World Newspaper Week Vienna: Delegate survey, implementing Event ROI methodology (Review part 5)

5. Delegate survey, implementing Event ROI methodology

Of course, we have been doing delegate surveys for a very long time, first on paper, since a couple of years mostly online using the Surveymonkey platform. But when I saw a presentation by Dr. Elling Hamso, Managing Partner of the Event ROI Institute, I realized that mostly, we’ve been asking the wrong questions.

In the past, we were focusing on the satisfaction level with the organization of the event, with the speakers, the sessions, the content. While that is all very important, these questions sort of miss the point. The real Return-on-Invest of any meeting lies in the change of behavior that is incited by the event participation. Only then you can say that your event has a sustained effect. Or, as Elling puts it “If the event doesn’t make participants do something they would otherwise not have done, there is no value.

This notion seemed totally clear to me, and so we endeavored to design the delegate survey to reflect this philosophy. I wrote about the concept of Event ROI and how to measure the success of event marketing in an earlier blog post, for those of you who are interested in digging deeper.

This is what the survey looked like (the PDF version):

Let me share some of the key findings with you

  • We had a response rate of ca. 24%, which is a good result taking into consideration that the conference delegates are all C-Level managers (publishers, chief editors) with little time for filling surveys like this one.
  • We got a lot of great feedback on the open-ended questions. One of the reasons for this is that we kept the questionnaire rather short.
  • By adding the open-ended question “Can we quote you? If so, please write your general comments about the World Newspaper Congress/World Editors Forum here” we got a lot of great quotes that we can use in the marketing campaign for the next edition. Like this: “It was a wholesome experience and an internal battery recharging process. Hosted in the wonderful city of Vienna, the Congress and Editors Forum covered the entire range of issues from processing to publishing, traditional problems to future directions, interacting with some of the best minds in the Industry from around the globe. Kudos to the Organizers.” (Deepu Ravi, Managing Editor, Kerala Kaumudi, India).
  • 83% of the delegates said they will be doing things differently in the future, based on what they learned at the Congress / Editors Forum in Vienna.
  • Networking success: 80% of the delegates claimed they got to know at least 3 people that they are quite certain will be of value to them in their present position or future career. 20% stated that this number was even 10 people or more.
  • 92% of the delegates will recommend the World Newspaper Congress / World Editors Forum.

It was the first time we did this survey in this fashion, so I don’t yet have any direct benchmarks to compare it with. The survey for the upcoming Digital Media Asia conference in Hong Kong will be designed along the same lines, so that we will be able to benchmark internally our conferences.

Did you implement comparable techniques to evaluate your events? Which results did you get? Feel free to share your experiences here.

Vienna 2011 review:

  1. Live-Eventblog
  2. Twitter coverage
  3. The World Newspaper Week iPad and Smartphone app
  4. Exhibitor presentation at the World Newspaper Congress
  5. The delegate survey, implementing Event ROI methodology
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