Setting the Stage for Successful Events Requires Reliable Data

“DataGroomr is great for handling de-duping issues caused by migration and data import errors. You can see the history of what you’ve done, and I feel this is also simple and easy to use for those who don’t have a lot of experience with data.”

Katrina Lawrence, Business Technologist and IT Manager

Katrina Lawrence

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Exhibitions & Events Australia is renowned for organizing consumer exhibitions in Australia. The company stages events to meet both exhibitor and visitor needs, with a focus on identifying and exceeding customer expectations. With all major Australian markets covered across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, the exhibition portfolio consists of Australia’s largest Home Shows, the MindBodySpirit Festivals and the EveryWoman Expo. EEA also has interests in New Zealand, with sister company Exhibitions & Events New Zealand, which organizes the iconic Auckland Home Show and two Christchurch Home Shows.

Providing bespoke experiences to highly targeted audiences is what makes the events industry truly dynamic. It’s something that Exhibitions & Events Australia (EEA) knows a lot about. Just visit their website to get a sense of their understanding of the importance of targeted marketing, branding, and seamless event logistics.

As the Business Technologist & IT Manager, Katrina Lawrence is very aware how crucial it is to be able to tailor solutions to create a seamless, rewarding exhibition experience. From stand bookings to the ticket registration process, the ability to tailor relies on accurate data.

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Successful Events Rely on Accurate Data to Keep Track of Products & People

EEA organizes exhibitions under three key brands: Home Show; MindBodySpirit; and EveryWoman. Their primary role is to contact local companies that sell products that would be appropriate for those exhibitions and then begin the process of arranging a booth for the exhibition. The business relies on establishing and keeping a large customer base, as well as expanding into additional vertical markets, depending on the themes of the shows.

As Katrina notes, “We’ve been doing these shows for over 25 years. We have a high retention rate compared to other sales businesses. We aim for 60-70% return business. It’s very important to have accurate data on customer history, details, etc.”

EEA provides a comprehensive pre- and post-show marketing package including digital, print, eDM promotion and experiential marketing solutions intended to deliver results for customers before, during, and after the Show. Keeping track of all that information falls under Katrina’s purview. “If we have duplicates and messy data, it definitely makes it harder to do business,” she explains.

Along with the hundreds of exhibitor opportunities, EEA is also responsible for identifying and communicating with consumers who come to the show. “Consumers actually attend the event. That’s another kind of client for us,” says Katrina. “We are charged with driving visitor attendance to the event so the exhibitor feels they’re getting exposure for their brand.”

EEA generates foot traffic of about 20,000 people per exhibition, with about a dozen events a year, across Australia. The onus is on EEA to keep a record of all attendees. On top of that, these events are generally free to attend and open to the public. As a result, EEA has a massive database of both exhibitors and visitors.

In order to protect data privacy, the information on the general public consumers who attend is much more simplistic – usually just numbers – but still must be tracked. Details on the actual clients and exhibitors, however, involve multiple data fields that provide a narrative for sales and marketing, as well as for the executives of the company. Katrina is responsible to organize and update all of the Salesforce data, and without a reliable system for data management and hygiene, it could be a giant pain.

We aim for 60-70% return business. It’s very important to have accurate data on customer history, details, etc.

Katrina Lawrence

EEA Grapples with COVID-19, Contacts, and Data Migration

According to the report The Economic Cost of COVID-19 on Australia’s Live Entertainment Industry, the pandemic is expected to strip out almost two-thirds of the economic output of the industry. The report demonstrates that the economic output of live performances and exhibits in Australia has fallen by 65% between 2019 and 2020, with the overall estimated output sliding from $36.4b down to $12.8b to post an economic output loss of $23.6b.

These numbers had very real meaning for EEA, and especially for Katrina. Due to the impact on shifting personnel needs, Katrina migrated from the EEA sales team to join the technology team. While Katrina was still on the sales team, the company changed CRM systems, from Ungerboeck to Salesforce, which is why she had a recognized strength in working with the CRM platform. With this transition, the reliance on Salesforce increased, as did the duplicates.

