“They’re sitting out there, waiting to give you their money. Are you going to take it?”
If you’ve seen the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, you may recall the above quote from Blake, Alec Baldwin’s character. You definitely remember the epic scene when he told the salespeople to “Always Be Closing.” While Blake extolled the virtues of “The ABCs of Selling,” these once-standard principles of engaging with consumers have changed. No longer do customers line up to “give you their money” simply because of your brand name. Instead, great salespeople understand the need to listen to prospects versus to tell and sell. This is a single reason, though a big one, why event marketing has become so popular.
By hosting events, companies have the ability to listen closely to what their customers have to say. They can understand their pains, learn their needs and/or discover their desires. They find out the most effective ways to talk to them, and what channels they prefer for continued engagement. Having this information can dramatically affect an organization’s ability to successfully market and sell, which makes the collection of event data the most valuable result of successful events.
To help you remember this in planning, we offer you “The ABCDs of Successful Events” or “Always Be Collecting Data.” Make the capture of event data an integral part of any event marketing plan. Consider what details you can glean from your audience to help achieve short- and long-term goals. Below we outline common marketing goals and the associated reason you should always be collecting event data.
4 Reasons to Collect Event Data
Reason #1: To close the sale.
Make no mistake; events drive sales. In fact, event marketing is reported to generate sales for 79% of marketers. Even yet, “87% of consumers said they purchased the brand’s product or service” at a later date. Think about the trade show-related statistic that it may take up to 12 months for many booth visitors to buy. Often times in face-to-face marketing, purchase is delayed. If you don’t collect attendee contact information or the best avenue in which to continue engagement, how will you stay in the forefront of their minds and ensure you eventually close the sale?[Tweet “The ABCDs of Successful Events is to Always Be Collecting Data.”]
Reason #2: To better understand your customer base.
Understanding why, when and how your customers’ purchase—consumer behavior—will help you make important decisions. One example is the sales cycle. If you know the length of your sales cycle and where your customers reside within, you can tailor the cadence and content of marketing communications appropriately for maximum results. Event marketing provides a tremendous opportunity to gather this strategic information.
Reason #3: To know where your company stands.
Are you falling short with certain KPIs or want to learn what your customers think of your business or brand? Get answers when you engage your audience in the interpersonal environment event marketing provides. At a minimum, measure their satisfaction with your current campaign so you can purposefully plan future events. Like most marketers (74% according to an Event Marketing Institute report), you may find they value your company or brand more because of your event!
Reason #4: To help guide company-wide strategy.
As mentioned in reason #2, businesses need data to make informed strategic decisions. You may be evaluating a rebrand, new product development or other large undertaking. No opinion matters more in these areas than that of your most valuable asset – your customer. Event marketing allows you to gather the intelligence you need for a profitable future.[Tweet “74% of marketers say customers value them more after the event.”]
An Event Data Checklist for Successful Events
You recognize that collecting event data is a must. Now, consider the following five questions to plan and execute successful events:
What is our goal for this event marketing initiative?
Your aim may be high-level, such as to show your customers a good time and increase brand loyalty. Or it may be more specific, like to sell a certain number of products while on site. Think about your goals for this event marketing initiative and establish data points around them. (While you’re thinking strategically, don’t forget to collect attendees’ preferred follow-up method, such as email and/or phone number. Some audiences are reluctant to provide phone numbers, so don’t turn them off by requiring the wrong method of communication)
What do we want to learn from our audience?
You’ve already begun an outline for this based on your event objective. However, as mentioned earlier, it’s also a good idea to consider long-term goals. Keep your questions for long-term goals short and sweet. You may want to simply ask about their interest in focus group participation or future surveys.
How will we collect this information?
The face-to-face interaction of event marketing should encourage the flow of useful information. Don’t try to commit attendee details to mind, no matter how small your audience. And don’t take risks on business cards that may or may not make it back and into the right hands or database. Instead, rely on technology from the start.
You may already have tools at hand, but they may not be useful in collecting this invaluable data. If engaging an event staffing company for talent, ask if they can also supply mobile technology. Chances are their platform will be better suited since it should be designed with events in mind. Two examples of invaluable event technology applications are mobile attendee check-in and mobile surveys. Just make sure customization of questions is supported!
Where will we store event data?
The best place for event data is your CRM application, loyalty program or other database in which you already store customer-related information. The key is to be sure the mobile application portion allows for easy export of details or, better yet, integrates with third-party platforms. This will help to ensure seamless data transfer and allow your team to use familiar technology to manipulate, view and share it. If you decide to take advantage of an agency’s technology, their platform should store all data and allow you to view it in real time or through an event report provided at the cadence of your choosing.
What is our plan for follow up with attendees?
Follow up with event attendees is a must, and messages should mimic those shared at the event. This not only reinforces what you want them to take away, but also helps you move forward in meeting your goal. Because you established a personal connection at the event, try to maintain it in follow-up communications. Take advantage of email applications that allow for personalization and customization of messages so your attendees feel that you are speaking directly to them.
In addition to direct follow up, utilize social media campaigns to keep your brand at the forefront with attendees. Provide them with special “event attendee” offers that they can share with their social networks, which can expand your brand’s reach while taking advantage of the power of word-of-mouth advertising.
These steps won’t guarantee attendees will be running to you with money in hand at your next marketing event. But they will help you work towards capturing important data and customer loyalty. Just remember to Always Be Collecting Data to ensure successful events for your company.
EPS is the first event staffing company to offer mobile technology specific to event and experiential marketing. Contact us for a proposal to provide event staff and mobile technology for your next event.