What is success? How do you measure it?
Most of us know the “feeling” of success. It’s that “wholly cow” I can fly like Superman feeling! We experienced it at a young age when we tied our shoes for the first time by ourselves, got dressed without anyone helping us, earned our first “A” in school, landed our first job and so on. We know what it feels like to personally be successful.
How is success measured when we are talking about a community event that supports the tourism effort here in Tombstone, AZ.
Certainly we can “feel” good after a great event. That is a given. That “feel good” feeling can’t be the only measure of success when talking about a community event. There is more.
Coordinating and executing an event is a BIG job. It is hard, and at times thankless. A well-executed event requires extensive planning and coordination.
“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”
First, oh so briefly, let’s touch on planning.
When planning the event remember the “why” behind your event. In the craziness of marketing an event, you can lose sight of the original idea that led you to creating it. Why are you and your group/organization spending time, money, heart, and soul on this event?
The WHY for creating and continuing community events and activities here in Tombstone should always be: “To promote with integrity the authentic history of Tombstone AZ while making all decisions in the best interest of the community and businesses of Tombstone.”
That statement seems easy to use as a guidepost for planning, executing and evaluating ALL community events . . . don’t you think?
Five ways to measure event success
- Attendance and Attendee Satisfaction:
Did people show up? Well of course people showed up!
Attendance: Now how do you know how many people showed up to your event? You have to designate someone to do a headcount as best you can (don’t count residents and friends, or count them separate from the Visitor Attendee List). Or you should have a guest sign in, or some way of measuring your event population. One of the many benefits of “counting” will be seeing the ebbs and flows of the attendance of the event over time. There are many hints online how to accomplish this.
Attendee Satisfaction: Randomly ask event participants about their experience. Create an exit interview of sorts asking questions like:
- What did you think of the event?
- Did the event meet your objectives?
- Would you recommend this event to a friend?
- How could the event have been improved?
These are just examples . . . there are several examples online for event exit satisfaction surveys.
Don’t interview friends or residents . . . they don’t really count toward the impact of promoting tourism within Tombstone, AZ.
- Monetary Outcomes:
Your event had people attend!!! YAY!!!! However people standing on the street may not necessarily have a positive economic impact to the surrounding businesses.
So how is this component evaluated? Easy! Really Easy!!! ASK!
Ask EVERY business owner near or around the event the following questions:
- Was there an increase in sales because of your event?;
- Did they see an increase of “foot traffic” shopping/eating/drinking in their establishment because of your event?;
- Was there anything about the event that hampered or hindered their business?;
- Did they remain open during your event, if not – why;
- Prior to the day of the event, was the business owner asked to promote the event? And if so, did they and how did they?
Business owner buy-in for community events is CRITICAL! They are the ones who will help promote the event via their social media channels, and with their customers.
You have to think of your event like a dance . . . no one dances unless asked. No business owner will participate unless asked. Asking gives the business owner a buy-in to your event, and the knowledge to promote the event. Simply it gives the business a sense of being part of the event – a sense of belonging.
Community events are synergistic between the event coordinators, the business owners and the participants. All must be in sync for the event to truly be successful.
- Media and Press Hits:
Look at ALL the media coverage of your event. This includes print, TV, radio and digital outlets. Media is part of your pre-event planning.
- How many days/weeks was your first press release published?;
- How often was it published?
- What media outlets did your organization use?
- Did your group follow a media schedule or a plan?
- Did you involve surrounding businesses in helping promote your event?
Your visitors have to know about your event to attend.
- Social media mentions:
Measuring the reach across social media platforms of your event will be important. Attendees, media outlets and business owners will probably all contribute to the social media buzz surrounding your event, but it’s important to consider not only the volume but also the sentiment of the messages.
For example, if someone posts on Facebook that they had a great time at your event and tags your organization, you could like the post and ask them (as your organization) to email you specifics about what made their experience enjoyable. Likewise, for negative Facebook Posts, you can respond to the user and ask them to expand on their thoughts. This is a great way to gather feedback as well as apologize for any misunderstanding.
To accomplish Facebook Marketing and any follow ups on Facebook – your group must be using Facebook, and using a Facebook Business Page for your organization. To be successful with this your group must be routinely active and build a following on Facebook. The visitors to our community “check the web” for information about Tombstone and events. They will go to your website and to your Facebook page – both should be current.
- Post Event Wrap Up
Now that you’ve gathered information about attendees, money outcomes, media and social media it all deserves to be evaluated. Have a post-event meeting with the planners to discuss everyone’s thoughts on what worked well and what didn’t, so you can use that information to plan your next event.
The Post Event Wrap Up must go back to The WHY for creating and continuing community events and activities.
“To promote with integrity the authentic history of Tombstone AZ while making all decisions in the best interest of the community and businesses of Tombstone.”
During the Post Event Wrap there should be some questions asked and answered:
- Did the event promote with integrity the authentic history of Tombstone AZ? If so, how? If not, why?
- Did the event benefit the Tombstone business community? If so, how? If not, why?
- What didn’t work with the event?
- What did work with the event?
- What could be changed or adjusted to improve the event?
- Did our attendance increase or decrease from past events;
- Were there any attendee comments (good or bad).
And the last BIG question should always be:
- Should the event continue or be cancelled.
Let’s ALL feel like we are flying like Superman and Be Successful!
Christmas is Coming . . . the Goose is Getting Fat . . . and the Chamber is planning!
There are less than 150 days until Christmas! The Chamber Board started planning our December 2015 events in January! Now it’s time to remind everyone what’s going on so plans can be made to participate.
There will be more specifics to come but here is the tentative schedule:
- Tree lighting 6:30PM
- Santa and Sleigh
- Hot coco stand
- Luminaries at the Courthouse 6pm-8pm
- Presentation of Best Decorated Business Award
- Light Parade 6:30pm
- Start Time 6:30pm
- 4th Annual Fireworks Display 8pm
- Santa in the Park
29th Annual “Tombstone Vigilante 10-K RUN
August 9, 2015 – http://www.tombstonevigilantes.com/10krun.html
Where’s YOUR event?
Send your event information to: firstname.lastname@example.org this will ensure that it is posted on Facebook and is included in the Chamber Member weekly Emails.
Renewing or New Chamber Members
- Good Enough Mine Tours
- Spur Western Wear