When your staff returns to the office and materials from your latest event are put away, how will you present the value of your event to management? Events are a solid business investment, and deliver the highest ROI, but how do you effectively manage and measure that investment for your organization’s specific needs?
Most post-event critiques used by integrated marketers look at what went well or could be improved at a tactical level. Many are unaware that there are several ways to measure your event’s success from the well-known return on investment (ROI), to return on objective (ROO), and return on event (ROE). Though the three may overlap, each provides a unique view of your business’ event success.
Used for calculating the monetary value of marketing tactics, ROI is a “by the numbers” ratio of investment vs. return. This type of accounting typically takes place a few months after an event, allowing prospects to move through the sales funnel. Good areas for calculating ROI include ticket sales, new and repeat business, and lead conversions.
ROI is a good barometer for sales effectiveness as it contributes to bottom line revenue and profitability. It may not be as effective at measuring short-term success, or for determining the value of more subjective outcomes such as engagement, interactions, audience reactions, etc.
Less well-known but growing in popularity is ROO, a flexible, forward-looking measurement approach. Integrated marketers work with stakeholders to clearly define goals in advance of an event, making it easier to track outcomes and determine organizational performance. Objectives may include building brand awareness, attendee interaction, and generating new leads.
Because ROO is measured before, during and after an event, it is well-suited for shorter-term reporting than ROI, but it may still take a quarter to fully see the fruits of established goals. An event is an extension of your marketing promotions, with conversions and inquiries ongoing over time as you continue to nurture prospects. Capitalize on the strides made during the event with follow-up surveys and messaging.
This pre-/post-meeting measurement method is more intensive than ROI and ROO but may be the most significant. Over the course of several surveys, you extensively review audience reactions to determine their needs.
Taking users through discovery (small group, short survey), baseline (census-style, all invitees), and evaluation (pre-/post-meeting reactions), ROE’s value remains high over time. The greater the response between anticipated results and actual experiences, the more successful an event.
While there are some places where these three techniques overlap, each has distinct advantages. In our data-driven culture, being able to measure attendee engagement and attitudes, as well as the financial value of an event, is a powerful opportunity.
Last modified: May 31, 2018