Blog Post

In Experiential, is SaaS really for everyone?

September 27, 2016

On the surface, SaaS-based event data capture platforms seem great, offering lower costs and seemingly better control over your experiential program. Most brands however, are finding that there is more than meets the eye with SaaS-based platforms. The common belief is that if you want to improve ROI you should try to cut costs in every way possible. That generally means cost savings, but not necessarily improved ROI. If SaaS saves you 30% on your technology costs, but the full platform including services, data insights and program monitoring could increase your ROI by 3X, are you really saving any money? Check out these three topics to see if a SaaS-based lead capture platform is really right for you.

Experience in Experiential

Experiential teams at most brands are a mixed bag of experience and size, with most having limited staff resources compared to other teams like Digital or Social Media. Areas including historical knowledge of events, technology trends and consumer interests can make or break a program so you need a partner with a deep understanding of the marketplace to help guide you.

Our experience has also taught us that the first year of a new experiential campaign is the most important year. This serves as the baseline for year two and beyond. The insights that an experienced staff can glean from this first year’s data allows you to make fundamental optimizations to your data capture programs. Many of our clients that have transitioned to eshots from a SaaS platform have remarked that they wished they had started with a full-service partner, and regretted losing a year’s worth of insights. eshots has been guiding brand’s event technology needs for nearly two decades, it’s hard to find that wealth of historical knowledge within most brands’ experiential teams.

People-driven Services

People-driven services can compliment your event lead capture technology. Prior to your events, experienced consultants can help you strategically plan your program. This can include helping to pick the right events, provide guidance on what has worked well in the past or help you identify the right consumer engagement technology. Secondly, during your show the people-driven services that accompany a full-service platform can monitor your events in real-time. With a SaaS platform you may think that any issues that arise will automatically notify you, or that your team will notice every area that is falling behind expectations, but often the platform doesn’t have the intuition to observe real-time problems. With a full-service platform you can relax, knowing that an entire team of experiential experts is watching your program and offering you insights to improve, while the event is still taking place. This allows you the chance to correct errors, before it’s too late, helping you avoid losses while driving a higher ROI. 

If you’ve worked in experiential for any length of time, you know that things will go wrong from time to time. Whether it’s design or production issues before the show, onsite technology failures or data reliability after the show, these problems can sink your program. Having a dedicated team of designers and platform experts will ensure you’re putting your best-foot-forward and onsite management from your provider can give peace-of-mind. For example, eshots has been guiding brand’s experiential technology needs for nearly two decades. Dedicated Account Management, Production, Design and Field Management teams can make sure that these occasional speed bumps don’t become major program disruptors.

Post-Event Data Insights and Higher ROI

Perhaps the biggest area your program can struggle with a  SaaS platform is the post-event data-analysis, which is every bit as important as the technology that is used to collect it. Raw data can be deceiving if you aren’t working with a complete set of analysis tools. Did your activation perform well? Did some teams perform better than others? Did one event’s crowd have a higher household income or more relevant previous auto purchases? Things like industry/competitive benchmarking, sales matching, cross-tab analysis and more can provide deep insights that most experiential teams haven’t even considered.

Post-event analysis isn’t just about the event, it is also about the consumers. Do you know what cars your new contacts have in their garage or what their household income is? Building a complete audience profile with amended third-party data can be the key to unlocking program-changing insights. Amending your data with our advanced Marketing Science reports will give you the tools (not available from any SaaS platform) that you need to drive more money through your experiential program.

To learn more about how eshots’ full-service platform can help your experiential program drive a higher ROI, visit or email us at



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