Measuring the Technical Evangelist

At the recent London VMUG, a sponsor shared with me their lead goal; as a marketer I fully understand the need for measurement of marketing spend.  However, being a sponsor at a VMUG is slightly different to the usual industry seminar, tradeshow etc. in my opinion, as a sponsor is influencing the community just by being in attendance. This is very much understood by the technical folks within vendor sponsors in my experience, to the point some don’t even care about lead numbers generated, they just want the ability and platform to speak to this unique set of individuals, aka VMUG members.

This discussion got me thinking about how can marketing therefore measure the technical evangelist?  Noting some of the tweets being sent during presentations, it occurred to me that a key measurement of success is captivation.  A technical evangelist cannot be measured on how many people attend a webinar they are hosting – the audience acquisition is down to marketing to drive with a compelling title/agenda/content. A technical evangelist also cannot be measured on how many people they present to at an event, this is down to the event organizer to acquire the audience.  However, once the evangelist is in front of their audience, whether physically or virtually via a webinar, it is their responsibility to captivate the audience with their presentation both in terms of content and presentation style.

Therefore, I believe marketing should monitor social media both during and after the technical evangelist’s presentation to measure the captivation metric.  Whilst not as scientific as actual number of leads, it will certainly provide an indication of acceptance and understanding of the presentation.  Many organizations tier their leads; contact, enquiry, lead, qualified lead, etc. prior to handing to sales. The qualified lead then goes into the sales hopper to then be converted to an opportunity and then get weighted in terms of a forecast.  So what should the captivation measure consist of?  As with many things marketing related, it’s quite subjective, but I believe captivation weighting could be deployed to measure success, or otherwise, of a technical evangelist’s presentation.  If tweets are the platform, the measurement can consist of 3 elements; positive, neutral and negative. A score can be attributed, for example, 2 for positive, 1 for neutral and 0 for negative.  Marketing can then agree a goal for the number of positive captivations the technical evangelist creates.  With polls being regularly deployed during webinars, this could be the platform that the measurement can be taken from and free tools such as SurveyMonkey could be utilized on handheld devices/smartphones during a seminar to obtain empirical data.

I think technical evangelists are playing an increasingly important role within technology companies and they do want to be held to account for their impact.  However, the measurement of them has to reflect their role and it would be wrong for marketing to just lump them into the lead goal bucket.