While it was initially all hands on deck as the industry dealt with event cancellations, it’s been interesting to see how event professionals are using this unexpected quiet time. While many are focused on creating virtual events as well as contemplating the future, some are going a step further to use this time to create or refine their measurement programs.
Right now, Event Marketing Partners is helping a client finalize their 2019 actuals for third-party and proprietary events, while others are working to establish consistent event metrics and a common vocabulary across different event types and verticals. Why is this important? Now more than ever, event metrics must be more than a head count of event attendees.
Used correctly, event metrics can measure the return of your investment in pipeline generated, sales influenced/closed, net new contacts or any of the dozens of other demand gen metrics. But what if your primary event goal is thought leadership? Appropriate thought leadership metrics aren’t typically pipeline or sales driven.
Which leads us to the challenge of choosing proper metrics and ensuring that those metrics align with overall business and marketing objectives. While this is where some will throw up their hands and revert back to counting total attendees, don’t dismay; implementing proper event metrics can deliver immediate returns and value.
Consistently capturing event metrics allows you to compare different events to understand which deliver the greatest return. Consistent metrics allow you to use data to compare events that vary in format, size, audience or additional variables in order to establish the proper event portfolio to meet your objectives.
At EMP, we’ve identified five key steps to creating an effective event metrics program:
- ALIGN OBJECTIVES: Gather your business, marketing and event marketing objectives in a single document. Thoughtfully review your event marketing objectives to ensure that they’re aligned with the overall organization’s goals. If they’re not aligned, then correct that issue before moving to the next step.
- QUALIFY EVENTS FOR CONSIDERATION: Establish event qualification criteria to validate that each event under consideration for your event portfolio meets qualifications for target audience and activation in order to move to the next round of consideration.
- ESTABLISH THE RIGHT METRICS FOR YOUR PROGRAM: With your event marketing objectives handy, brainstorm the types of metrics that best illustrate event value (or would point to lack of value). For events where sales or demand gen are the primary objective, your metrics will be sales related. For events where thought leadership is the primary objective, these metrics will typically be about impressions generated or perceptions changed. Select the metrics that will give you the greatest insight for future decision making but be judicious in the metrics that make it into your measurement program. Don’t capture data if it won’t be used; it’s a waste of time and can cloud the bigger picture. Where possible, event metrics should mirror sales or brand metrics already in use at your organization. This will make capture, comparison and sharing much easier for everyone who has a stake in this process from the events team to sales, field marketing and senior leadership.
- CAPTURE DATA: Once you’ve finalized what you will measure, create a dashboard or spreadsheet where data will be aggregated. Make sure a single person is responsible for all of an event’s data capture and that they understand, beforehand, what needs to be measured and how the data will be captured.
- ANALYZE DATA AND APPLY FINDINGS TO YOUR DECISION MAKING: Review event data regularly and, over time, use it to establish appropriate benchmarks by which you can make relative decisions about event participation, activation and proper investment size. Meaningful event measurement is a year-round initiative, not a one-time planning task.
While creating an effective event measurement program can deliver tremendous value and put event marketing on a level plane of comparison against other marketing tactics, it is often most effectively implemented – or revamped – with the help of a trusted partner like EMP. We can help your team approach the initiative with a proven process, fresh perspective and decades of experience managing high value event portfolios. If you’d like to brainstorm with us on how your event metrics can be more effective, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d also love to hear your tips for effective event measurement and how you use metrics to validate your company’s investment in event marketing. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below