7 killer steps that’ll make mobile data collection at any event a great success

(This is a long read. Rewarding! But long, so take your time for this one.)

If you invest in setting up a booth at an event, you want to turn visitors into leads.
As many as possible!

And if you want to do it right, you should incorporate some form of mobile data collection. But you don’t want to bore visitors to sleep with 50 questions…

So what’s the alternative?

Imagine setting up a playful, interactive contest that doesn’t feel like a survey at all.
Yet it gets you all your data AND gets amazingly high completion rates (80% and more!)…

If that sounds just as perfect to you as it does to us, this 7 step-checklist will prove extremely useful.

Free PDF checklist: Skip the read and start straight away? Download all 7 steps in one perfect checklist. Enter your email and get the PDF of event data collection success delivered straight to your mailbox.


Learn how Julie and her team at CM (a Belgian health insurance company) created a digital data collection survey for a two-day event. And how it got them twice the amount of new customers. All in these 7 steps:

Step 1: Define your goals
Step 2: Choose the right hardware solutions
Step 3: Find a survey tool that works for your brand
Step 4: Make your survey awesome by asking the right questions
Step 5: Set up a contest, add an incentive
Step 6: Into the booth
Step 7: After the event: analyze and communicate

Now, first things first…

Who is Julie and how did she get to mobile data collection?

Julie, Marketeer at CM

This is Julie Loubry.
She’s a Marketeer at CM (short for Christelijke Mutualiteit), a Belgian health insurance company.

For years now she’s had a booth at a consumer exhibition called “Babydays”. It’s an event that focuses on future parents and parents of young children.

At previous editions CM collected contact data with a regular survey. But they were on the lookout for a tool with interactive elements that would allow them to capture data in a more playful way and add a digital incentive.

That’s when Julie met Pointerpro. 🙂

And here’s what happened:

Julie created a data collection survey that was both short, personal and that had a playful scratch card contest to hand out a well-chosen incentive.
And it worked!

80% of the approached visitors took the survey and completed it correctly. Their opt-in rate was an impressive 61%! This one survey at this one event generated over 500 valuable leads in just two days.

Give a dummy version of the survey a try here:

Back to business. Let’s find out how Julie did it!

7 steps to make your mobile data collection a success

Step 1: Define your goals

“It was important to get demographic details to set up a communication plan afterwards and to find out if a parent was already in our client base. We also wanted to discover their personal preferences. So we took this into account when we started creating the survey”


First of all, ask yourself what you want to achieve with this survey.
You have people with you for a short period of time, make sure you use that time frame wisely and focus on the one (perhaps two) things you’d like to get from your visitors.

Julie wanted to know if visitors were already a member of CM. And to discover if these visitors had any expectations towards CM. If they weren’t a member, the focus was to find out why.

“There are very few companies who exhibit at trade shows and effectively use their datacollection. I’m not exaggerating if I say that 70% of trade show leads don’t get followed up. They don’t even get an email.”

Simon Burton, Managing Director of Exposure Communications

Think of an actionable plan for what you’ll do with the data afterwards: follow up. In step 7 we’ll come back to how CM handled this.

Step 2: Choose the right hardware solutions

There are many ways to select the right hardware, we’ll zoom in on Julie’s approach:

With young parents as a target audience, CM could assume their prospects were familiar with the use of a mobile device or tablet. So they chose iPads to conduct the data collection survey.

Tip: If you haven’t got any devices of your own, consider renting them for the event.

Some iPad facts:

  • Renting one iPad air with the latest version of IOS and 4G, for one day, will cost you around $30 to $35
  • Based on your budget, think of extras such as insurance, installation and personalization of the devices, 3G sim cards, …
  • iPads are the recommended choice as they’re more standardized (there are less different types of devices and versions compared to Android)
  • iPads are extremely reliable and have the most userfriendly interface

Once you’ve got your tablets, mind the following checks at the day of the event:

“Despite how many assurances trade show organizers will give you… Wi-Fi will never work to the quality of which you need it to, in order to process data quickly and correctly. Instead, think of getting a MiFi, a little personal Wi-Fi hotspot and work with a 4G connection. And, unless you’re tucked away in a basement somewhere, it’ll work absolutely fine.”

Ru Barksfield, Experiential Guru at Fat Unicorn
  • Make sure your devices are up to date to ensure security and performance.
    The operating system for iPad is called iOS. For more info and updating your operating system, go here: How to update iOS software on an iPad.
  • Add one or two devices as a spare. While the other devices might run out of battery and need time to charge, you’ll have a fresh one at the ready! (The battery life of an iPad air for example, will last about 6 to 8 hours while you use it to conduct your surveys).
  • Bring chargers and make sure you have a place at your booth to charge your iPads.
  • Consider bringing a laptop as backup, like CM did. It misses the useful features of a mobile device, but it’ll keep you up and running when needed.

