Experiential or event marketing programs rely heavily on their field staff for event data and reporting. This data is usually captured during the event and is made up of two major metrics, quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative metrics are the numerical count of engagements during an event. Examples of quantitative metrics include things like attendance, interactions, samples distributed, premiums distributed, etc. I have never seen an event recap report where the quantitative data was not inputed or collected. Often times, what I do see are programs forgetting to collect qualitative data about the event execution. Qualitative metrics are looking at the intangibles, or the aspects of the event that may vary. This is far more subjective and you use this to understand why people behave a certain way. All of these quantitative numbers don't mean a thing unless your client has the complete "event story" (qualitative data) to back them up.
Five qualitative metrics PortMA recommends you collect for your experiential program:
- Weather. Seems simple right? In fact: A rainy day can explain a lot about what happens during an event. You can only look back and reference this outside contributor if it was well documented.
- Event Summary. A short synopsis of what happened during the event. This can include things like location of the event, day of the week, time of day, and other events in the area that may have contributed to the event attendance. Was the event fully staffed? Were there any celebrities at the event?
- What worked/ Didn’t work. If you don’t collect any other qualitative data (which you know I don’t recommend) you NEED to collect this. This will provide you information on actions the field staff took during an event to make the activation more successful, or any hiccups that may have occurred.
- Recommendations for future activations. This will build off of the worked/ didn’t work section. Field staff should provide key learnings on action items that happened during the current event. These should be incorporated in the future to ensure the ‘worked’ items are continued in the future, and the ‘didn’t work’ don’t happen again.
- Consumer Comments. These are any comments that your event patrons make about their experience. They can be congratulatory or constructive criticism. They are very useful in the support of data and findings, and clients LOVE them. If for no other reason, collect them for that reason alone.
Knowing is half the battle.
Collecting these qualitative metrics is only half of the battle. The other half, your field staff. You will want to make sure that your field staff understand your expectations on what type of information to submit when reporting on qualitative metrics. Some staff will happily write you a book, while others may need a little push or need some direction on what you consider to be important. You will also want to express to the staff the importance of being honest with you. You do not want field staff to keep important information from you because they feel they may be penalized for sharing bad news.
Your field staff are your richest source of information. Make sure they collect qualitative information about each event, and the more they do, the better. Take this qualitative information into consideration when making changes to your program. You never know, they may give you exactly what you need to take your campaign to the next level.