Many of the people I talk to who are involved in corporate event production, are quick to say, “why measure…?” I hate to generalize, but usually the more closely they are involved with the operational aspects of the event, the less interested they tend to be in using the event as a platform for market research.
Given what it takes to make it happen, it’s no wonder that people often lose sight of the fact that executing a flawless event is not the point of the exercise… The simple fact is, that the purpose of every event that I have ever been associated with is influencing the audience.
Which is why is why event-based market research can be as valuable to the managers who implement events, as it is to the executives who sponsor them.
Let’s look at four of the key benefits that can come from a thoughtfully designed program, that is aligned with the way that your company measures success.
1/ Research is essential to defining the contribution of the event to the pipeline.
Name an event, and chances are that it’s in the marketing mix because it touches the pipeline. Many events are specifically designed to accelerate the pipeline or to add to it. But even when the end goal isn’t sales, the attendees are usually people with a considerable voice in the specification and/or purchasing process.
If you’ve read our whitepaper, 5 Things Your CMO Wants To Know About Your Event, you already know that being able to put revenue dollars next to the event price tag is a priority for senior managers.
Some of this of course comes from sales and is reported as leads and in CRM. But the opportunity also exists to demonstrate how the event helped to create favorable perceptions and opinions of the company; key elements to any sale.
2/ Research is a way to gain actionable customer insights.
As one client told me recently “events are a goldmine”.
Think about it, your best customers – the decision makers and influencers who will make or break your forecast – are all right there in your carefully designed, branded environment. Where you can talk to them, study them and learn from them.
It is difficult to imagine a better opportunity to leverage your event investment then to learn more about your customers, partners and prospects.
3/ Research makes it possible to optimize and articulate the ROI on the event spend.
Everybody wants to work smarter not harder, and that is especially true when you are dealing with something as complex as planning an event. The process involves a myriad of choices and often finding the middle ground to satisfy competing agendas.
Research can ensure that your team has the information they need to be successful. You can provide them with data-based insights into the messaging for the audience acquisition program, the content that will shape the agenda, and the insight they need to plan the flow so that the activities that are the most important to your guests, are easy to find and appropriately sized to accommodate them.
It’s the difference between knowing and guessing.
4/ Research is the foundation of any continuous improvement process.
Sounds simple but you can’t do better, if you don’t know that you’re not doing well… Over the years we’ve seen plenty of events that didn’t change with the times lose their audience, and then their reason for being. They weren’t bad events – it was just that the people who ran them or sponsored them, thought that they had discovered a magic formula. Their business was changing right in front of them, and they weren’t able to change with it.
Events have to compete for their audience. People are busy and they have lots of choices. Content is usually available instantly, no one likes to get sold and how great can the food be? Giving up three days and taking a couple of plane trips is not something that a lot of people really want to do… unless your offer makes it clear that they are going to get a return on their investment.
The key to attracting the audience segments who are essential to the success of your business, is offering an experience that is relevant to their needs and interests. That means having a way to take the pulse so that you can do more then keep up, you can lead.
Are you using your events to learn more about your audience? If not you are missing out on a golden opportunity.
To learn more about our process for developing an event-based market research program, please visit http://audiencemetrix.com/programs/