On-site research is great. (Obviously I’m biased.) It lets you learn about customer disposition and how in line your targeting is with your objectives. But this is in the heat of the moment. How does someone feel about the product a week later, or a month later? Is the person who said they would buy a month ago going to see the product in the store and remember your event?
There is one easy way to find this out: send a follow up email two months later and ask what your consumer has done since then.
You can see if consumers have a lower propensity to purchase, or even if they have purchased, since your event. I think having this comparison is particularly powerful for brands. You have not only immediae results, but you can monitor the success of your events in terms of lasting impact.
We had one program where 85% of people said they remembered attending the event, and 80% of those stated that they remember the event being a fun experience. Nothing is better for event marketing than being able to say your event was a memorable experience.
How to reach consumers after the event has passed
So what are the drawbacks? First you have to get people’s email addresses, which many are reluctant to give out.
You also have to manage what can end up being a massive follow up campaign. Than can get expensive, in terms of both money and time.
Most importantly, your information has to be the kind that will remain relevant. If your follow-up focuses entirely around the 2012 campaign, but the 2013 campaign has taken a totally new direction, you are left with a report in February of 2013 that no one cares about, because it’s about last year’s focus.
Where does the value come from?
Even if you don’t find out if people have purchased, simply knowing what they remember about your event two months later can help you improve for next year. Continual feedback can also help to shape programs currently in the field.
Reducing the response time to three weeks after and event can help to ensure that original consumer feedback that was honest, without worrying about people having forgotten the important details about the event.
With careful monitoring and refinement, I believe post-event research is the most concrete way to show the value of a program.
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