One does not have to spend many years in the event business to know that there is a well established rhythm to the process. It goes something like: book the site, book the hotel, book the talent, book the crew, start the theme meetings. These things are so important that no event sponsor, manager or planner will ever miss a due date.
Obviously this type of planning is critical – which is why events are usually managed by a skilled, dedicated team who are accountable for developing and executing the program.
What about the event measurement program that demonstrates the success of the event and supports the KPI’s?
Not so with event measurement which is often a red-headed step child. Sure someone can always bang out a quick survey while they are onsite at the event…
But if an organization wants to use market research and event metrics to drive change, then there needs to be a master plan… and by extension someone responsible for driving that plan throughout the year.
A master research calendar is essential to plan research, analyze the data, develop actionable recommendations and implement them across the organization.
Exactly where in the organization the responsibility for event measurement and research should rest is a question that we are exploring in the Event Measurement Best Practices Survey.
Obviously a great deal depends on the organization, and what management wants to use the data to accomplish. As a general observation, if this type of research is to be used strategically, the program owner needs to be connected across the organization to the larger view of sales and marketing.
Using research effectively means that it is considered as part of the solution. Which means that it needs an advocate at the table when initiatives are being developed.
Properly planned, event research can impact audience acquisition, exhibitor sales, content development, brand perception and the sales pipeline.
To fully realize the value of an event-based market research initiative, the findings must be available in time to be acted on by those tasked with implementation.
This means that the research (be it a survey, focus group, interviews or other analysis) must be planned so that the work can be developed, implemented and analyzed on a timely basis… So that management directives can be formulated before the event cycle hits the relevant milestone.
In many ways, the very structured approach to event management is a plus to this type of effort since it is generally very clear when many of the key milestones are.
Do you conduct your event research and event metrics program independently of the event cycle? What is the biggest challenge you face?
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