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Measuring and Mastering Event ROI: The 2023 Guide

Sales and marketing teams don’t just attend events for the fun of it. They’re there with a mission: to win […]
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Sales and marketing teams don’t just attend events for the fun of it.

They’re there with a mission: to win new business, build their company’s brand presence, and network with potential clients.

Event marketing can quickly become a significant expense, depending on the scale of the event and the level of your involvement.

So, how do you ensure this investment is worthwhile? The answer lies in predicting, proving, and improving your Event ROI (Return on Investment) to both yourself and your superiors.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the importance of measuring event ROI, walk you through the stages of doing so, and provide practical tips to enhance your event ROI for future events.

Understanding Event ROI: What Is It and Why Is It Important for Your Event Marketing Strategy?

83% of brands say that event marketing has consistently increased their sales.

How is it they know this? They’re measuring it. But attribution alone isn’t enough to prove a marketing activity’s success.

Is it costing more to secure those sales than the sales bring in? Is it more cost-effective and successful than other marketing activities and therefore worth more investment going forward?

There’s only one way to find out—track and measure your Event ROI.

Keep reading for an Event ROI definition and to be introduced to a simple measurement model.

Event ROI Definition

ROI stands for return on investment while event marketing is a promotional strategy that involves face-to-face contact between brands and their consumers at events like conferences, trade shows, and product launches.

So, when we talk about Event ROI, we’re talking about the return on investment specifically from event marketing.

It’s a measure of the financial benefits these events bring to your business, compared to the cost of hosting or attending them.

Why Measure Event ROI?

Event ROI provides concrete data to prove the value of events to executives and leadership, helping secure buy-in for future events.

It’s one thing to say an event felt successful, but it’s another to show the numbers that prove it.

Of course, it also helps you know if event marketing is a worthwhile activity for the sales and marketing teams to take part in.

And it helps you identify which events are worthwhile and which might not be delivering the expected returns. This insight is invaluable in refining your event strategy and making informed decisions about where to invest your time and resources.

Knowing all of this can then help you pivot and improve your strategy for the best results.

How to Calculate Event ROI: A Simple Model

Calculating Event ROI might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

You can calculate your Event ROI by taking the net profit the event brought, subtracting the cost of the event, and then dividing that total by the cost of the event.

Let’s say your company hosts a trade show. Here are the costs and returns:

Cost of venue: $10,000

Cost of marketing materials: $2,000

Cost of staff time (planning, attending, follow-up): $3,000

Travel and accommodation: $5,000

So, your total cost (investment) is $20,000.

Now, let’s look at the returns:

Direct sales at the event: $30,000

New contracts signed within a month following the event: $20,000

Future sales from leads generated at the event: $10,000 (estimated)

So, your total return is $60,000.

To calculate the Event ROI, you subtract the total cost from the total return, then divide by the total cost:

ROI = (Total Return – Total Cost) / Total Cost

ROI = ($60,000 – $20,000) / $20,000

ROI = 2.0 or 200%

This means that for every dollar you invested in the event, you gained two dollars in return. This is a simplified example, and actual calculations may involve more factors, but it gives you a basic understanding of how to calculate Event ROI.

Remember, when calculating the net cost, it’s essential to consider not just the direct expenses like venue hire or marketing materials, but also the time and resources your team invested in the event.

Other considerations might include comparing the time to close deals made at events versus other activities. This can provide additional insights into the efficiency of your event marketing strategy.

Setting the Stage: Choosing What to Measure

When it comes to measuring ROI, it’s not just about crunching numbers. It’s about understanding what those numbers represent and how they contribute to your overall business goals and your team’s key performance indicators.

This involves deciding what to measure and capturing the event data needed to measure it.

Hard Metrics vs Soft Metrics: Which Should You Measure?

Hard metrics are quantifiable measurements. They’re the concrete numbers that you can directly measure and track.

Examples of hard metrics in event marketing include the number of attendees, the number of leads generated, direct sales from the event, and the cost of the event.

On the other hand, soft metrics are more qualitative. They’re not as easily measured, but they provide valuable insights into aspects like brand awareness, customer satisfaction, and the quality of the relationships built at the event.

Examples of soft metrics include attendee satisfaction, the quality of interactions, and the level of engagement during the event.

Both hard and soft metrics play a crucial role in understanding your Event Marketing ROI. Hard metrics give you a clear, quantifiable measure of your returns, while soft metrics provide deeper insights into the less tangible, but equally important, benefits of your event marketing.

For example, Visme reports that 74% of attendees say they have a more positive opinion about a company after attending their marketing event. That’s a soft metric that a company will want to know.

What you measure is ultimately up to what your business cares about and their goals but we advise measuring both hard and soft.

The Importance of Data Capture in Measuring Event ROI

You can’t measure Event ROI without collecting event data. And you can’t improve it without understanding what the data is telling you. This is where data capture comes into play.

