Events are one of the most effective networking tools for many brands and companies to drive sales leads for their businesses. However, it is not entirely easy to qualify those collected leads primarily because not all events may result into sales.
So, how can companies effectively measure the return of investment for events and justify the budget allocated for such initiative?
The budget allocated by B2B marketers for an in-person trade show in 2015 would only comprise of 14%, according to Statista. This is probably the reason why event marketers are working hard to find other ways to effectively measure events’ ROI.
Let’s explore some of the ways event marketers can use data to measure the value of event against other marketing campaigns.
1. Measure the event buzz through social listening tools
Setting up social media listening tools and dashboards to track the audience reactions is one of the best ways to measure an event’s success.
There are various social media tools like Hootsuite, Buffer or Mention that are pretty handy for such purpose as you can set up events hashtag or phrases to easily track mentions is useful to get the real time responses from the target audience. Another excellent tool that can be used to track mentions and reactions is Google Alerts. The tool which is pretty classic and must be a default in every marketer’s arsenal helps track all the mentions from all around the web can be handy to get a better insights and percentages of market response and reactions. As mentioned earlier, Mention would make an ideal tool for pulling all mentions of the event’s hashtag across all blogs, forums and social media platforms.
With the help of these social media insights and listening tools, event marketers can now easily track how their audience reactions in real-time and gather important insights on how to improve future events.
2. Utilize targeted messaging
With the help of targeted messaging, event marketers can easily track and identify specific parts of the event that resonated with the audience the most. With such information ,one can effectively measure and identify what prompted them to attend the event in the first place. Such targeted messaging allow organizers to have the advantage of knowing what works and what else to incorporate in future events. To do this, most event organizers use their conference app, or email marketing to remind attendees of the upcoming speakers and special offers to keep them engaged as well as keep the buzz going pre- and post-event. Such platforms do not only help facilitate the conversation but also provide after-event data that will be useful to understand what works during and after the event.
3. Make use of in-event surveys
One of the most common and perhaps class way to gauge the event’s ROI is through surveys. Surveys are especially done during or right after an event which give event marketers data as to how the event participants react to the speakers as well as the whole event’s content. With the help of surveys, one can uncover potential leads as well as gauge the engagement of the participants and how likely would they become repeat attendees. In most cases, those who tend to give feedback and engage with the brand and the organizers are those who are likely to purchase additional products or services provided that the engagement as well as brand affinity are present. To do this, event marketers and organizers could utilize an in-house mobile app, email or third-party survey apps such as Survey Monkey.
4. Enable gamification
Most people who attend events do not only to listen to the speakers to learn about the latest but most of them want to be entertained. As any event marketer would know, successful events are those that are informative, engaging and entertaining. The more engaged and informed the audience is, the more likely are they going to trust the brand as well as complete other touch points involved in the sales process whether it be online or offline. Thus, gamification plays an integral role in getting the audience more hooked. Activities and promotions incorporated in the event such as raffles, fun quizzes along with games are very important in keeping the audience interest and to keep them entertained whole throughout. With the vast information and insightful data collected from those activities, event organizers and marketers can effectively measure whether the offerings resonated with the audience or not.
5. Gather data from mobile app insights
Having dedicated mobile app for an event is another way of measuring its ROI. Dedicated apps often have personalized features and content exclusive for the event which in turn could help facilitate the buzz about the event whether it be pre or post-event. One the benefits of having such mobile app is that can produce data-driven insights on attendee’s activities during or after the actual event. Aside from the total number of downloads, apps can also give event marketers full breakdown on the attendees demographics.
Such metrics like numbers of attendees who use the messaging function or networking capabilities can drive a better understanding of the audience and their needs. Such data are also useful in pre-and post-event planning and retargeting.
Events present a unique channel and opportunity for companies and brands to engage with the target audience. Just like with any other marketing channels, it is crucial to be able to keep track and measure the effectivity of such initiative. Therefore, there are new ways to be able to keep track and put numbers to every campaign. After all, you can only improve what you can measure.
When marketing events, it is important to keep in mind to strive for personal connection with clients and prospects in order to improve the results. As mentioned above, there are several effective ways to better understand and derive data-driven insights from the actual event experience.
While every attendee has their own unique purpose and behavior during and after the event, having an understanding and identifying the most engaged audience in an event can aid every event marketer and organizer on how they can plan and better engage with the audience for all future events. With the right arsenal of tools, event marketers and organizers can turn such goldmine of data and insights and translate them into actionable campaigns that the audience could resonate and engage with, and by extension, profits.