The Importance of Data Consistency
Summary: Consistency is a key component of any successful endeavor. Consistency is especially important in administering experiential marketing. Questions must be presented with grammatic precision, demographics must be within predetermined parameters, sample distribution (including quantity and mode of presentation) must be uniform, and responses must be clearly understood within the context of the questions asked.
Data in experiential marketing is typically of two kinds.
- Survey Data: Response data is almost always collected via a tablet PC and uploaded seamlessly to one of our web-based survey management tools
- Field Reporting Data: Observational data includes attendance, number of interactions and samples distributed at the event.
Ensuring consistency is difficult on a good day. When we have multiple brand advocates uploading field data from multiple events a day (sometimes in as many as 30 or more markets) maintaining consistency becomes even more difficult. The field data for every engagement, sample, coupon and merchandise giveaway must be accurately recorded.
The illustration may help to graphically illustrate the need for consistent, accurate data.
We used to call the effect of inconsistency and inaccuracy, “GIGO,” or Garbage In = Garbage Out.” Note what happens when skewed data is added to the knowledge base.
- We begin with a random collection of individual data points
- We correlate the data points into usable information
- We integrate the information into our knowledge base
- We apply the updated knowledge as the foundation for making wise decisions.
If the data points are inaccurate or skewed in any way, the information derived will be incorrect, the knowledge base will be corrupted and future decisions will be based on a faulty understanding of reality.
PortMA passion and persistence pay off.
Sometimes one market team may want to activate at an event before the reporting format is fully implemented or uniformed. Sometimes, due to legal constraints, teams are not permitted to distribute liquid samples in their market, so they have to distribute a spirit-based edibles (jello shots, cake bites or the like). The more variation in presentation, the more skewed results we may get from teams reporting results obtained from different formats. This has the potential for becoming chaotic for the data analysts.
Ideally, we prefer to get the client to use a web-based data management tool so that we can monitor the real-time flow of data and address any inconsistencies as they arise. Sometimes we have clients who want full control and management of the data before handing it off to us. While this is understandable, it may, nonetheless, hinder our ability to ensure data consistency. At PortMA we are prepared and ready for these obstacles. Our Field Services department tackles issues head-on the second our clients send the data our way. This includes digging through dozens of spreadsheets, looking for discrepancies and tracking them back to their source.
Our clients hire us for our program measurement consistency and accuracy. That is only achievable with preparation, communication and attention to detail, each of which are passions of PortMA!
Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/49333515@N03/5244045076/