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January 30, 2007

Moving towards a measurement standard

On the back of the preliminary Word on the Street research conducted by Mark Budge, strategic event marketing, The Lamb Partnership, and MPI president Peter Haigh into the perceived need for an evaluation and measurement standard within the events industry, 19 people convened in a closed-doors focus group meeting to discuss how the sector should move forward on this subject. Those present represented a cross section of the key stakeholders, including organisers, procurement and corporate planners.

One of the keys to the success of the meeting was the inclusion of the Crystal Interactive meetings software, which meant that everyone in the room could input their ideas. This has a two-fold benefit. First, no one person or group of people get to dictate the agenda, however, and this was noted by those attending as a memo for the future, was that it removed the ability to have an open debate. But as Budge explains: “The objective of the meeting was to identify the priorities and generate actions for the future in just over two hours! It was for this reason that interactive technology was used and general discussion and debate was kept to a minimum.”

Also, the inclusion of the system meant that Budge was able to take all the data away and analyse it more closely. “The meeting was a success with a very clear majority (91%) rating it as either good or very good. The use of interactive technology and the speed at which ideas and actions were generated was particularly well received,” he adds.

The meeting was broken into different stages. The first was for attendees to answer the question: Why is there a gap between the perceived importance of evaluating events and the degree to which research takes place? Responses to this were grouped, summarised and issues identified. Each of these issues was then prioritised using the Crystal Interactive system. The group was then divided into smaller teams to determine initial actions for the most important priorities.”

From this, the group has outlined a clear path for the future:

1. Show measurement as an investment and engage with corporate stakeholders
• Demonstrate there is a group of people who are united behind this issue.
• Identify the stakeholders and associations, such as the Institure of Directors, Chartered Institute of Marketing, etc
• Publish paper of case studies/benefits from across the industry – by neutral body.
• Emphasise measurement is only part of the solution/strategic approach.

2. Define an end-to-end process
The ROI Institute model already exists, which offers a ready-made process, but the industry needs to move the education forward from the theoretical to the practical, focusing on the more basic, lower levels.

3. How to…?
At planning stage, determine evaluation targets: attitudinal, behavioural and corporate performance (namely, set the right SMART event objectives).
Then determine level of evaluation need by cost/benefit analysis.

“This is a small step, but it’s the first step in the right direction,” explains Budge. “It was widely recognised within the group that the actions taken following this focus group are critical to maintaining momentum – as this is an ongoing and vital process. We are also planning to increase our exposure within the media.”

With the above steps taking place over the next few months, Budge believes that concrete actions will soon start to be delivered.

Anyone wanting further information about the conclusions of the focus group, or to get involved in this process, contact Mark Budge on
07909 961306  or via email at [email protected]

Related items
MEASURE OF SUCCESS: The push for an events evaluation standard
VALUE ADDED 1: The MPI on the need for a measurement standard
VALUE ADDED 2: Evaluation focus group delegates have their say

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