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Utilize Surveys in Virtual Events


Online marketers often speak of hard ROI (explicit return) and soft ROI.  In this economic climate, soft ROI is being cut and marketers are focusing (with rare exception) on hard ROI.  But what if you could generate hard ROI and soft ROI simultaneously?  Would your CMO or CFO like that?  I’d bet that the CMO would, at minimum.

So consider the use of surveys within your virtual events.  Let’s say you generated 200 visitors to your booth.  And let’s say 70% of those visitors completed an online survey that was available right there in your booth (equalling 140 survey completes).  You might think I’m crazy to suggest that 70% of visitors would actually fill out a survey.  But what if you provided a prize?  And, you qualified visitors into the prize drawing via completion of the survey?  I’ve seen it with my own two eyes – one particular event had 70% of booths visitors completing the exhibitors’ in-booth survey (i.e. for those who chose to utilize a survey).

140 survey completes results in a statistically significant sample size.  And you’re likely not going to generate such a high response rate if you message to these visitors post-event.  Here are my Top 3 reasons for doing a survey in a virtual event:

  1. Plan your marketing content – let your target audience tell you what they’re interested in, what media formats they like to consume, what content they want (from you)  as they evaluate your products and services.  Leverage this valuable information to plan your White Papers, webinars and follow-on virtual events.
  2. Generate insights for your Product Manager – partner with your company’s product managers and ask them what info they’d like from customers and prospective customers.  You’d be a hero to Product Management and the success will certainly bubble up to the CMO or VP of Products.  And, by the way, this may help your company design better products.
  3. Intelligent lead follow-up –  survey questions are very similar to the qualifying questions that online marketers use on lead gen registration forms.   Don’t be afraid to review individual survey responses to better plan your lead follow-up with selected leads.

Now, what’s the cost of doing the survey?  Well, the prize will set you back a few hundred dollars (e.g. for a GPS, Nintendo Wii, iPod, etc.).  When evaluated against the soft ROI you can  generate,  I think the investment is worth it.  As Richard Dawson may ask, “Survey says?” – YES.

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One Response to Utilize Surveys in Virtual Events

  1. Great blog in the works here! And those are good reasons for an exhibitor to integrate a survey into the virtual event process. I’m thinking that, if exhibitors can require the tradeshow host to implement useful surveys, then there’s even bang for the buck to be had. Unlike short-term ROI (the profit potential of leads from a single show), long-term ROI requires continuous improvements in a marketer’s performance. But how does a marketer know if, for the audience attending this particular show, the generation of 200 leads represented a “good performance” on the part of his exhibit team or a “bad performance” in need of improvement? Perhaps 250 leads were possible, if the exhibit effort had been better. Perhaps 300 leads were possible, if the event had been better structured to generate audience activity. And how effective was the event at moving attendees toward purchasing your brand? Require the tradeshow host to do the survey work that will reveal aggregate benchmarks for the event and comparative results for each brand–including those of your competitors. Since the costs of the research will be spread across so many exhibitors, the pass-along cost to you may be even less than the cost of a survey prize.

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