At this moment in time, it’s difficult to get through the day without hearing something about data. Data breach, data science, big data. Data has provided us with the advancements we so often take for granted – search results based on your current location, personalized shopping, binge-watching suggestions, and more.
In marketing, data is crucial in determining whether or not your campaign has succeeded. Seems simple enough. But not all data is created equal. During an activation, several elements can be captured and analyzed, but there is a question as to the data point’s relevance and ease of capture. For each campaign, teams need to identify which information is the right information to collect and which is not.
Another key consideration is the method of capture. While there are several technology platforms that can be utilized, often your brand ambassadors are responsible for event reporting, or facilitating the technology that consumers will feed data into. Ensuring your data capture method is easy to use and not disruptive to the event environment is also of critical importance.
It may seem clinical for such a creative field, however applying the scientific method to data collection at your next experiential activation can provide valuable direction. It can also ensure a clean process of analysis so that you can continue to learn from your activations and improve the way you interact with consumers to ultimately reach campaign goals.
Why is your company investing in this event? Is it to increase sales, or maybe create brand awareness in a specific region? By articulating the marketing campaign’s end goals, you can then determine how that translates to event results and then map out the specific KPI’s. This will also help you decide what qualitative and quantitative data needs to be collected. From there, identify which data points can be gathered at the live event, and how.
Determining the types of data that needs to be gathered can also help with the event planning process. If it’s brand awareness that needs to be measured, you could plan a photo opportunity with a specific hashtag that could be tracked. If it’s sales, incorporating an event-only trackable digital offer might be the way to go. Either way, the what and how of data collection will help you design a seamless interactive experience that will lead you to successfully gather this information.
Hiring brand ambassadors to work directly with consumers can be one of the best ways to collect consumer comments. Brief your brand ambassadors ahead of time to let them know what kinds of data needs to be collected, and the reasons behind it. By giving them the why, not just the what, they can be some of the most powerful allies you have in terms of clean and quality data collection. They are your boots on the ground who can count the number of participants, report how many samples were distributed, or record key consumer feedback that can help you shape future products or activations.
Outline each specific data point within a digital form that brand ambassadors can use to report back. Keep in mind how the questions are posed will determine how helpful the data will be. For example, while an opened ended question like “What was the response to the sampling tent?” can be brief and simple, the results will yield results with high variability. Instead, consider using several qualitative questions, like “How many samples did you start with?”, “how many samples did you end with?”, and “On a scale of 1-5, what did consumers think of this specific flavor.” By providing them with precise choices, not only will the data be more accurate, but it will be easily searchable and ready to assimilate on the back end.
Timing is everything
Ideally, data is collected as close to the activation as possible. This means, if it is a multi-day activation, team leads should be completing daily reports to ensure that information from the day is fresh in their minds. Depending on the length of the program, end-of-day reporting can also allow for real-time logistic assessments. For example, it may become clear that one particular flavor of a sampling is going much faster than others, product can be restocked without running out.
In some cases, real-time reporting may be possible, especially if consumers are encouraged to submit information as a part of a game or activity. For example, if your brand is utilizing a virtual reality (VR) platform, brand ambassadors can collect names and email addresses from participants prior to their participation. From there, this data collection structure does double duty, sending special offers, discount codes, and other continuing engagement to the consumer, while your internal team has instant visibility into how many people are participating in the activity.
Whether it is the end of the program, or the middle of the campaign, the next step is to assess the data that has been collected. By collecting information in a quantitative way, the collection of data paints a qualitative picture of the campaign. As mentioned before, quantitative data also allows for quicker analysis, as it is easier to build graphs and charts. These visual aids will be helpful when determining whether the program was successful and pinpoint components that resulted in not-so-positive results. It is also easier to use in communication with leadership and other stakeholders.
Ensuring that you are have high quality images and insightful information will also help you in developing future marketing efforts and showing campaign ROI.
Experiential should not be considered a one-and-done tactic. By providing consumers with regular opportunities to engage with your brand face-to-face, you are better able to nurture them to become a customer. It also provides a platform with which you can continually introduce your brand to new audiences and fill your social media feeds with user-generated content, free of charge. But keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all model. What works for your brand is specific to your brand. Now that you have executed a campaign, successful or not, has provided you with the tools to know what works best, and what not to include moving forward.
Identifying and collecting the right data for each experiential marketing activation doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating. While each brand activation campaign is unique, using a scientific approach to collecting data should stay the same. Not only will it produce the information you’ll need to determine campaign ROI, it will help improve each subsequent brand activation.