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Research from corporate event specialists, KDM Events, has found that planners of internal corporate conferences are not focusing on meeting business objectives when measuring the success of the event.
KDM surveyed event owners and organisers from 49 companies in December 2014 to find how they evaluated ‘event success’.
The research showed that 88% of the companies measured success by ‘everyone enjoying themselves’, while 64% measured it by things going well logistically. In addition, 69% thought events were successful if budgetary targets were met.
Business objectives were far lower down the scale, with 14% of event planners claiming that they did not set any objectives at all. Communicating business strategies was cited by just over 59% of respondents, while only 19% measured success by ‘collecting new business initiatives’, and 26% by ‘helping to achieve sales targets’.
KDM Events commercial director Nicky Whyman, commented on the findings: “The figures indicate that even when organisers are setting business objectives, in many cases internal events are still largely being used for one-way communication rather than as a tool for generating ideas, addressing issues or enhancing business performance.”
The research revealed that few organisations approach event evaluation with the intention of measuring and monitoring behavioural change and, although 88 per cent of respondents said they undertook post-event surveys, less than a quarter (23.8%) said they surveyed delegates before the event as well.
Nicky said: “If organisers are not taking pre-event benchmarks their post-event analysis is going to be at best a vague indicator and at worst meaningless.”
Despite the largely ad hoc approach to evaluating events, organisers said they wanted to be able to demonstrate the business case for events, with 75% stating that being able to easily quantify event success would be an advantage.
Nicky continued: "Our findings gave the distinct impression that the achievement of wider business goals was outside the remit of many event organisers, who are often quite disconnected from the board strategy that determines business objectives.
"If maximum return on objectives is to be achieved, boards need to better communicate their business priorities to the event organisers so that they can agree together how these will translate into event objectives. Once objectives are clear at the early planning stage it will be easy to take baseline measurements of business metrics for post-event comparison."