Events have a huge impact on sales and business, but the industry has long been shrouded in a dataless haze. In the old days of event marketing, once the conference room doors were closed and the floors swept, event marketers were left with a sense of the event’s success still tingling in their bones, but little evidence to prove it.
Well, that’s all changed.
The advent of the Live Engagement Marketing discipline has brought event marketers a wave of data insights that they can instantly access. Engaging, content-rich apps are designed to measure and track every moment of the event’s unfolding and help you see directly the veryreal-impact on company growth. Here are the four essential ways you can measure your event’s impact on the bottom line:
Metric 1: Sales
Events are lead generation and lead nurturing gold mines, and many corporate events tend to be highly sales-focused. The best events can help to really accelerate the sales cycle and if this was the main intention of your event, it’s time to focus on the hard metrics: leads, deals, renewals, and upsells.
A Live Engagement App allows you to measure these elements in a razor-sharp way with dashboards that can help you see the big picture. You can track by lead source; identifying which aspect of your Live Engagement Marketing plan was the most successful, thereby allowing you to plan strategically for next time. You can also measure the revenue per sale, tracking how effective your upsell strategy was. You can also think about analyzing the sales by new versus returning customers—giving you an overview of customer lifetime value and whether the event is effectively converting new leads into new relationships.
Metric 2: Customer and employee retention
Delighting your customers is crucial to keeping them around, and live events are the perfect way to nurture those valuable relationships. As Bain and Company and Harvard Business School proved in a classic study more than 15 years ago, increasing customer retention by even 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.
In order to measure your event’s impact on retention, look back at year-over-year trends. Analyze the recurring attendees and how many renewing or upgrading members you have. You can begin by measuring overall customer retention rates in order to get a general sense of how impactful the event was on subscriptions. But then also track by dollar retention rate; you may find that while your audience numbers are reaching a plateau, if you are making meaningful relationships, your dollars could be significantly climbing.
Metric 3: Education
This is an important goal for all companies, particularly content-focused businesses whose major success is their subject matter expertise. To succeed in this metric, you’ll need to deliver content that is relevant, highly engaging and meets the audience’s needs. You want the attendees to gain tangible knowledge that will help them in their career paths—boosting their goals and allowing them to feel enhanced by the entire experience. To chart this metric, the best route is self-reported data. Make sure to allocate time to conduct surveys and listen to the feedback of your attendees. You can also gauge their opinions via your event app, charting bookmarks and other session ratings.
Metric 4: Brand impact and thought-leadership
The final metric is one that, again, emerges as a common goal across industries: to build the brand’s thought leadership and raise the excitement of attendees. For this metric, you’ll want to measure community and follower growth both during and after the event. Chart your responses from thought leaders and register sentiment analysis, keeping your eyes closely on how excited your attendees are via their comments in forums and polls—what we like to call the “pump up factor”. You can also mix in a blend of qualitative and quantitative survey questions—by honing in on the individual level, you’ll get specific feedback of what worked well and what fell flat.
By starting the entire process by clearly identifying the major goal of the event and moving forward from there, the abundance of data and metrics at your fingertips will now be able to prove to everyone, in no uncertain terms, the event’s impact on your business.
Be sure to allocate enough time to measure these elements soon after the event finishes and then track them over time—so you’re not waiting until the moment just before the end of the sales cycle. This will help you to build up an overall picture of how many leads are going to convert and how impactful the event was. If you’ve met and far exceeded your goals, pat yourself on the back and aim higher next time. If you haven’t met your goals, fear not: you now have an abundance of data about exactly what is performing and what isn’t. You’ll be bringing not just a vibe or a gut instinct back to the drawing board, but a fertile trove of data insights to help tune up your engagement for next time.