Blog Post

Equipped For Success: Four Tips to Manage Your Activation Hardware

November 29, 2018

Thinking through a display’s experiential data strategy is no small task. A lot of moving parts are at stake such as the consideration of survey lengths, determining appropriate question logic and branching, and crafting an experience that resonates with the event’s audience.

There is also an often-overlooked, but equally important hardware aspect of an event which we call equipment management.

Think about it: have you ever used hardware so sluggish and difficult that your patience directed you to move onward? Have you ever experienced bottlenecks and long lines that caused consumers to walk away? Were you caught in a rain or snow storm with no way to protect your display’s equipment? Too many experiences like this, and an event marketer quickly begins to lose ROI and, consequently, experiential budget!

We sat down with our operations team and asked them the most important considerations for equipment management:

1) Rock-solid Mobile Device Management (MDM). While our MDM approach is rather in-depth (after all, it’s a big part of what eshots offers to its clients!), we narrowed down the three most important factors to consider:

Access Restriction
– you need to prevent consumers from accessing anything other than the data capture application. Your event isn’t the time for them to play Angry Birds or be swiping right.

Centralized Version Control
– It’s not uncommon for some events to have 100s of devices, so relying upon individuals to ensure the same application version is running on all of them simply isn’t feasible nor is it practical.

Push Content on the Fly
– Your Product Specialists need to have the most up-to-date information on the products they’re trying to sell to consumers at your event. This content should be available in minutes, to all devices, at the touch of a button.

2) Own the data signal. Relying on a venue’s wifi service is definitely not a best-in-class practice. These services can fail, or once several users begin sharing the source, speeds can become sluggish, presenting a challenge for rapid uploads as well as data security. We learned our lesson several years ago: all of our tablets have their own LTE signal, so unless cellular service is interrupted, our clients have connectivity. This also allows us to track missing devices and disable them remotely if needed.

3) Have a passion for a calendar. When attending multiple events throughout the year, having a calendar system in place to manage devices is a must. A regular rotation of shipping times, software updates, and general maintenance must be managed closely and with attention to detail.

4) Understand Capacity. Should you send 10, 16, or 36 devices to the event? Relying on the “best guess method” can result in hundreds of leads not captured, additional staffing costs, and a poor consumer experience. It is important to understand all of your variables when planning equipment allocation including your goals, hours, staff, survey length, activity length, consumer path, and weather just to name a few. Keep in mind these factors impact each event, so you can multiply this by the hundreds of events that are activating simultaneously, and you end up with a complex maze of people and processes trying to manage your equipment.

Good equipment management is the foundation of any experiential data capture—be sure it gets the attention it deserves!

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