When it comes to collecting data at events, paper forms are nearly always the go-to method for businesses. They are quick and easy to design, they can be printed in the office and easily filled out on the day. They’re cheap to produce too, but what is the true cost of using paper to collect important information at events?
Event leads equals return on investment
Collecting and following-up leads after an event is one of the most essential ways to measure success and prove ROI. Deal sizes vary between companies and industries, however, consider your average deal size. How much is it worth to your business? With this figure in mind, it’s time to ask yourself another question – is a cheap sheet of paper and hand written notes really a sensible way of tracking a deal?
I’ll give you an example. Walking through a major train station the other day, I noticed that a well-known car manufacturer was showing off their latest vehicle. Pride of place in the middle of the ticket hall, their shiny new car had many admirers, along with a price tag of £39,995. Now, imagine that this was your product and to repeat my last question – is it sensible to collect customer information on a cheap sheet of paper? Or should you be looking at a more professional end-to-end solution? Remember, there is £40k at stake!
Consider your company or brand’s image
If your stand looks great and your staff look sharp, how does a Staples clipboard and photocopied form look to your client? Image is everything at an event and if you want to stand out, it’s those “little touches” that make the difference all the way down the line.
Are you really cost saving?
Exhibiting at a trade show, holding your own event – it all costs money, so it’s natural to tighten your grip on expenditure. This is why paper is often chosen. However, when you strip back to the underlying reasons for attending the event, does using a sheet of paper maximise your profits? If you lose the form, if the handwriting is illegible or if crucial information is missing, you’re going to cost yourself a whole lot more. If the forms do make it back to the office, it’s time to start entering them on to a spreadsheet or your CRM/marketing automation software, tying up professional staff and resources. More time and money spent and still no contact with your prospects. Ouch.
Don’t forget security
So far I’ve focused on what a lost paper form might cost your business sales-wise, however, there is another factor to consider and that’s security. I’ve covered data security in a previous article, but misplacing customer details and letting them get into the wrong hands could land your company with a hefty fine from the government or industry regulatory bodies.
That piece of paper that cost pennies is getting mighty expensive now. Is it perhaps the right time to reconsider your methods?
*destroy paper responsibly and always recycle!