Taking the Scary Out of Event Measurement

March 6, 2018 Dax Callner

Taking the Scary out of Event Measurement

Ever since businesses began hosting events or participating in trade shows, the question of “How do we measure this?” has troubled marketers. GES has recently taken a crack at the question and we believe we’ve developed a best-in-class approach.

One of the challenges to event measurement is an underlying fear factor rooted in two truths:

  1. Most event marketers are not data scientists

  2. Measurement results may reveal that the event isn’t delivering the results it should

Let’s spend a minute talking about each of these.


Most event marketers are not data scientists – true!

Taking the Scary out of Event Measurement

But, event measurement doesn’t have to be mired in a morass of data analysis. Events are designed to drive behavioral and attitudinal changes in audiences reached. To put it even more simply, we want event attendees to do something as a result of their experience, and to feel something different than they did beforehand. And because events exist for a moment in time, it makes sense to ask people as they leave or shortly afterward what they intend to do differently and how they feel differently. These differences = measurement.

If there’s anything event people get, it’s how to have a conversation. Use those skills to talk to attendees about their experience and how it changed them. Use surveys if you want to get reactions from many people (which we usually recommend). Talking to attendees…it doesn’t seem so scary, right?


Now let’s look at the second truth: event measurement may uncover problems with the event. True!

Taking the Scary out of Event Measurement

Event marketers often love what they do and want to protect that – totally makes sense. But if there are problems, we need to know what they are in order to fix them. We need data about the experience to drive continuous improvement. And if the event or experience just isn’t working at all, we need to know that as well, so we can create one that will work. It’s like driving a car that has major mechanical issues. At some point, you have to fix it or get a new car. You can keep driving it until it finally dies, but then you are really stuck. Right?

So, have no fear and measure away!


About the Author

Dax Callner

Dax Callner is the former Chief Strategy Officer of Events, leading a practice that specializes in physical, digital and social experience development, measurement & analytics.

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