Cool Tools for Measurable Results in Event Marketing

A technology that dates to 1945 may be part of the future of event marketing analytics. Yet it also highlights the challenges faced by event marketing professionals as budgets get tighter, and more proof is demanded that money is being spent wisely.

results-event-marketingRadio frequency identification (RFID) offers a lot of promise. It involves the use of wireless microchips emitting signals that can be read by devices. The technology is how animal control officers identify your family Labradoodle when she escapes your back yard for the umpteenth time.

But when placed inside a wristband, as they did at SXSW this year, given to someone attending a trade show, product launch or other marketing event, RFID can help provide some analytical clarity for the businesses and brands that are spending a lot of money to gain traction with customers.

Other blogs have written about the difficulties in event marketing measurement; how it needs to involve more than just registration-type tracking and email/survey follow-ups. The advent of social media has helped, but even its advocates acknowledge that gathering the right kinds of data involves more than just counting Facebook “Likes” and Foursquare check-ins; the information has to tell you something about relevance and the impact on the customer experience at marketing events.

Fortunately, technology is slowly catching up to the needs of event marketing specialists. A combination of RFID and Facebook helped provide Coca-Cola with some compelling data from teenagers attending one of the company’sIsraeltheme parks in August 2010. Another mix of social media and RFID occurred at selected NCAA Division I football games during the 2011 season; the marketing company’s “Catch The Moments” initiative was more about enhancing the fan experience at the games, but the potential for enhanced measurement of customer interactivity with those brands is undeniable.

There are other ways that technology is helping with the event marketing challenge. Tools that range from  improved Google Analytics, Facebook and YouTube insights to new third-party applications can help with zeroing in on analytics for event marketing-related websites. The same is becoming true for smartphone and tablet usage at events, as mobile marketing is integrated and more apps and tools become available to help marketers find out more about customer behaviors. This segment of the industry is booming, so event marketing professionals owe it to themselves to do some research.

But as with any technological development in any industry, the tools are only as good as the people who use them.  The use of RFID as part of event marketing measurement and participation is a cool tool, but it is part of an overall  picture  of the behavior of your attendees-such as dwell time, activation involvement, level of engagement and more.  Just remember it shouldn’t be the only measuring tool.  It can go a long way in tracking behavior at your event, but  it won’t replace the human touch in gaining feedback on the experience itself.    It’s invaluable to create an ongoing dialogue with your audience.  The overall data and feedback you gather and analyze post event will help provide you with the best information to determine future event strategies, tactics and budgets.

CI-Group, a New Jersey advertising agency, provides digital marketing and advertising consulting to Fortune 2000 companies in a wide range of industries. Founded nearly 30 years ago and based in Whitehouse, N.J., CI-Group is recognized as a top advertising agency specializing in marketing strategies, event marketing, promotions, direct marketing, digital printing, warehousing and fulfillment. Companies seeking an award-winning interactive agency that merges creative strategies with effective tactics should call 908-534-6100 or visit www.ci-group.com.

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