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“How did the event go?” When business leaders ask that, what they really want to know is: “What benefits did the event bring to the organization?”
Although the answer involves brand reputation and customer perception, it should not be entirely subjective. Ideally, you should be able to demonstrate value and break down exactly what the event did for your organization based on hard data.
Even as marketing has become more data-driven, live events have traditionally been especially hard to pin down in terms of attributable impacts. How do you measure the warmth of a handshake or the sincerity of customer enthusiasm?
You can’t (yet), but you can set up technology that assesses the value of key performance indicators (KPIs) for live events and experiential marketing campaigns at each stage along the customer journey. Before, during, and after the event, there are plenty of definable moments and measurable actions that indicate customer intent and sentiment.
Here are KPIs for experiential marketing at each of the 5 stages of the typical customer journey. So the next time an executive asks you how the event went, you can nonchalantly break out the data visualizations.
Before the event, your top goal should be getting the word out with maximum breadth and urgency. People can’t attend the event if they don’t know about it.
The quality and dedication your team puts into the upfront promotion can make all the difference in how well attended the event is. Word of mouth tends to be the most motivational factor, but registrations tend to act as a good running indicator on how much people are talking about it offline.
Traditionally, the most obvious measure of success for an event was the attendance. That’s not good enough anymore. What really matters is the customer experience at the event. You want to discover where your brand ranks on their priority list and then move the needle in your favor.
There will be a great deal of variation in what you decide to measure based on top level strategic goals: market share, wallet share, modifying the brand identity, revenue diversification, etc. The critical takeaway is that new leads are not the only or the most important KPIs you should take away from experiential marketing campaign.
The real measure of success could be customer experience related, ROI-related or social-related. It depends on the goals of the campaign, who you're reporting to, and if you are reporting on an event, a campaign or the entire channel of experiential marketing.