This post was updated on 3/16/17.
By its nature, event marketing must include a wow factor. Often companies spend the majority of their time and resources on event aesthetics. Delivering exciting event elements, memorable event materials and premium giveaways is priority. It is only after a perfectly-crafted experience is complete that some companies start thinking about event marketing ROI. How can we show that this spectacular customer experience is a good investment? How can we make this event work for us as a tool to reach our sales goals or increase revenue?
Event marketing is much more than just brand awareness. Event marketing can produce a tangible, profitable and on-going return for your company. When crafting any experience, begin with the end in mind. Build the event around your marketing goals and incorporate measurement tools to achieve event marketing ROI.
Establish Event Goals
Marketing events create and add value by influencing participants to take an action they otherwise would not. To measure ROI, first identify one or two primary event marketing objectives. Do you need to generate actionable leads for your sales team? Do you need to expand your social media engagement? Build your event with your marketing goals at the forefront. Identifying past, present, and future goals will help define what type of event you will hold (discussed below) and the rate of success.
When determining your goals, identify the associated metrics. A few metrics you might use may include number of contacts generated, number of qualified leads or number of shares on social media.
Getting Started: 3 Event Basics
Now that you know your event goals, you need a basic event outline. Once you have the following event details established, the next step will be to create a plan to measure ROI.
1. What type of event will allow you to reach your goals? Should you do a PR stunt to create media buzz for the launch of a new product? Or would you like to gather leads at a mall activation? The type of event you host should be the best avenue to reach your objectives.
2. Who is your audience? Understanding your audience preferences, behaviors and motivations is critical.
- What is your target demographic? (Male/Female, Age, Social Class, Profession, Etc.)
- What motivates their decision to purchase?
- What are their pain points and how does your product or service help them?
- What is your average lead to sale time frame? If it is short, consider offering an option to purchase while at your event. If it is long, ensure you have established a cohesive plan to continue providing offers well after the event has concluded. This can be through social media engagement, email marketing or subsequent events.
3. What is your budget? Tracking what you are spending feeds directly into calculating event marketing ROI. Some cost factors to consider:
- Signage and Marketing Materials
- Attendee Giveaways
- Guest Speakers/Entertainment
- Event Staffing and Training
Gathering Data to Measure Event Marketing ROI
With basic event details under your belt, now you can identify the best ways to gather data and ultimately measure event marketing ROI.
1. Real-time Surveys
Surveys can help you gather critical event data in real time. In addition, surveys are a great way to gather attendee contact information which can become actionable leads for your sales team. You can also learn what your guests thought about your event, such as speakers or interactive elements. You can have attendees provide feedback during the event, or you can send a follow up survey after.
When creating your survey, remember:
- Keep the survey short. You want the participants to feel that participation is quick and easy.
- Provide drop downs or radio buttons when possible
- Gather information that your sales team can use but that won’t seem prohibitive to attendees. For example, some audiences might feel uncomfortable providing a phone number, but are happy to engage via social media or email.
- Provide a reward. Give survey participants a coupon for a product or service, or an extra giveaway. It’s important to show your gratitude!
Make sure you use a survey system that provides back-end data as well. This will include participation percentages, mobile or desktop usage, and more to help you hone the most effective ways to reach your audience.
2. Mobile-App Metrics.
Many events are incorporating customized mobile apps to promote audience engagement. Many of these apps provide live games, news feeds and the ability to engage with both event elements and other audience members. The more interaction you have with your guests, the more information you are able to gather. Encourage engagement by adding incentives and giveaways for those who take part.
These can also be great ways to gather audience information, promote brand love and encourage attendees to keep sharing their event and brand experience though their own social channels. Applying the number of contacts you gathered to your lead value can help to increase ROI.[Tweet “Focus on setting up a strategy that incorporates social listening as a key component.”]
3. Social Media Activity
According to EventTrack, over 75% of event marketers use social media as a key engagement strategy for an event. Keeping an ear tuned towards what your audience is saying before, during and after your event provides important insights and can be used to assess event marketing ROI. If developing more robust or expansive social media engagement is one of your goals, this data is key. This information is also perfect for crafting post-event content that is most relevant to an audience.
Focus on setting up a strategy that incorporates social listening as a key component. This will include:
- Monitoring for re-occurring hashtags, quotes from speakers, common questions, and complaints.
- Setting-up an event-specific #hashtag. Encourage guests to use the hashtag for all posts related to the event.
- Set-up Google Alerts to notify you of all mentions related to your event.
- Considering other types of social listening software, some of which are available on line for free.
Proving event marketing ROI is important, and at the center is gathering attendee and event data at all touch points. Tools such as surveys, mobile-app metrics, and social media engagement can provide valuable information at all stages of the event. By compiling and analyzing this data in relation to your goals as compared to your investment, you can establish and measure event marketing ROI.
Brand experience agency, agencyEA, has created an exceptional checklist to help companies measure event ROI. Included is everything from how to approach ROI and build brand experiences to achieving the best event results. View the checklist below!
Do you need help finding the right people to represent your brand at your next event? Since 1999, EPS has partnered with agencies and brands throughout the US & Canada to staff and execute all types of experiential marketing campaigns. Contact us – we’d love to help!