Data capture involves collecting and recording information from your event. This could be anything from the number of attendees and leads generated to feedback from attendees and observations about engagement and interaction.

Effective data capture allows you to measure both hard and soft metrics, providing a comprehensive view of your ROI. It also enables you to identify areas for improvement and track changes over time, helping you continuously refine and enhance your event marketing strategy.

Gathering Data: The Essential Step to Track Your Event ROI Progress

Collecting data is the cornerstone of measuring your Event ROI. It’s about more than just counting attendees or tallying up sales. It’s about capturing a comprehensive picture of your event’s impact, from the tangible returns to the intangible benefits. Here’s how you can do it.

Collecting Hard Metrics

Hard metrics are your bread and butter when it comes to calculating Event ROI. Remember our simple model: ROI = (Total Return – Total Cost) / Total Cost. To use this model, you need to collect data on both your returns and your costs.

Returns can include direct sales at the event, new contracts signed, and future sales from leads generated at the event. Costs can include the venue, marketing materials, staff time, and travel and accommodation.

You can track this information in a spreadsheet and through sales systems like Hubspot or Salesforce.

Collecting Soft Metrics

Soft metrics, while not directly included in the ROI calculation, provide valuable insights into the quality and effectiveness of your event. They’re an important indicator of event success.

These can include attendee satisfaction, the quality of interactions, and the level of engagement during the event.

To collect these metrics, consider using post-event surveys to gather feedback from attendees. Ask about their overall experience, what they found most valuable, and what could be improved. This can provide valuable insights to enhance future events and improve your ROI.

The Role of Technology in Data Collection

Technology plays a crucial role in data collection for measuring Event ROI. Tools like online surveys, CRM systems, and event registration platforms can automate and streamline the data collection process, ensuring you capture all the necessary information.

For example, online surveys can be used to collect feedback and measure attendee satisfaction. CRM systems can track leads and sales generated from the event. Event registration platforms can provide data on the number of attendees and their engagement during the event.

Analyzing Event ROI: From Data to Insight

Once you’ve gathered your data, the next step is to analyze it. This is where you transform raw numbers into actionable insights, helping you understand the effectiveness of your event and how to improve future ones.

What is a Good Event ROI?

So, what constitutes a “good” ROI? The answer can vary depending on your specific business goals and the nature of the event. However, a positive ROI, where your returns exceed your costs, is generally a good starting point.

But don’t stop there. Look at the trend over time. Is your ROI improving? If you’re seeing a positive trend, that’s a good sign that your event strategy is working. If not, it might be time to dig deeper into your data and identify areas for improvement.

Remember, a good ROI isn’t just about the numbers. It’s also about the qualitative benefits, like increased brand awareness and stronger relationships with customers. These can contribute to long-term growth and profitability, even if they don’t immediately translate into sales.

Event ROI and Future Events: Learning from Past Data

Analyzing your ROI isn’t just about assessing past performance. It’s also about using that data to improve future events.

For example, if your data shows that certain types of events generate a higher ROI, you might choose to focus more on those in the future. Or if feedback from attendees suggests that certain aspects of your event could be improved, you can use that information to enhance the attendee experience and potentially boost your ROI.

If your virtual event roi is proving better than in-person events, then that’s data you can use to focus on hosting virtual events that drive more event revenue. Especially since those come with a lower event cost.

Tracking new versus returning attendees and attendance rates can also provide valuable insights. A high rate of returning attendees suggests that your events are providing value, while a high rate of new attendees could indicate successful marketing efforts.

Practical Tips to Improve Your Event ROI

Here are some actionable strategies to increase your event ROI:

Effective Event Marketing: A well-planned and executed event marketing strategy can significantly improve your event ROI. This includes pre-event promotions, engaging content during the event, and post-event follow-ups.

Targeted Audience: Ensure that your event is reaching the right audience. The more aligned the audience is with your product or service, the higher the chances of conversions and thus, higher ROI.

Engaging Content: The content of your event should be engaging and valuable to your audience. This will increase attendee satisfaction and the likelihood of them turning into customers.

Measure and Analyze: Use analytics to measure the success of your event. This data will help you understand what worked and what didn’t, allowing you to make improvements for future events.

Utilizing Doorway for Maximizing Event ROI

Doorway is a digital business card provider that can enhance your event marketing ROI. It serves as a powerful tool for networking, lead generation, and relationship building.

Doorway allows you (marketing and sales) to share contact details seamlessly, making it easier to connect with people you meet at events. This can lead to valuable business relationships and partnerships, which can indirectly boost your event ROI.

Once you’ve made that connection and shared your details, you can follow up with potential leads and clients, nurturing them until they’re ready to buy.

Event marketing is all about relationship building and showing prospects exactly how you can help them achieve their goals—Doorway facilitates exactly that.

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