5 Questions With Big Data Expert John Santaferraro

By Kelsey Ogletree, March 7, 2017

John Santaferraro big dataJohn Santaferraro spent the last 21 years in big data analytics helping companies in all industries recognize the value of data and analytics. The meetings and events industry is next to make this shift. Recently hired as chief analytics officer of Educational Measures, a second-screen technology company that puts an iPad in the hand of every participant during a live meeting, Santaferraro is charged with helping define how discovery and predictive analytics will increase ROI for live meetings. Here’s why it matters to medical meeting planners especially.

What is the value of collecting big data for meeting planners?

There were studies done on analytics and ROI in 2011 and 2013. In 2011, the studies showed that for every dollar spent on analytics, there was a $10 return on investment. In 2013, that same study showed a $13 return for every dollar spent on analytics.

From a meeting planning perspective, there are two values: One is being able to measure the impact of the meeting. Depending on the kind of meeting, they want to know about knowledge transfer and knowledge retention, as well as the effectiveness of presenters. Second, planners in the medical/pharma field especially have to be able to demonstrate engagement in relationship to knowledge retention because a lot of what they’re doing is based on grants. They have to go back to the pharma company to demonstrate they’re doing meetings better than anyone else.

How can planners do it?

My advice to meeting planners is to look for companies that align with analytics, understand the importance of collecting data and move toward some kind of predictive analytics. The meeting planner shouldn’t be expected to be an analytics expert. They need to look for vendors who can put together the data and present it in a way that makes sense.

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