“What gets measured gets improved.”
In business, events are primarily meant to bring you and your prospects together into environments that encourage relationships and business. Unlike Advertising and PR, it is difficult to develop metrics to calibrate or measure the productivity of events. There is no such discipline as Event Marketing taught at business schools. Hence there are no set metrics for event measurement. However, a few companies, like ShowValue and Exhibit Surveys have made some progress in the event measurement area. They try and build models for consistent cross-event measurement, working out and monitoring industry event standards.
Preferably, event-by-event measurement should be a part of your overall event strategy. The process starts in lead capture and progresses to an event measurement program. Like lead generation, event measurement is an important indicator of the productivity of an event. Badge-based system still works well in any event measurement initiative. An electronic badge is not a just a security tool but it also provides you with information about who actually attended the event. You can also track the attendees’ presence at each session of the event by scanning their badges.
Events help selling by enabling us to qualify the leads and build relationships to get to the next steps in the sales process. Capturing all the touch points and the experience they generate offers you highly valuable planning and follow-up information. Measurement of events is about what works so that you can direct your investment there. When you measure the ROI of an event, it is not only about money. In the case of an event, the return from it can also be measured against time and resources that could have been leveraged elsewhere. Some of the key metrics that Exhibit Surveys uses for return from events include:
- ROI – Return on Investment: This links the event with the sales process and evaluates long-term financial benefits.
- ROO – Return on Objective: This summarizes the fulfilment of short-term goals from the event.
- ROE – Return on Experience: This captures what we have learnt and what we managed to get across to the target audience.
- ROR – Return on Relationships: This focuses on the reinforcement of customer loyalty.
Introducing metrics enables you to know how productive your events are and also helps you judge the productivity of different types of events against one another. One starting point could be entwining into the event strategy a real-time onsite survey on customer perceptions. This can help you corroborate your marketing ideas, choices, and branding efforts with live target market audience. Ask intelligent questions on actionable items and don’t ask anything that you can’t implement. Sales should be included in the measurement and ROI process.
Deciding what to measure is a challenge. They key is to first define the objectives before devising the ways to measure. Normally it makes sense to pick one or two objectives from the event, based on what is important to your company, and measure them for results against the targets. For example, if a key objective is to enhance brand recognition, its fulfillment can be measured by evaluating (i) Audience quality, (ii) Quality of delivery, (iii) Media coverage, (iv) Competitive presence etc. Or, for example, if a key objective is direct sale generation, its achievement can be gauged by valuing (i) Number and amount of leads generated, ii) Lead conversion, (iii) Sales opportunities etc.
LEVERAGING GIVEAWAYS: Money should be the primary consideration in deciding on the giveaways and promotional items for an event. Look at what it costs for the item itself, shipment to the event’s lieu, and distribution on-site. With method, you can meaningfully reduce the cost of a giveaway program without compromising on its efficiency. There are systems available that can be used to monitor and measure this component of an event strategy. For example, scanning the electronic cards to ensure one gift per attendee for the pricier items.
ShowValue uses a seven step process to measure the productivity of events. It contains a good methodology for making sure that the companies capture good and relevant information and produce a report that carries business value. Here is the process for you to use fully or partially, as warranted.
- DEFINE MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES: Identify quantifiable objectives that back your reason to spend the money. For example, amount of sales generated, number of leads, speaker ratings etc.
- DEVELOP A MEASURMENT PLAN: It should detail the survey methods, the target audience, and the associated timelines.
- CREATE SURVEY INSTRUMENTS: The survey instruments can be different based on what the objectives are. Questions and the choices they offer must be clear, brief, and suitable for the targeted audience.
- CAPTURE DATA: Effective methods to capture data need to take into account traffic flow dynamics, timing, and the target audience.
- TABULATE RESULTS: Assemble the data captured and tabulate results to know what you are looking at.
- PERFORM BUSINESS ANALYSIS: Analyse data to determine event value. Identify areas of success and areas that need improvement.
- PRODUCE EXECUTIVE REPORT: Pull it into some sort of highly professional executive-level report that is concise, with supporting information annexed, and leads the reader through a process of discovery
(For help with your event please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org)