How to Measure ROI In Event Marketing

Category: Event Marketing

Event marketing can often require significant investment in order for it to be successful, with technology, advertising, event branding and manpower all adding to the cost. However, any business investing a substantial amount of money in marketing wants to be able to see a quantifiable return on investment (ROI) at the end of it, and research shows that many marketers find events difficult to measure in such a way.

Indeed, a recent report produced by the Association of National Advertisers shows that as many as 38 percent of marketers are not satisfied with their own ability to measure the ROI of their event marketing initiatives. Moreover, less than half of them have a standard process in place for producing a measurement.

Yet, with some careful planning beforehand, a business or event company can actually measure ROI fairly easily.

How to measure ROI in Event Marketing

1. Decide Your Objective(s)

In order to have a benchmark for measurement, you must first define your objectives. One of the most common mistakes marketers make is to treat the measuring aspect of event marketing as a simple 'pass/fail' or 'good/bad' exercise, according to Dayna Rothman, author of the book Lead Generation for Dummies.

"Think about questions you want to answer that go beyond pass/fail," she says. "In event ROI measurement, there are many intricacies to take into consideration."

For example, you may set an objective of increasing attendance at the event, in comparison to previous events you have put on. This gives you a very simple question to answer - "Did the event attract more attendees than last time?" - but it also provides you with scope to measure things like the drop out rate as well.

Other common objectives include building brand awareness, generating leads, introducing a new product, or entering a new markets. In truth, the scope for objectives is huge, but the important thing is to have a clear idea in mind of what you want the event to achieve. Only then can you accurately measure whether your investment was worth it.

2. Pinpoint the Data Needed to Gauge ROI

Next, you need to consider exactly what data you will need in order to measure ROI, based on your objectives. You may be able to gather lots of positive data from the event, but the event's success or failure, from a ROI perspective, depends entirely on whether it has achieved what you hoped for.

If you are measuring brand awareness, you may need to measure social media buzz and the number of press mentions. If you are hoping to generate sales leads, you will want to look at the number of qualified leads generated, as well as the cost per lead. If you are introducing a new product, you may want to focus on the number of samples ordered and the amount of media exposure the product generates in the immediate aftermath.

The data needed will depend on your goals, but make sure you have specific metrics attached to each objective.

3. Capture Data and Measure ROI

Finally, you need to capture the necessary data and feed it back into your business. Depending on your objectives, you may also need to think about measuring at different points, i.e. before the event, during the event, or after the event. For this reason, the process of gathering data can often continue for long after the event has finished.

Once data has been successfully captured, it is time to analyse it and measure ROI. Common approaches to this include asking:

  • Did the event achieve the intended goals/objectives?
  • By what margin did sales revenue generated from the event exceed expenditure on the event?
  • Did investing in event marketing deliver more value to the business than other investments would have?

Different companies utilise different formulas for measuring ROI and again, the method used will largely depend on what the aims and objectives were. Ultimately, you are hoping to use the data to prove that your investment achieved the intended goals at a worthwhile cost.


Posted 1st October, 2015

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