The most important part of any research project is to clearly and accurately define objectives, because they provide the framework for the entire project and will guide each step of the research process from survey design to final reporting.
Before defining research objectives, you need to know three things:
1. A comprehensive understanding of what the event marketing research is intended to measure.
2. The goals and key performance indicators that will define the success of the program.
3. An understanding of what actions the client will want to take as a result of the event marketing research.
1. Comprehensive Understanding of the Program
Event marketing research objectives cannot be created if you don’t know anything about the program the research is designed to measure. The planning phase is the time when research objectives must be established, and should include a lot of communication between the account team and the measurement team.
During this phase, I always ask the client team for an Activation Strategy Guide: a detailed document that provides everything there is to know about a program’s execution strategy, from what field teams will be wearing, to key messaging, to the design of the footprint. In the rare event an activation strategy guide isn’t available, PortMA has an Intake Form I can use get the information you need (stay tuned to hear more about intake forms in a later blog).
The last thing I ask for are brand strategy materials, which can provide a glimpse into the mind of the client and what they know about the brand. If I am uncertain or unclear about any part of the program, I ask QUESTIONS!
Ignorance should never be an excuse for poorly designed research objectives.
2. Goals and Key Performance Measures
Information about the event marketing goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) of a program are laid out in simple terms in the Activation Strategy Guide (Another great reason to ask your client for it).
Your event marketing research objectives should be centered on (and, many times, mirror) the overall goals of the program. I think event marketing research objectives should be straightforward – almost over-simplified.
Avoid ambiguity when describing your research objectives. They are the foundation for the entire process.
3. Understanding Post-Research Actions
The last thing I like to use, when I define event marketing research objectives, is an understanding of what actions the client/ brand teams plan to take based on the outcomes of the research.
This way, I ensure that my research design delivers on those action items. They are literally built into the research (Again, stay tuned for another blog that will delve more into this topic).
Defining research objectives is the most critical part of planning for any research project. Those definitions are the basis for every process and tool used during measurement.
If you take the time to educate yourselves on the three items above, you should have fantastic event marketing research objectives every time.
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