“Some quick wins on battery life are things you can set up before the event starts. Disable GPS functionality when it’s not needed, adapt the clarity of the screens and bring a spare to charge while you’re working with the others.”

Marijke Melis, account manager at First Rental
  • Some venues offer you paid Wi-fi. Only rely on it when excellent performance is guaranteed. Instead, it’s advisable to work with a survey tool that allows you to capture your data offline.

Security Tip: A glitch with using Wi-Fi connections is that you’re absolutely clueless if the networks are secure or not. Of course, you can avoid the networks that require a password, but your data still remains at risk.

This is why you should go for a VPN software as it can keep hackers at bay. It’ll also keep them from stealing your private data or keeping tabs on your traffic. Also, you should always use anti-virus and anti-malware software while connecting to a Wi-Fi network.

The takeaway here is that inculcating a practice of using a VPN will safeguard your data and data privacy at all costs.

Performance tip: When you pay for Wi-Fi, make sure that the (download) capacity is at least 5Mbps for up to 5 users/devices at a time. Add an extra 1Mbps per additional device. Keep in mind that all people with access to your Wi-Fi are extra users. Click here to measure the speed of your Wi-Fi.

Step 3: Find a survey tool that works for your brand

You can get a lot of visitor data from the trade show organizers, it’s easy, accurate and relevant. But be careful: In order for you to be able to communicate and share promotional content with them, you need their opt-in.

Step 3 - opt in

So while it’s a good idea to compare the visitor data to the responses you collected, the best way to get information that is of value to your brand: do it yourself.

Next to online tools like Pointerpro, there are many dedicated native apps you could use. Find what best suits your needs by looking for a tool that:

  • Gives you room to add branding and design elements to strengthen your visual communication.
  • Is easy in setup, there’s no need to reinvent the data collection survey!
  • Has an offline capability when you can’t depend on a reliable internet connection.
  • Offers you fun alternatives to the usually dry survey, to engage with your audience.

“For years we worked with paper contest forms. It took us a good 3 days to get through all the paperwork and decipher the handwriting. Now, with Pointerpro, we combine the regular survey on a mobile device with a playful, branded approach and a digital scratch card contest to hand out our incentives.”


Step 4: Make your survey awesome by asking the right questions

Don’t reinvent the data collection survey.

If you’re doing this for the first time at an upcoming event, it’s a good idea to use a template with standard questions as your starting point. Find a good, ready-to-use data collection template right here.

CM managed to get all their info (contact data, client or not & personal preferences) in just 5 questions!

Here’s exactly what they asked:

CM started by asking the easiest questions first.

It’s a great way of making your visitors at ease having them think “Hey, this isn’t too hard, I can do this!”.  Demographic questions are a perfect way to start.

Afterwards, some additional info was asked:

What’s relevant about these questions is that CM used skip logic in their survey, to create a more “personalized” approach.

By adding skip logic to the ‘partner-question’, respondents who answered “yes”, got the following additional question.

Skip logic not only gives a sense of personalization, it also increases efficiency. Because only questions relevant to each respondent are asked.

And then this happened:


This is the part where respondents are rewarded for their time. We’ll get back to the scratch card contest and adding an incentive to your survey a bit later. (Go see step 5 – if you’re impatient!)

Here’s what’s important to keep in touch with your leads:

Even if your respondents were happy to give you their info for a chance at winning the contest, be sure to add a clear opt-in that allows you to contact them later.

CM dedicated a separate page in their survey for this and got a stunning 61% opt in rate. Allowing them to send a considerable new contact list to their sponsors after the event.

… At this point, you might have noticed that none of these questions really got to personal preferences of the respondent yet.

Here’s the little something extra they did to lift their mobile data collection to a whole new, personal level:

                                                           An open text field!

Here’s the thing.

We are at an exhibition.

It’s the one place where it’s easy to get face-to-face with prospects and visitors.

Each respondent was helped by a CM representative. Sometimes they would help fill out the survey, or the respondents would do it themselves, leaving the representative with some extra time to start a conversation.

After a visitor took the scratch card contest, and chose the opt-in, they’d hand the iPad back to the representative who then got this open text field to add information about the conversation they had.

“We used the open text field for additional info that was collected during the conversation with a visitor. If, for example, they weren’t member of CM yet, we could adapt our communication accordingly. We added info from that conversation to personalize our follow up emails.”


Smart move Julie!

“We always try to have a brand ambassador in place to interact with people. Technology is still a facilitator, it doesn’t know your customer better than you.”

Ru Barksfield, Experiential Guru at Fat Unicorn Tweet

Step 5: Set up a contest, add an incentive

When you ask people for a favor (their personal data), they expect something in return. By incentivizing your survey, gathering data goes faster and with less objections.

“There’s no way of doing this without incentivizing. People want to win stuff! So get something for everyone, if you can.”

