When it comes to agency data capture — we all know that collecting consumer data as part of an experiential campaign, live event or activation project is nothing new for agencies, and we often discuss the best ways of doing this with our agency partners.
As demonstrating hard ROI to your clients has continued to rise over recent years, data capture has been evolving from a nice-to-have, to a necessary part of any client campaign.
From our experience, there are five solutions that most agencies adopt (some better than others!) when it comes to capturing consumer data as part of a client project…
1 – The good old paper form
The traditional and often still popular choice, despite the range of obvious challenges associated with manual data capture.
PROS – Quick to design and cheap to print. Lots of paper forms or cards can be completed at the same time, great when the pop-up installation, stand or activation is busy with consumers. As long as you don’t run out of pens that is.
CONS – I’m sure you’ve experienced these challenges at one time or another; stacks of paper forms or cards that need delivering back to HQ, data protection issues associated with this, illegible handwriting and the sheer time and cost taken to transcribe the forms into a digital format. Research suggests that up to 40% of paper-based data capture never reaches its intended destination for one of the above reasons. Let alone the environmental impact of paper-based forms 😉
2 – Free survey website
There are loads of free websites out there now that let you quickly create a form, with SurveyMonkey being the most popular.
PROS – Free! And normally quick to set up the form you need, with some level of customisation.
CONS – Two main ones here. One, the fact that generally these websites are designed for the web, rather than a mobile or tablet device. And two, more importantly, a solid internet connection is required to operate, of which there really is no guarantee, particularly when you’re running an outdoor event or temporary installation.
3 – An off-the-shelf Data Capture App
A growing range of options in this space, from very basic and inexpensive tools, to more advanced solutions.
PROS – Should be quick to setup, customise and install on a range of mobile and tablet devices. Normally operate both online and offline, and optimised for use on a tablet or mobile device. Data should be available in real-time and the output in a digital format, ready for post campaign action and analysis.
CONS – Is the App customisable enough for the requirements? Reliability and compatibility concerns? Is the data being held securely in the EU? Is there a customer support contact in case of any issues?
4 – An in-house developed tool
Several agencies we now work with had previously attempted to develop their own in-house data capture tool. Normally starting life out as a bespoke build for a client project, it is then re-hashed over time as requirements come up.
PROS – No external expenditure required (aside from internal development team). Tool can normally be customised for each client requirement or project. Existing knowledge of how to use the tool can help streamline activity from client to client, without the need to learn a new system each time. Captured data can be output in a consistent format, each time.
CONS – Time and cost associated with maintaining and customising the system each time it is required. What worked for one client or project may not work for the next. Dedicated development time required for ongoing bug fixing and support. Concerns around data security and protection may be raised by the client and need addressing, particularly when handling important customer data.
5 – A custom-built solution
The increasingly out-dated way of doing things – commissioning a web design agency for a bespoke build to solve the data capture requirement. Often associated with a five or six figure development cost, we’re seeing agencies move away from this approach with the rise of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) products.
PROS – Rather than trying to crowbar an existing solution in to solve the client’s requirement, a custom solution should be built to measure. Have control from the start of the project with a well defined brief all the way through to the delivery and use of the solution.
CONS – Very expensive and time consuming. Requires a detailed brief and a well managed development process to ensure the end product matches the requirements. Significant potential for the project to run off track, behind schedule or over budget. Raises questions around data security, ownership, reliability and ongoing maintenance / support.
Which is the best data capture option for me?
From our experience in this space (and we hope you can see why), agencies should quickly rule out the paper-based, hand-written forms (option 1). You’re only going to find yourself dealing with more admin than you really need to, and you’re missing out on the endless lists of benefits of a digital solution which strip out so many of the problems of traditional methods (poor accuracy, reliability, security).
The disadvantages of a bespoke custom solution (option 4 or 5) (inefficiency, high cost and inflexibility to name but three) should make you consider the level of commitment that’ll be required – and in our experience although they sound like they will offer great deal of opportunity, they tend to be compromise solutions (and really horrendous when data gets lost) that quickly start to become maintenance black holes and money vacuums.
For small amounts of data capture, and where the forms are super-long, or internet connectivity can be guaranteed – the online survey (option 2) can be cheap, customised and fast to setup, however if you have any doubt as to having a solid internet connection, you need to consider that problem. Most events fall into that category when it’s not assured you’ll have constant wifi and therefore won’t end up with periods offline when it becomes unusable.
Naturally the best solutions represent a combination of price, efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to capturing and processing consumer data, and that’s why we think Akkroo (which falls into option 3 – an off the shelf and customisable solution) offers the best solution across the board, tackling all of these key problems.
How does Akkroo fit in?
At Akkroo, we aim to achieve the perfect blend of function and customisability and provide the ideal solution for agency data capture activity.
The Akkroo App can be quickly setup and customised, off-the-shelf, to look the part and capture the exact data you need, whilst our range of features and the scalable, flexible nature of the platform means we can also replace any in-house solutions that are draining time and resource.
Yes, there are cheaper, simple data capture apps available that will probably do a job. But if your agency cares about the overall experience more than just ‘doing a job’, then we’d love to speak to you. We pride ourselves on our agency relationships and have built the Akkroo platform with you in mind.
Whether it’s a simple name & email capture as part of a new brand activation project at live events, or a longer-term experiential installation to collect consumer feedback, or anything in between, simply get in touch and talk to us about your brief.
If you have any upcoming projects, campaigns or briefs that include any form of data capture, or would simply like to find out more about Akkroo, then visit our Agency pages or get in touch with our team.