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Enabling corporate event sponsors and managers to demonstrate success

Event Survey Best Practices: Defining The Target


This is the first in a series of posts exploring the “fundamentals” that underlie every successful audience research program. We offer these up to help you to assess the “health” of your own programs.

Kevin, a founding partner here at Audience Metrix, spent his youth sailing the world as a USN helicopter pilot; so it is pretty normal for him to think in terms of defining targets. If that’s a bit much for you, consider replacing “define the target” with something more PC… such as “define the event objectives that your stakeholders have in common.”

On the face of it, this seems so basic that you might be wondering why it even merits a blog post… Here’s why it is number one on our list.

Because this is where most event measurement programs fall flat.

The reason is simple –event measurement programs are designed to quantify what happened at the event, instead of looking at the impact of the event on the business.

It’s not hard to understand how things got this way. Event people know that flawless execution is central to the attendee experience. It is what they pride themselves on, it is what they work towards and often it is how they’re compensated.

But focusing on event-centric data creates a fundamental disconnect between the event team and the event owners. There are two fundamental questions that event sponsors want an answer to.

First, did the event achieve the business objectives that justified the resource and budget allocation? And second, given alternative choices for how to spend the event budget, second is it clear that an event is the best way to spend dollars to achieve results…

Notice that the answers to both questions go way beyond “sales loved it”… Of course they did, why wouldn’t they?

If your reaction is along the lines of “this changes everything”, you now understand why we wrote this post first.

Getting this kind of data requires a different approach.

And while it seems like it should be easy, it is not.

That is because when you bring Sales, Product Teams and Marketing together (all hypothetical event sponsors – there are certainly other combinations); you will find that each group has its own objectives, and their own ideas about what success looks like.

\Our advice? Forget about trying to get them to decide on one approach. It’s probably not going to happen. Instead, focus on finding the common ground, the key beliefs and behaviors that they all agree are important success indicators.

Try visualizing it as a Venn diagram (there is one at the top of the post.) Venn diagrams were originally developed to identify the common elements among different data sets. Today most people use it as shorthand for identifying common ground or overlap.

The reason that this is an important exercise, is that more often then not, shared data is the only data set that all three groups will value…

We find that when stakeholders to agree on the critical variables, participation and support increases; decision making is more likely to be fact based… and sometimes budgets actually increase!

What is your experience with implementing an event measurement system? How did you deal with developing a shared set of metrics between your constituents?


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