Measuring the success of an event, experience or live activation has historically never been a straightforward task. The increase of available data today means marketers can gather many more details about their activations and, with the right know-how, transform that data into deep insights. In this episode of Expert Talks we sit down with Marco Eberhard (CEO Promotion Tools AG), Marc Preusche (Co-Founder LEROI, Data Intelligence), and our team member Harry Hofstetter (Trend and Innovation Strategy Consultant MCH Global) to discuss the importance of data in measuring the impact of experience marketing.
In 1597, Sir Francis Bacon coined the phrase “Knowledge is power,” but in the era of big data, this philosophy has taken on an entirely new meaning. Today, access to all of mankind’s learnings is simply a click away, and as access to information increases, so too does our need to process that information.
Transforming data into usable knowledge is an highly-specialized skill. Luckily there are companies and experts in the field who do this with ever-increasing ease, often with the help of technology, tools, and systems that facilitate the transformation of mass quantities of data into meaningful insights.
When asked how he defines performance, Marc Preusche says he believes data and measurement are of utmost importance. “If you can’t measure it, how are you going to improve it? You need the data inflow.” But a simple inflow of data is not enough to define performance in of itself, he clarifies. “The kind of data you need depends on the goal, so the very first thing we usually do is develop a data or measurement strategy that’s derived from the overall company or event strategy. Everything then sort of supports that.”
Harry Hofstetter agrees. “First you have to know why you want to do something. It doesn’t matter if its a sponsorship or an event or an activity- you have to know why.” To Harry, the why determines the purpose, and once the purpose is clear, one can set clear goals against which to measure performance. “The awareness for performance starts with goals,” Harry continues. “It’s hard to find the right goals, but once you define them then you can start to measure.”
According to Shaz Smilansky, author of Experiential Marketing: A Practical Guide to Interactive Brand Experiences, “Experiential marketing is measurable, but to measure the success of a campaign effectively, there need to be systems and mechanisms for measurement that are tailored to the experiential objectives during the planning of an experiential campaign.”(1)
Marco Eberhard agrees. “What’s important for me when I do an event is getting clear results out of it, results that are data-driven. In the past, post-event conversations were often based strictly on emotions. But if your results are data-driven then you can start to define what quality really means for the event, what performance means, and what should be improved. Then the conversation becomes so much more than just words, emotions, or memories.”
All three experts agree that the data is key, but where does one start when gathering data? The top measurement criteria used by marketers to measure the success of an event, according to a four-year study conducted by The Event Marketing Institute (2), are outlined in the table.
And since data collection technology has continued to evolve, it’s now easier than ever to track real-time metrics that include things like visitor capacity, flow, and dwell time, complemented by additional tools like heat maps. Such tools make it easier to find better ways to optimise footfall, increase visitor engagement and conversion, and better tailor future activations to appeal to key audiences.
The real trick lies in taking all the data that’s available and using it to get to the next level with customers. “You need combine the digital touchpoints with the data points you already have for your visitors and exhibitors in order to figure out when to approach each person, and with what message,” says Marco Eberhard. “It’s a personalized approach for getting feedback that’s both qualitative and quantitative. You should use those learnings to create a better experience for the next edition. It should be a constant learning process.”
MCH Global works closely with measurement experts to ensure we foster a data-driven culture that maximizes the impact of our client events and activations. Find out more by visiting our Services page, and stay tuned for future episodes of Expert Talks here on mch-global.com.
1. “Experiential Marketing: A Practical Guide to Interactive Brand Experiences”, Shaz Smilansky, 2009 (Link)
2. Fourth Annual EventTrack 2015 Executive Summary (Link)