Live interaction with customers is and will remain an important tool in marketing – especially when companies know how to take advantage of digital opportunities. At trade fairs, road shows and customer events, technical gadgets such as VR and AR offer customers a multi-sensory digital brand experience. But how can these immersive customer experiences be measured and used?
Technical gimmicks as a collective experience
A photo in front of the green screen background, a 360° photo box for the glamor shoot, or the 4D virtual reality activity at the exhibition stand, are so-called "immersive digital experiences". They are trendy and a natural attraction for visitors on all events.
The appeal of the interactive marketing campaigns for visitors lies in immersing themselves in digital worlds with technical gadgets, and later sharing the collective experience via Instagram and Co. and simply having fun.
Businesses, however, have more specific intentions: the interaction is an additional way to learn more about potential customers and leave a lasting brand impression. The marketing strategy corresponds entirely to the lifestyle of younger consumers who are more interested in "experiencing" a product than in buying it.
In general, the priority of companies is shifting away from a one-off impulse purchase of a product towards long-term customer relationships and building a brand name. Live communication at events has another advantage: Important target groups and decision-makers cannot simply be reached via e-mail campaigns. However, they are regular guests at trade fairs and industry events and open to communication.
Make customer experiences measurable
How well the creative digital actions are received and whether they create an "immersive experience" can hardly be determined without sophisticated tools and the collection of data. Innovative marketing must follow two basic principles: first, the experience must create a wow factor; second, the interactions should generate data that can then be used for brand building.
The targeted planning, control and success measurement of innovative marketing measures must be based on well-founded data, answering questions like: “What is the return on investment (ROI)? Which part of the experience was particularly well received? Where is there room for improvement? How do the results depend on time of year, demographics or location? And even more important: How can the data obtained be further marketed?”
However, this is exactly what causes headaches for many companies. Since data often comes from different sources, it is difficult to compare and link it – at least this is the case with relational databases. However, looking at the collected data in context and comparing it to existing customer data provides exciting new insights.
The digital marketing expert Quader, for instance, is taking exactly this approach by creating multi-sensory digital brand experiences for companies such as Sky, YouTube and Samsung. To evaluate campaigns, Quader developed an app that processes the data during the event and passes it on to the organizers, informing them in real time about the number of visitors, movement flows, bottlenecks and complaints as well as hot spots so that they can change the schedule at short notice or request additional staff for certain areas. The subsequent analysis of all interactions and visitor data recorded helps companies to continuously improve their event marketing.
Data management technology wanted
Initially, Quader used a traditional relational database management system to store the data. However, the solution quickly reached its limits. So, to be able to fully evaluate the abundance of unstructured data, and to take data relationships into account, the company finally decided on graph technology which has the advantage that the data can be stored in a graph as it is recorded. Events, visitors and actions are represented as separate entities (nodes) that are linked to one another via relationships (e.g., "participates", "gives feedback", etc.). Both nodes and edges can be assigned attributes such as "duration of interaction" or "rating 1 to 5".
Additional existing data from other events or CRM databases can be added to get a more accurate picture. Regardless of the overall size of the dataset, graph databases excel at querying highly connected data. From a starting point, relationships can be traced like a family tree or road network. In a few milliseconds, users can query millions of connections, uncover trends and patterns, or identify outliers.
Innovative, interactive, intelligent
With Neo4j as database, it is possible to find out which features and gadgets need to be removed or improved. In this way, the ideal combination of interactive marketing campaigns can be put together for every target group and every event in every city.
The clear visualization might even surprise the marketing departments and initiate new creative approaches for the next event: from digital signage, which recognizes people via webcam and facial recognition software and broadcasts individually tailored advertising, to AI-controlled virtual trade fair companions, there are no limits to creativity. New smart technologies in connection with graph technology and data analysis provide the basis for continuing to make live interaction with potential customers innovative and exciting.
By Daniela La Marca