Marketers, what was the last great event you attended? Was it a music festival or a fundraiser? A sports game?
Would you have done things differently if you had organized it?
Event marketing lets you create interactive, one-of-a-kind in-person experiences. It brings you face to face with consumers. It lets you engage with the customers who matter to your business — people who are likely to purchase your products and services. You can replicate all of those awesome events you've visited in the past.
Every year, 205 million people in the United States attend 1.8 million conventions, conferences, trade shows, exhibitions and business events, according to the Convention Industry Council.
That's a lot of potential customers.
But how do you measure the return on events like these? How do you know if they were worth the effort? This guide will help you and your agency partners monitor your marketing event campaigns. Find out how to use the right data, measure ROI properly and more.
Marketers Don't Know How to Measure Event Success
Marketers spend 20 percent of their marketing budget on events, according to Marketo — that's a huge chunk of cash.
Still, just one in five marketers can tie revenue to live events. They just don't know how to measure ROI.
This is the problem. The bulk of marketers have no way to track what's working — and what isn't working — when it comes to in-person events. They spend so much time managing events that measurement takes a back seat.
But if you can't measure events, you can't really manage them.
How would you know whether customers actually enjoyed your event? How would you know how much money you made?
Fifty-nine percent of all marketers have no tools at their disposal to measure event ROI. Others use "soft" metrics to justify event spending — intangible indicators that don't provide any real insights into their campaigns. These are only top-line early indicators of success, but otherwise tell marketers nothing about the overall success of their campaign.
What Can You Do About It?
There are three possible courses of action available to event marketers who are looking to improve their
You can carry on what you're doing — spending thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of dollars on marketing without ever knowing whether your events provide value.
You can build an in-house solution where you focus on proper key performance indicators (KPIs) that provide you with real intelligence like customer acquisition cost (CAC), customer retention rate and projected value in the pipeline (VP).
You can evaluate software vendors and choose a secure, integrated digital transformation tool that provides you with valuable campaign insights. These programs let you track social media, emails and other digital channels so you can retarget customers and optimize your events.
Realistically, No. 3 is the best option for you and your agency partners. It's more cost-effective than an in-house solution and delivers fast results. Combine software with onboarding for your team to have an even more powerful effect.
This way, you can discover what consumers are saying about your event on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. You can track attendees before, during and after an event. You can move customers through the marketing pipeline. You can work out the true cost of your campaigns — and the return on your investment.
Why You Need to Measure Event Success Right Now
When you measure event success with digital, you can find out the following:
Calculate how much it costs to host your event. Discover upfront costs and hidden costs, for example.
Find out what people really think about your event before it even starts. Use this information to increase registrations, signups and social reach.
Use sales-matchback techniques to work out how many event attendees became genuine customers.
Measure every interaction, every touchpoint, every experience.
More and more marketers are using digital tools to find out all of the above and more. Brands invested $50 million in modern event management solutions in 2016 alone. But how many are actually providing the insights that help move the needle?
You're Measuring the Wrong Thing
You might already use digital tools to measure in-person live events. But how much value do these programs provide you with?
Vanity metrics — like the number of people who follow you on Facebook or the number of tickets you've sold for an event — just won't cut it if you want a 360-degree overview of your campaigns.
These type of analytics will only provide you with an idea of how well your live events are doing. The information you will receive is pretty vague.
"Traditionally, most event organizers and sales reps have focused on the data that is generated before and after an event, which gives a good picture of who showed up, but not much else," says Kissmetrics.
Don't make the same mistakes.
True event marketing metrics will really impress the C-suite. The best software captures active data and uses it to help you better personalize post event communications, determine customer acquisition cost, sales matchback analysis, and other areas of campaign performance in and across different regions. Active data capture provides you with more qualitative information in real time.
"A common misconception is that event attendance alone determines whether or not your event was successful," says HubSpot. "Although attendance is indeed a useful piece of data, there are many other aspects of your event you should also measure."
In-person event marketing get you closer to your customers than any other marketing method. In fact, 80 percent of all marketers believe live events are critical to their company’s success. But what's the point in creating an event if you can't measure it? Utilizing the latest digital tools will help you measure event success properly.
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