Ask two people to guess the distance between two objects, and it’s pretty much a slam dunk that you will get two different answers.
Want to know what happens when you ask two event marketers to measure the success of their activations? You guessed it—you almost always get different approaches of measurement.
What complicates this even further is that usually neither event marketer is wrong, it’s just that what and how they chose to measure are different. As we all learned in middle school math, it’s simply impossible to compare different units of measurement.
Here are three practices that will lead you down a path of accuracy so the experiential data you measure is not only telling you the truth, but it can be relied upon to make important business decisions:
1) Set Goals First. Sometimes it is necessary to put the cart before the horse, because it is much easier to back into your experiential measurement approach by first considering what it is you even want to accomplish. (This might seem obvious, but most humans think in terms of A-to-B instead of B-to-A, so it doesn’t always come naturally.) Once you have defined what success looks like, it becomes relatively obvious what needs to be measured.
2) Differentiate Goals and Benchmarks. Goals represent the best possible event outcomes (the kind that, if achieved, you cannot wait to share the results with the CMO). Benchmarks are the historical measurements against which you compare current performance. Even though we should work hard to achieve the goals, it is important to compare benchmarks, but this only makes sense when past and present measurements are consistent. (If you think your old data is useless, don't lose hope just yet. Our client services team has applied a few tricks up their sleeves to harmonize existing data so it can be accurately compared.)
3) Agree on Vocabulary. Innocent synonyms can detour the journey towards achieving consistent measurement. If your team is using terms like “lead” and “prospect” interchangeably, but for measurement they carry different weight based on your backend configuration, it’s bound to cause a problem. Making sure everybody on the team uses your own terminology in the same way helps minimize the risk. (We have even seen event managers correct their team members (in a light-hearted way) to get everyone on the same page.)
Measuring experiential success is not necessarily difficult, it just needs to be consistent, and then you’re instantly surrounded by unbiased, accurate data to evaluate performance, just like other marketing disciplines.