Anyone planning an event of any size; large or small, needs to know how successful the event was. From capturing data to leaving people with a positive attitude, event planners only have a small window after an event to capture this information for analysis. Did your ROI actually come suggest the event was a success or do you need to evaluate your goals the next time?
Knowing why you’re holding a particular event, and then being able to objectively measure the results against your initial criteria, is a crucial element of event organisation, and yet it is the one part that’s often overlooked after the excitement of the event is finished.
What are your top tips for measuring Return on Investment at events?
1. Be clear what you want to get out of the event: Is your aim to increase awareness of a new product? Or to boost new leads and develop prospects? Whatever the reason, clarity is vital at the outset.
2. Engage with your targets before creating the event: Find out what the audience really wants from an event so that you have a set of criteria against which to measure your event success afterwards. Research via email and social media too. What format elicits the best reaction? What will excite them about attending a future event – is it key speakers or a panel discussion?
3. Follow up! Consider getting real-time feedback by sending a form via a mobile app. This allows you to assess afterwards how well your attendees felt their needs (which you have already pre-defined) were met by the event.
4. Make sure the data you captured on your attendees are sent to your CRM system: So your sales team can follow up on leads with personalised information. This kind of detailed information can provide useful nuggets of information to help you hone future events to ensure an even better ROI.
5. Monetise the ‘no’. Even if delegates cannot attend an event, it is important to find out why and see this as a perfect opportunity to engage with them and even create new business leads. Ensure the registration system is integrated with the company’s CMS system. By doing so you can start collating personalised information about customers and prospects which can help you tailor future events and means that even those who cannot attend your event can still contribute to a positive ROI.
Event planners typically know their planning and execution processes of event logistics inside out and often measure the satisfaction with the programme and overall organisation. But it still challenges them to prove the contribution to the business goals of their organisation.
Here are some tips on how to prove the true value and ROI of meetings and events:
1. Know how to calculate the Return on Investment
ROI is a measure showing the profitability of your event. It is calculated by subtracting the total cost of your event from the total monetary impact and then divided by total cost of the event. The result is expressed as a percentage.
(Total Monetary Impact – Total Cost of the Event) ÷ Total Cost of Event] X 100 = ROI
Most corporations either want to increase revenue or decrease costs by running or joining an event. But there are other events where the ROI might be expressed by its contribution to a certain mission, e.g. of a non-profit organisation or association.
2. Define measurable objectives before measuring
Many event planners measure event success after the event has ended. But measurement starts with defining measurable objectives. Be precise and set concrete success criteria as a benchmark.
3. Define what you want your participants to DO for a positive ROI
Events are all about changing or reinforcing participants’ behaviour. Emotions are not enough, they have to DO something which creates value for the stakeholders. You probably have several categories of attendees, so you need to make a list of actions that you want each of them to take. Then ask yourself: ‘Why don’t they do it already?’
4. Define the required learning that leads to the desired action
What are the barriers preventing your participants from showing the desired behaviour? Do they need information, or to connect with your staff or other attendees, or do you need to change how they think about your brand? Collect participant feedback to find out if they learned something new of value to their job, changed their attitude or developed relationships.
5. Create an experiential learning environment for good learning results
The learning objectives can’t be separated from the environment in which learning happens. Room ambience, food, time to network, relevant content and interactive presentation formats are important influencing factors for a good learning environment and measured by the satisfaction level of your participants. Learning through all five senses opens minds and helps your participants to understand, remember and finally apply what they have learned for a positive ROI.