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Enabling corporate event sponsors and managers to demonstrate success

Best Practices – The Best Way to Get Better

Since 2008, corporations have become extremely conservative. Today, CMO’s have to justify every expenditure. While events – especially large customer events – have traditionally been exempt from this type of scrutiny, that is no longer the case. We address some of this in our Whitepaper, 5 Things Your CMO Should Know About Your Event.

Recognizing the need for information on this topic, on May 17 Audience Metrix will launch the first annual Event Measurement Best Practices Survey (EMBPS). Our plan is to recruit 500 corporate employees who have responsibility for events at their company, to share their event measurement practices. In exchange for participating, each respondent will receive a personalized copy of their survey results, comparing their answers to the average. This in and of itself will provide a very valuable benchmark; especially for companies who are in the process of examining their current approach to event measurement.

Later, the Executive Report will look at the answers from the perspective of “is the average high enough to be the best practice”. We will also do a series of blog posts drilling down into specific areas.

Which brings us to today’s topic of best practices – what they are and why they matter – not just in market research and event measurement – but in many aspects of business.

Wikipedia tells us “A best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means…”

One of the biggest challenges of being in the event industry is that no one really knows what you do. Another is that no two companies – much less 200 – do things the same way. As a result, there is no standard – no batting .375 – no Nielsen or Arbitron rating, no CPM that allows companies to measure their own performance, compare their performance with others or predict the return they will achieve based on industry norms.

The first, and perhaps most important question that the EMBPS survey will address is how organizations measure event ROI. The survey will explore what measurement techniques are used, who in the company is involved in goal setting and how the data is utilized. By design, taking the survey will offer a high-level overview of measurement options and techniques. Frankly, we will be astonished if any one company applies all of the techniques that we have included. We elected to take this broad approach in order to expose the respondents to a wide range of contemporary measurement techniques. This is part of our larger goal of making the survey a self-diagnostic tool.

We know that right now its “news” that companies are under pressure to justify their marketing spend. In contrast, individual managers have always been under pressure to justify what they do. This survey will provide managers with an objective, statistically valid foundation to support their recommendations, and we hope help them to secure the funding necessary to implement their recommendations.

One last point. In 12 months, there will be a 2013 survey, and we’ll see what has changed. The EMBPS is not a static industry snapshot. It is the foundation for a continuous improvement process that will document how event measurement is evolving from the baseline we establish in 2012.

In terms of details… the survey has been developed using the Qualtrics survey engine. We have used a few of their more interesting question models to enhance the respondent experience. Qualtrics will also be promoting the survey to their clients on their blog, and co-sponsoring our findings.

To provide a meaningful sample, we will leave the survey open until we have at least 500 responses. Then the Qualtrics engine will run the individual reports and mail them to the respondents… And we’ll go to work on the report.

There is no doubt that this research is needed, and we are confident that our reports are going to have a significant impact on corporate events. So much so, that we are already planning to do a companion piece this Fall looking at the measurement practices used for Virtual Events including webinars.

We are definitely looking for ways to promote the survey to people who work in or on corporate events. We’d appreciate your support in reaching out to people who you think would be interested in participating.The survey will open May 17. Look for it in the blog post, on Qualtrics.com/blog and PR Newswire.

Thanks! As always, we look forward to hearing from you.

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