We had an interesting chat with one of our clients the other day.
A specific post event survey score had dropped enough to attract executive notice. The very public presentation of the news upset the function owner; who was now looking for cover in the form of insight into what the drop meant… and what he would have to do to correct it.
After the call, we got an email from our client who wrote “We should look at all of our survey questions to ensure the direction we want is always up as “better”.”
Which led us to ponder the question, is up always better? It would be an excellent question to put in our Event Measurement Best Practices Survey…
This may surprise you (blog posts are supposed to be surprising),but in our opinion, the answer is either no or depends – but it is definitely not an arbitrary yes.
The key to delivering actionable survey metrics is understanding the objective behind what is to be measured, then selecting a measurement technique that best captures progress towards that objective.
Many aspects of conference and event operations are focused on improving the attendee experience. Conference staffs work hard to improve attendee satisfaction in areas like registration, hotel reservations and ground transportation.
Creating survey questions that measure the success of these kinds of initiatives is an extension of the kinds of measurement practices used in the manufacturing and quality control departments of many organizations. Fewer failures, fewer orders returned, fewer repairs…
The result of reducing or minimizing certain factors is a positive increase in customer satisfaction…. This is where the confusion about is ‘up’ or ‘down’ better sometimes comes from.
When you move from the service mindset of improving satisfaction by minimizing frustration to the marketing focus on achieving a competitive advantage, the objectives change. As do the survey questions and the way that the results are reported.
Success is achieved through some combination of offering a better product, service or solution, providing superior service before and after the sale and delivering greater perceived value.
Measurement is almost always used to determine if the event was effective at communicating the competitive advantage in a compelling manner. Research focuses on dimensions such as creating awareness, increasing or reinforcing preference, accelerating purchase intent and often enhancing brand loyalty or preference.
These are all objectives where an ‘up’ score is almost always better. Even when a sponsor is using the event to address a known problem, or to try to overcome a known negative perception, measuring the extent to which the event reduced the negative perception is generally reported as an ‘up’.
If you can think of a marketing objective where down is better, we’d like to hear from you – and we’d like you to consider writing a guest post on the subject.
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