The Metrics That Matter Most

Author: Casey Gale       

When crafting a post-conference survey, it’s important not to overwhelm attendees with questions — so every question should matter. 2017 PCMA Education Conference speakers Lisette Sheehan and Lyndsay Merbach, measurement experts at the Sparks agency, shared the metrics that planners must measure if they want to create better events in the future. They also shared the results in each category that organizations should benchmark themselves against.

1. Positive Event Trajectory

First, planners should evaluate the impact the event had on attendees’ likelihood to return next year. Based on research collected by Sparks, a global brand experience agency, Sheehan and Merbach said planners should aim to have at least 67 percent of attendees definitely or likely to attend next year’s event. Benchmark: 73 percent of attendees should rate the event’s content value as being excellent or very good.

2. Positive Event Perception 

Next, planners should review how attendees perceived the event — positively or negatively. Benchmark: 75 percent should agree when asked if it was a “must attend” event; if the event offered the latest insights to bring back to work; and if the event was essential in establishing new contacts.

3. Relationship Growth 

Planners should also consider how their event strengthened member and non-member relationships as a result of attending the event. This means evaluating the perceived fit between an attendee’s organization and association, ensuring event staff was helpful and friendly, and maintaining a healthy balance between new and repeat attendees. Benchmark: At least half of attendees should feel as though their organization fits better into the overarching association post-event, and 75 percent should give the event staff excellent or very good ratings. According to Sparks research, every event should strike a balance of approximately 38 percent newcomers and 28 percent of attendees that have attended three of the past four events. 

4. Experience Satisfaction 

In a post-event survey, planners should also measure attendees’ overall satisfaction with the key elements of event — its content and setting. Benchmark: 75 percent of ratings for educational content, sponsored networking opportunities, the exhibit hall, and the venue should be excellent or very good.

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