Ben Gamble, Co-founder of Shout About London Tweet

Even when you’re on a small budget, there are options: loyalty points, coupons, perks to your product or service that others have no access to. Give your prospects something that matters to them in relation to your own brand.

In Julie and CM’s case, there were three parts to their incentive:

1. They turned it into a contest: Adding a fun-factor like the digital scratch card to the ‘standard’ data collection and making it exciting both for the team and the respondents to find out who’d be winning what kind of prize.

2. They made sure there was something for everyone: The big prize that people could win was a whopping 9 months worth of diapers. Spot on for their audience! They also handed out a couple of highchairs and several gift-boxes with baby products.

And those that didn’t win? CM made sure that it would be worth their while too. So either you won a big prize, or you got to take home a CM-bib.

Step 5 - small incentive
Pretty adorable 🙂

3. They added a subsidiary question: CM opted for a short subsidiary question to control the chances of winning one of the big prizes.

Step 5 - subsidiary question

Don’t make this too hard on yourself.

If you’re adding a subsidiary question, the most obvious one is to ask how many visitors will have taken the survey at the end of the event. But be more creative if you like!

So that’s a done deal?


If you set up a contest, make sure to add all necessary legal information about the contest and what you will use the acquired data for. Here’s a great contest terms and conditions template.

Step 6: Into the booth

You know the importance of face-to-face contact at your trade show or exhibit. And you know that Julie used representatives to operate the iPads and approach the passing visitors.

It’s also possible to set up some unmanned tablets in your booth. You can change the settings of your iPad into ‘Kiosk Mode’. Learn about it in this easy guide to set it up for your iPad, Windows tablet or Android device.

Working with representatives? A couple of things to keep in mind:

“80% of the success of your trade show stand comes down to the people who are on it. If you got unmotivated people on your stand, you can expect a disappointing outcome.”

Simon Burton, Managing Director of Exposure Communications
  • Figure out in advance how many people you need to man your booth.
  • Prepare a consistent briefing: make sure everyone tells the same story. Do they know the most important thing they need to find out about their respondent?
  • Test the iPads and survey so your team knows the order of the questions, the unlock code to their tablet and the average duration of a conversation.
  • Work on a good opening line with your team and monitor during the day to improve if necessary.

“We instructed our representatives to refer to the big prize from the start, and the fact that everybody gets to take home a little gift even if they didn’t win. A great way to get a visitor hooked from the beginning.”


It doesn’t matter if you’ve got unmanned tablets or a whole team of representatives, you should offer people all the help they can get to get to your own goals for this event. Guide them towards your contest and survey.

So put a strong call to action in the design of your booth.

And make it bold.

And BIG.

                        “9 months of free diapers!”

Step 7: After the event: analyze and communicate

People don’t like to be kept waiting

Have a strong communication plan ready to follow up on your respondents. And start with that as soon as the event is over. So you better have that email template ready before you even set foot into your booth.

  • In the case of a contest, it’s acceptable to have a first ‘confirmation’ email sent out automatically as soon as the responses are submitted.
  • Send out a first reminder right after the trade show. Make your message relevant and recognizable. Adding a picture of your booth at the event for example, will help people remember your brand and what your message could be about.
  • For some more great follow-up tips, go here.
Crunch those numbers: was the event a success?

Take everything into account: the number of visitors to the entire event, the number of representatives and the duration of a single conversation/survey, …

If this was your first trade show adventure: use your numbers as a benchmark!

For Julie and CM, their personalized survey and scratch card contest helped them get double the number of new clients since the event last year.

In fact, take a look at these great numbers:

  • 80% of visitors that were approached actually took the survey
  • 61% agreed to the opt-in for promotional communication afterwards
  • 10% became a client with CM or opened a case to become a client
  • 2x more people became a CM-member compared to last year

“Last year we still had paper contest-forms. This got us more contestants, but we saw straight away that the data we get now is of much higher quality. Most people carelessly filled out a paper form to claim their free prize, leaving us with useless contact data. Now we don’t have to worry about that anymore. It was a great relief to be able to press one button at the end of the event to get all data in a clean and clear package that could be distributed to my colleagues and our sponsors. Looking at these great results made us happy and feel good about the entire event!”


The next step is yours!

If you enjoyed this case study, you should put it to good use! We’ve put together a checklist of every step discussed in this article. Click the link below to download the PDF-list.

Free PDF checklist: Download the 7-step checklist to add the perfect mobile data collection to your next event!

Create your
for free!

About the author:
Sofie Nelen

Sofie Nelen

Sofie was Pointerpro's very own Digital Marketer in a previous life and now advises Wijnegem's local board around communication-related topics. She is fond of experimental marketing and growth hacking. Oh, and she hates boring assessments!

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One Response

  1. The information provided is extremely useful and has helped me to know about the deep insight of trade show booth rentals. Keep sharing the quality content.

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