What is a fair price for an online CES conference? How long should it last? What could be the main objectives of virtual conference delegates? In preparation for the many decisions the CES 2021 conference organizing committee has to make, the Marketing Research committee set out to accomplish two goals: to collect information on other virtual conferences taking place in coming months (many as a consequence of the public health situation) and to gather primary data from CES members and other evaluators on key aspects of attending a virtual conference on evaluation.
To support the second goal, a marketing research questionnaire was devised. It was sent to current and past CES members as well as to people who had sent a proposal for presentation at the 2020 conference and those who had already registered for that conference. The questionnaire was also available for any other evaluator from around the world who cared to provide answers. The survey was available through September 2020. In the end, there were 534 respondents, including 277 Canadian members and 109 Canadian non-members; other respondents were from outside Canada.
We are happy to make the detailed results available; a simple one-page presentation of key findings was also produced. In short, 75% of CES members consider that an online conference will be a good use of their time and 92% expect that it will be a good learning opportunity. Technical issues are a concern for only 7% of CES members (but 22% of our African colleagues). Two-thirds of respondents would like the conference to last at least 3 days and they would devote 3 to 4 hours per day to it. A fee of $300 CDN appears to be a fair price for this event.
The C2021 organizing committee is taking note of the results of this consultation. Qualitative information is particularly rich and will contribute to improving the conference program. We thank respondents for their time and input. Congratulations to the three randomly selected respondents who won free admission to C2021!