What is Actionable Event Data?

Written by PortMA

What is Actionable Event Data?

People often talk about making event data actionable.  And so often they deliver data labeled as actionable that simply isn’t.  So let’s take a second here to define what actionable event data is and how to make sure you’re collecting it. First, it is important to understand, for our purposes here, that there are two types of data.

Independent Variables

There are those data points that reflect what you’ve done, and then there are those data points that represent how what you did changed someone’s perspective or behavior. Those things you’ve done represent what you have control over.  If you did them, it implies that at some point you made the decision to do so.  They reflect the actions you chose as an event marketer.

Examples of this first type of actionable event data include the venue you went to, the day of the week you activated, the number of staff you had on-site, the type of engagement you designed, and even the speaking points you trained field staff to deliver.  All of these are the things you did to drive a result.  In research, we call these “Independent Variables.”

Dependent Variables

On the other side, you have the outcomes.  These are the data points that reflect what you’re trying to create with your independent variables.  They are any item or measure you can get your hands on that reflect changes in attitude or behavior.

Examples of this second type of actionable event data might include product shelf counts before and after the event, consumer purchase intention, brand attribute belief statement, or even regional sales.  In research, we call these “Dependent Variables.”

How Do you Make Event Data Actionable?

You cross-reference what you did with the outcomes to identify those actions you took that resulted in the behavior you’re trying to create.

So, let’s say you had trade shows, state fairs, and boat shows on your routing plan and look at local sales after each event.  You’d want to cross-reference your independent variable (venue type) with your dependent variable (local sales) to find out which venue activations are associated with the greatest lift in sales.

​This is truly actionable data because you can act on the results.  If you find that sales are twice as high after you go to a trade show, you can put more trade shows in your routing and see if the trend continues.

​This is actionable event data.  This is data that drives better event marketing.  It’s the type of data PortMA collects, analyzes, and reports on every day.

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shirleypickford2/4579268452/

Additional Resources


  • Experiential Measurement Blueprint
  • Event Impression Calculator
  • Experiential ROI Benchmarking Reports
  • Event Measurement Video Tutorials
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