event investment. You can capitalise on your events by using the power of context.

Real value.


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