Define Your Event Measurement Process

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How do you go from setting your event objectives to getting something useful out of your data? A well-defined event measurement process can help.


Define Goals and Objectives


First off, ask yourself these questions: what are we hoping to accomplish with this event? What does success look like? These become your goals. For each goal, write one or more objectives associated with that goal. Objectives should be SMART:



    • Specific - state exactly what you want to achieve

    • Measurable - establish clear definitions to help you measure if you’re reaching your goal

    • Action-oriented - describe your goals using action verbs

    • Realistic - your goals should be attainable

    • Time-bound - create a timeline to establish when you’d like to achieve your goals.



As an illustration, the goal of your event measurement process may be to increase product consideration. In this example, your objectives may be:



    • Increase customer’s level of familiarity with your existing products as a result of in-depth conversations with subject matter experts.

    • Increase customers’ understanding of the product roadmap as a result of attending demos of new and upcoming products.



The corresponding metrics would then be:



    • Pre-event/post event measurements of product familiarity with (1) existing products and (2) new and upcoming products.

    • Attendee ratings of whether staff interactions increased their understanding of existing products.

    • Attendee ratings of the impact of the demos on their understanding of the product roadmap.



At the end of this phase, you’ll have a list of metrics that you need to track to know whether your event was successful at accomplishing your goals.


Plan for Measurement: Knowing your event objectives will help inform your entire event measurement process. It will also help you plan how you collect the metrics that you need. Some data inputs may simply be obtained from running CRM or other database reports, such as the number of event registrants, but many inputs will come from other sources, including:



    • Attendee surveys (pre-event/post-event or on-site intercept surveys)

    • Badge swipes (lead qualification)

    • Event staff surveys

    • Event communication metrics (e.g., open rates)

    • Social media tracking tools



Once the data input sources have been identified, set roles and responsibilities among your team. Who will be responsible for collecting the various pieces of information and ensuring their integrity? Who will keep the team on track and confirm that milestones are achieved on time?


In the measurement planning phase, you can also begin to think about the reports you need to develop, such as dashboards for senior-level executives or operational metrics reports for the marketing team. Most importantly, your reports should address your objectives, show the events ROO, and answer the question, “Did we achieve our definition of success?”


Measurement Timeline: Depending on your approach, measurement may begin before the event with the distribution of a pre-event survey, and end with a post-event survey. Alternatively, you may decide to conduct an on-site survey with attendees as they exit the exhibit or event. How do you decide which approach is correct?



    • Pre/Post event surveys are ideal for measuring changes in behaviors, feelings and perceptions as a result of event attendance. If you aren’t able to obtain the contact information of attendees before the event but are able to during the event, a post-event survey by itself can ask attendees to rate how they were impacted by the experience.

    • On-site intercept surveys: In lieu of a post-event online survey, visitors/attendees can be interviewed as they exit the exhibit or event. This approach can be used in place of online surveys when it is difficult to collect a sufficient number of email addresses from attendees.



Another important element to consider is what sources of information you can track on an ongoing basis, and therefore react to in real time. RFID information, social media activity, and session poll feedback are examples of information that can be collected throughout the experience so that you might modify your approach based on real time results. You should also observe the event or experience at different times times throughout the event, examining a range of aspects from the effectiveness of the layout to the reactions of attendees.


Finally, within 1-2 business days after the event, you should distribute event staff, post-event, and stakeholder surveys. You will want to obtain the final lea qualification data, digital usage data, or any other tracking information and prepare it for analysis.


Analyze, Report, Recommend: Intermediate and/or ad hoc reports of ongoing data collection efforts can be helpful for taking the pulse of of your event measurement process and adjusting based on real-time feedback. Post-event reports are helpful for analyzing the total impact of your event across the Pipeline Opportunity, Brand Affinity, and Relationship Quality dimensions of business value as well as identifying opportunities for improving the attendee experience. Post-event reporting should:



    • Be tailored for different stakeholder audiences.

    • Evaluate an event holistically, providing measures across multiple dimensions and incorporating multiple perspectives.

    • Answer the question, “Did we achieve our definition of success?”

    • Analyze results by key demographics, such as customers or prospects or decision makers versus hands-on users.

    • Translate results into insights, and then turn those insights into actionable recommendations.



Adapt and Repeat: In this phase, you incorporate recommendations for your post-event reporting into the next wave of event planning. This is the point where you reap the benefits of the investment you made in measuring the effectiveness of your event. You should continue to measure every future event with a similar approach, so that you can consistently compare results. Without standardized metrics and measurement approaches, it will be impossible to accurately benchmark your performance year over year.


Learn more about how to measure your event investments (or improve how you measure them)! Download our Metrics that Matter whitepaper.


Posted by Jen Marano | Request as a Speaker

Pale yet fiery redheaded mom of twin maniacs, I mean boys. RFP and event marketing ninja. Country gal with a boating obsession – hey ya’ll! Reality TV junkie.