How to Collect Data at Events in Easy, Natural Ways

“I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty good with numbers. Give me yours and watch what I can do with it.”

Cheesy pickup lines such as this aren’t quite as prevalent as they once were, now that apps dominate how people look for potential love interests. In fact, dating platforms connected 65 percent of same-sex couples and 39 percent of heterosexual couples in 2017 per a study. One person within these pairs likely found it easy to make the first move from behind a screen. A Forbes article explains that online dating replaces the “nerve-wracking feeling of going up to a stranger and talking to them.” Still, ease of communication and a rise in online ‘everything’ leaves a lot of people feeling lonely. In fact, almost half of American adults report “sometimes or always” feeling alone. So, in seeking out new experiences in their quest for connections, brands are primed to provide experiences through in-person events. One challenge that remains, however, is how to effectively collect consumer data at brand activations.

The Big Reason Event Data Collection Poses Challenges Today

Taking part in fewer in-person interactions may leave many consumers struggling to connect. This is despite the fact that they value connections – even those with brands. So much so, 76 percent of people will choose brands they’re connected to over a competitive brand. This means their experiences at events need to help them trust and communicate freely. From there, brands have the opportunity to get their “numbers” and build on the relationship. 

If you’re wondering how to collect data at events, cheesy pickup lines (or the brand activation equivalent) are not the way to go. Instead, try natural ways to get the details you need to move forward. 

How to Collect Data at Events: 6 Ideas

When developing a method for event data collection, consider your goal. Moving forward can mean many things. It may mean gathering market intel to deliver on consumer needs, or getting consumer contact info to stay in touch. One of these six ways will allow you to achieve your goal, while helping you build emotional connections.

celsius brand ambassador stretching station1. Sign them up for games or activities. 

Whether hosting trivia or providing a VR-based tour, as examples, event and experiential marketing activities allow you to easily capture consumer info. Simply ask attendees to “sign up” or join a waiting list to participate by supplying their name and email or phone number. When the activity is something of interest, attendees will want to get in on the fun. Further, the activity itself can prove valuable, whether to understand consumer behavior or discover their preferences. 

2. Get them on video. 

Event marketers make video content creation an integral component of experiential because of its power to increase event ROI. Research shows social video brings in 1200 percent “more shares than text and images combined.” On Facebook alone, brands see a 33 percent increase in end user engagement on their “Pages.” Yet, these same videos can offer other value. This is specific to how to collect data at events.

You may host a fun competition involving your product, in which you record consumers demoing the product or creating a commercial. The exercise might provide insight into their thoughts on your brand or may shed light on ways to improve or enhance what you offer. At a minimum, any fun brand activation caught on video can provide intel when you note obvious demographics and discover similarities or differences among your attendees.

3. Let them vote. 

While jury may be out on whether political poll results are trustworthy, asking consumers what they prefer at events can help brands in a variety of ways, from packaging to marketing messaging. When consumer polls are conducted in a way that doesn’t impact business decisions, brands can look for trends and gather consumer contact data in the process.

Polling apps available on iPads or other event tech can ask attendees lighthearted questions tied to your brand activation or products. Or, you could ask questions related to their personal interests, such as causes with which your brand should get involved. After they submit their answers, they must provide an email address or other contact details. Marketers can even then publish the results, whether shared on a screen at the event or later on social media for the attendees to share, too.

4. Use a hashtag.

Incorporating social media with event and experiential marketing further amplifies a brand’s investment. And, hashtags provide an easy way to help measure results. And they can also shed some light on how consumers view your brand.

By following a hashtag, you are able to read what consumers have to say about their experience at your event. In turn, other social media users may comment on their feelings about your brand. This may allow you to fine tune future activations and interactions with attendees. It may uncover industry influencers that you can engage in the future or candidates with whom to partner. To reap these benefits of event data collection, share your hashtag on event signage, throughout the activation, and in related social media posts.

how to collect data at events5. Designate a space as a “freedom wall.”

If you could ask attendees anything, what would it be? Ask them and give them a space – a freedom wall – to anonymously share thoughts and feelings. You can provide post-it notes to stick to the wall or give them markers to write directly on the wall, as examples. 

Go green by setting up iPads that allow them to provide their answers digitally. When asking for one-word responses, you can even generate a word cloud to share, if desired, so that they can see the results. 

6. Hire engaging event staff.

Depending on the specifics of your event, your event staffing needs may include brand ambassadors, product specialists, and others. No matter which, make sure you hire event staff who are engaging to help attendees relax and communicate. These professionals will have the right skills to get the information you need or encourage participation without alienating consumers (and without the use of cheesy pickup lines). They’ll know how to remove obstacles to build relationships and collect the data you need at events.

At Elevate, our event staff understand how to collect data at events no matter your goal. Let us share ways we can help boost your investment.

Author: Kelly Springs-Kelley

Kelly Springs-Kelley is the Marketing Director at Elevate Staffing. When she's not creating content or pondering the future of in-person consumer engagement, Kelly can be found hiking the mountains of Arizona with her 2 kids and 3 dogs.

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