Pico X, the innovation unit of Pico Group, has expanded its data services into analytics, machine-learning and applied artificial intelligence with the release of a proprietary ExQ Experience Analytics platform to close the gap in how events and experiences are measured.
“Covid-19 (brought about more virtual events which) highlighted the urgency of understanding event performance and answering important questions about event ROI and the value of virtual versus physical events. The industry needed a more scientific approach to measuring and optimising event success to harness marketing return on investment,” stated Pico Group’s group chief digital officer, Fareeda Cassumbhoy.
When asked how ExQ Experience Analytics is different from its competitors, she said: “The data organisers review after their events is often a short, topline summary, sometimes in the form of survey findings conducted by a research company, or by asking people their opinions of the event.
“It is no longer enough to review such topline summaries post-event. With the metaverse and Web3 coming into the mainstream, the MICE industry needs to quickly learn how cater to the changing expectations and demands of consumers. Hence, it is important to use experience analytics as a benchmarking tool to measure the multi-layer performance.”
Beyond basic statistics and totals, such as number of attendees and which tracks were popular, ExQ Experience Analytics offers insights on the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of event performance. The platform uses first-party data and a proprietary algorithm to show organisers who attended their event, what content was the most engaging, and how to optimise their next event.
For Pico X, its headstart on digital transformation meant that teams had already been offering virtual and hybrid events through Virtuosity, its suite of virtual event solutions, when the pandemic hit.
But with many businesses in recovery mode, one of the challenges Cassumbhoy posits in getting organisers to take this up is “making new technology easy to adopt and profitable”, as the business events industry has entrenched business ecosystems and ways of working.
She explained: “For instance, many organisers and exhibitors are used to submitting paper forms for applications, or picking up the phone. Introducing more efficient ways of moving into exhibition halls, making and tracking online payments and status updates, means we need to establish the value that each step, feature, or proposal brings to our clients, and how it can help their businesses.
“We also find that these entrenched cultures are often the biggest hurdle to adopting new technologies, especially when it comes to measurement and evaluation. The willingness to take a hard look at the performance of marketing experiences is not something every marketer is ready to do.”
However, this does not deter Pico X’s determination to roll out ExQ Experience Analytics to more markets around the globe, and demonstrate its application to more event types.
Pico X has more technology products up its sleeves, and will soon introduce “a new platform with the potential to transform the exhibitor and organiser experience into something more efficient and effective than ever before”, revealed Cassumbhoy.
There are also plans to collaborate with existing digital platforms to offer data analytics as a service.
“The events industry has been and always will be crucial to doing any sort of business, because it’s about experiences. When we think about the industry as a traditional one, it’s often at our own peril. In fact, the events industry is one of the most exciting drivers of innovation, because it is the meeting point between businesses, brands and consumers, and will surely see constant change and disruption,” she concluded.