The fun and games of effective data collection

We are delighted to present a blog post from YMS16 event partner, BAM. Read on for an alternative look into data collection in student marketing:

We live in a world where data is key. ‘Good’ data is precious. ‘Bad’ data is a distraction. So how do we source more of the good stuff?

As individuals, it’s right that we’re discerning about what personal information we choose to share, and with whom.

But as marketers, there’s need for caution too. We need to discern the data that tells us something useful about our customers, and potential customers, from data that is just ‘noise’ and may prove to be a costly and wasteful diversion of time, effort and budget. It’s the old ‘quality vs quantity’ nut that we need to crack.

Increasingly, we’re discovering some really inventive ways of tackling this challenge in the student market. Fun is proving to be an effective nut-cracker.

Making a game of the process creates an opportunity for engagement.

Students recognise the value of sharing their data with brands they consider relevant and that they’d like to hear from but, even so, the process of gathering data needs to be engaging. Why would you give your email address to an uninteresting person with a clipboard?

Making a game of the process creates an opportunity for engagement, beginning the ‘conversation’ between brand and customer that we are all striving to cultivate – not simply for a single campaign hit, but in pursuit of a lifetime of loyalty.

This technique is perfectly suited to live events, and many of our clients – including Greggs, Doddle and The Student Housing Company – have used it effectively at Freshers’ Fairs and shopping events, hosting games on stand that create dwell time and plenty of conversation, as well as sign-ups.

Two of the major shopping centres that we worked with last year offer a vivid comparison. Special shopping events were held in each venue, attracting fantastic numbers of students to enjoy a ‘student-only’ experience full of fun and great deals.

Each venue was seeking student sign-ups from those attending, to receive information about future events and discounts from their retailers. Shopping Centre A used a simple form and some sweets. Shopping Centre B embraced our ‘Spin to Win’ app. The result? A 200% uplift from Shopping Centre B compared to A.

Typically, games allow the student to experience an instant ‘win’, rewarding them for their time and creating a value exchange, rather than a sense that this is all about a one-way process for business gain. Gamifying the data collection process leaves a lasting impression on a student, has the potential to be talked about and shared with friends, and delivers a greater emotional connection between the brand and consumer.

Ah, but students will do anything for a prize, we hear you say, what about the ‘quality’ of this data? Our clients tell us they are seeing a great response in subsequent marketing campaigns from those students that have engaged with them on stand and chosen to share their data.

That’s important, because we’d rather sign up 500 students who are genuinely connected to your service, than 5,000 who have signed up on a whim and are either not interested in your service, or worse still, have no recollection about even signing up.

As with any aspect of the marketing repertoire, quality ‘inputs’ generate quality ‘outputs’. We must apply the same care, attention, creativity and brand relevance to our data collection techniques, as our advertising campaigns or social media engagement strategies.

Gamifying the process is fun, but it’s not frivolous.

You can download more information about BAM here or visit

BAM is an event partner for Voxburner's latest event, Youth Marketing Strategy London 2016.
BAM are hosting '‘Ask the student: quiz a group of savvy students on your biggest marketing challenges' on the 8th of March.
David Cook will be presenting 'New Research: Freshers Unplugged' on the 9th of March.

To find out more about BAM, head over  to the BAM website.

Haven't gotten your tickets for YMS LDN 2016 yet? Head on over to our event page for more information on the biggest youth marketing conference in Europe.