Portland Marketing Analytics (PortMA) | Portland, Maine

Best Practices for Event Research Methodology (Part 1)

research methodologyWinter is drawing to a close, and I know what you are all thinking now, “It’s too cold for festivals and fairs. The experiential world is on vacation!” If that’s what you think, you would be partially right. Most experiential programs have not launched yet. They are waiting for the crowds to enjoy the warmer weather of spring and summer. However, you would be very wrong to think we are all on vacation.

Most (99.9% of we experiential folks) are working our fingers to the bone, getting all of our ducks in a row for all of those spring and summer program launches. For the research world, that means developing and drafting event research methodologies.

How to define event research methodology

For those who are new to this game, a methodology is “the systematic, theoretical analysis of the methods applied to a field of study.” In other words, it’s the who, what, when, where, and why of research. It is one of the most critical parts of any event research study.

A poor event research methodology essentially equals poor results. The research managers at PortMA have specifically defined elements that we include in all of our methodologies. We are happy to share them with you.

Building out your research methodology

The first four elements included in every PortMA event research methodology are:

  1. Definition of the program goals – The event research methodology must clearly outline the goals of the program it is intended to measure, because the goals of the research should systematically align with them. You can’t report meaningful information to the people in charge if you don’t know what they care about.
  2. Identification of the target demographic – All event research methodologies should provide detailed specifics of the person(s) the experiential program is designed to reach. With a clear understanding of the target demographic, the researcher can relay that they understand to whom the program is aimed and create materials that can track the program’s effectiveness in reaching that demographic.
  3. Documentation of the major segments – This isn’t as cut and dried as the first two, but it should be a part of all event research methodologies. It is extremely important that all researchers have a clear understanding of how the data should be analyzed so that it is meaningful and actionable. Common examples of segmentation in experiential include: event type, market, sample distributed, tour, etc.
  4. Establishment of parameters for data collection methods – That’s why we are here, right? To collect the information! Data collection methods should be defined for client to ensure that they understand how the data needed will be collected. That way, they can provide the support necessary to make data collection successful.

We have just scratched the surface of event research methodologies and their best practices. Stay tuned for part two!

If you have any questions in the meantime, contact us and let us help you take your methodology to the next level.

Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmiehomeschoolmom/

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