At some point, most people will have a negative customer experience. Perhaps it takes hours to get through to someone on the phone (ugh!), or an employee is rude – or marketing information presented by the company is vague, uninspired, or mired in difficult terminology. All of these result in an uncomfortable experience that can leave a bad taste in your mouth. And with customer experience becoming an increasingly important brand differentiator, many forward-looking companies are devoting more resources to monitor it, specifically in the form of brand ambassadors, promotional models, and event staff (used interchangeably throughout).
Companies enamored by the idea of event and experiential marketing will appreciate knowing that talented, well-trained event staff can take an active role in creating positive customer experiences – and gathering relevant market intelligence on your consumer base.
Because they are specifically trained to create positive interactions and goodwill with your consumers, event staff add something that internal teams often cannot. While internal teams might know more about a company’s products and services, they don’t always add the kind of “personal touch” that energetic, friendly brand ambassadors do. It is for this reason that brands like Google, Sierra Mist, and Oxygen choose to use brand ambassadors for their promotions.
Promotional staff have “on the ground” relations with your event attendees and customers so they can accumulate a wealth of data. How can they accomplish this? Take a look!
(1) Event Recaps and Reporting
Talented event staff are keen observers. This can be used for a company’s event marketing strategy: by filling out summaries or “recaps” of the event or promotion, the staff can record their overall impressions on how attendees are experiencing the event along with sales, demographics, comments, and other relevant data– whether that experience is positive or negative. And because consistent, reliable reporting of information can be expertly wielded by a master marketer to further a company’s goals, we often advise our event staff to create daily reports on events and experiential campaigns even when our clients do not.
(2) Say “Cheese!”
A common tactic in the food, beverage, and experiential marketing industries is having brand ambassadors take photos with attendees and consumers, which are then handed off to the marketing team behind the promotional campaign. Such photographs can give practical information regarding your customers and event attendees. Here’s a quick snapshot at the kind of data that can be mined from these photographs:
- Demographic Information. A large photographic sample of consumers can work alongside other market research efforts, yielding insights into demographic information like consumer age range, gender, and so on. Even minutiae like attendees’ clothing preferences can be visually recorded by your promotional staff. Such precise data can then be used in advertising campaigns for more exact targeting and market segmentation.
- Emotive Data. Photographs provide visual clues to the feelings and emotions of customers and attendees. While such information can only be analyzed somewhat subjectively, it can still result in invaluable insights on how your customers perceive and experience your product demo or event.
(3) Use of Surveys
Event attendees may be more willing to fill out a short survey if promotional models physically hand them off to the guests (instead of only giving guests the option to fill out a survey online). Social psychologists and smart marketers alike have long been intimately acquainted with what has been dubbed the “principle of reciprocity”: simply put, most people have an innate need to “give and take.”
By accepting a survey from a promotional model, many attendees will feel compelled to fill it out and hand it back. Just make sure the survey isn’t too long – often, the shorter the better. Otherwise, guests may feel annoyed and leave with a negative impression of your brand or business. Not good!
The best event staff are outgoing, personal, friendly, and energetic. They know how to engage with your audience, and draw out key comments from consumers by actively talking with them. By listening to what your customers or event guests have to say about their experience, your internal staff will be gaining real “inside knowledge” of the customer mindset while contributing to a positive customer experience!
Putting It All Together
Keep in mind that market intelligence is a constantly evolving creature. You must continually gather, curate, and analyze the information that your event staff gives you. It’s not a one-time effort. As noted earlier, customer experience is becoming increasingly important to brands seeking to solidify their image. This means that event staff, promotional models, and brand ambassadors are becoming increasingly valuable as market researchers who can support your overall marketing and branding objectives.
And considering that event staff are also experts at turning a mediocre customer experience into a positive interaction that customers will want to repeat, again and again, it really is good business sense to hire a competent event staffing agency to curate the right team.