We had a lot of duplicates,” said Katrina, illuminating one of their major hurdles. “Part of the issue is that we had a Salesforce form on the website that automatically inserted leads. Whenever a visitor wanted to get on the mailing list, they could subscribe ten times, creating duplicates.”

Additionally, people who were exhibitors could and did sign up for the mailing list, thus creating a duplicate because they were already a contact. Dupes came across in accounts and in contacts under those accounts. “When we did the data imports, there were duplicate contacts and we’re not really sure why,” said Katrina. 

Whenever a visitor wanted to get on the mailing list, they could subscribe ten times, creating duplicates.

Katrina Lawrence

Getting a SalesFix to Go Beyond the Deduplication that Salesforce Offers

Any business that onboards a new CRM knows that users can create more duplicates, whether intentionally or not. Now on the technology side of the business, Katrina was charged with assisting the business in their plans to deliver more sophisticated marketing to consumers by using their existing data. But that data contained many duplicates, which degraded its reliability.

Having been on the sales side, Katrina was perfectly positioned to integrate knowledge from the Sales and Technology arenas to build a better view of their data. But she also realized that it was a big job for the Salesforce platform alone. The solution was to embark on a collaborative arrangement with the Salesforce consultancy SalesFix. As SalesFix notes on its website, Salesforce is only effective when it’s properly maintained and updated.

“SalesFix implemented Salesforce for us,” said Katrina. “They facilitated us in finding a deduplication solution and identified DataGroomr.”

As with many companies, EEA’s revenue was badly injured by the pandemic and was having trouble recovering. “Because we’re an events company and just went through COVID, we couldn’t generate revenue because we couldn’t hold events. We have to be smart about our budget spend,” explained Katrina.

DataGroomr’s expertise and pricing offered a perfect intersection that suited exactly what EEA needed.

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Rising Up from Down Under with Salesforce Data Cleansed of Duplicates

Katrina signed up for a DataGroomr demo and was impressed by what she saw. For the free trial, she said that it was this easy: “I was sent a login; linked to the web application; linked our org to DataGroomr and started cleaning the data.”

Katrina noted that she started playing around with merge rules and master record selection rules. She was especially impressed by the machine learning aspect of DataGroomr, which is the only Salesforce deduplication tool to apply machine learning to identify and eliminate duplicates. “I liked the easy training section because I could do a pretend dedupe session with a little Pac-Man guy. It says it thinks something is a dupe, and I would say yes or no. It’s learning as you go along.”

And the numbers showed that EEA was effectively deduping. Katrina explained, “There were 15,000 duplicate leads to contacts, and 2,700 duplicate leads, for which I did a merge.”

It was readily apparent to Katrina that DataGroomr was immediately rooting out the duplicates. “You’d open one account and there would be like three or four people in one account, and salespeople would pick one and it was all over the place. Some contacts were merged to cross accounts.”

Katrina emphasized that an important aspect of the deduplication process is being able to track the history of communication with a customer. You can’t do that if the story is being documented in multiple parts across duplicate contacts. “You’re not able to see the full history of communication, and you may seem like you don’t understand their situation. That’s not a good customer experience,” Katrina said. 

I was sent a login; linked to the web application; linked our org to DataGroomr and started cleaning the data.

Katrina Lawrence

With DataGroomr maintaining data hygiene, the sales team can have confidence that there isn’t information that is hidden from them. It’s building trust that all the information is there. Now a salesperson can call a contact and know that someone in the company logged everything. 

The pandemic has altered how most businesses operate. For Katrina, it has also been an opportunity to leverage her interest in technology. She is now pursuing an advanced degree in technology at university. She appreciates the increased level of precision DataGroomr delivers through machine learning. She recommends DataGroomr for deduplication and also advises other organizations to understand what their integrations are before they move to any platform. The integration with Salesforce, in this case, was seamless.  

I like it a lot,” said Katrina, referring to her experience with DataGroomr. “I like that you can create your own custom logic in regards to master record selection and what is considered a duplicate. Each company has a different idea on what should be a duplicate and what should not. I also like that you can see the history of what you have done. It’s simple and easy to use.

EEA Team planning