Demonstrating Impact: Everything You Need to Prove ROE

Sumyukthaa S
• September 30, 2022

(4 min read)

Even if you do everything right when executing your events by prioritizing audience, messaging, and experience, it will only make a difference once you learn how to measure impact. Using Event-led Growth, metrics you never previously considered become clear, helping you prove to stakeholders once and for all that events are a growth channel.

Table of Content

Measuring something like ads or SEO is natural—there are clicks, pipeline, and open rates—it’s not always so easy with events. But the move to virtual gatherings has created a digital footprint flush with qualitative and quantitative insights that most marketers are yet to capitalize on.

It’s time to look at measuring event impact in a whole new way. Here’s everything you need to prove ROI and impact on your stakeholders.

What you’re measuring, what you’re not

It’s a common notion that events are a lead-generating mechanism. Many who take a macro view of event data only measure with that one goal in mind. To prove that objective, they might look at: 

  • Registrations
  • Attendees
  • Leads and demos
  • Pipeline and revenue
  • Poll responses

But when you consider events through such a singular lens, you miss out on so many opportunities to prove impact elsewhere. Events aren’t just about MQLs and conversion, they can help you grow your top-line brand awareness, brand acquisition efforts, and direct traffic.

In order to measure toward these goals, you might look at areas like: 

  • Customer loyalty
  • Customer retention
  • Referrals
  • Engagement touchpoints 
  • Event quality

 

Of course, not all of these areas have an easy-to-use yardstick. Concepts like “quality” are notoriously difficult to measure, but all this requires is a little out-of-the-box thinking:

Pre-event quality might be determined by things like turnout rate and live attendance

Mid-event quality might be determined by things like session sit-through rate, participation in polls, number of booth visits

Post-event quality might be determined by things like NPS, social media mentions, feedback, and repeat attendees

Start considering this data holistically and you’ll start to understand how many touchpoints events truly have, and what an ecosystem of growth they can be. Once you start measuring what previously seemed unmeasurable, you’ll have plenty of data to support your future budget asks.

How to extend scope and budget for events

Having more spend means being able to provide better experiences for your audience, but C-suite executives require deep dives, charts, numbers, and a lot of green on your dashboard before they’re willing to increase your budget and extend the scope. That means you need to get tactical with your approach.

Demonstrating the following numbers is a great way to prove ROE to your stakeholders. To collect data that can prove merit, ask yourself these questions: 

What kind of accounts are you bringing to events—even if they’re not converting right away, building relationships is an important step

Did you see an increase in organic brand searches post-event?

What level of speakers and partners are you attracting? Showcase how you’ve entered a new tier of authority and credibility

Have your events resulted in customer testimonials that create online brand reputation?

How is your customer retention? Determine the dollar value of engaged accounts—if 10 customers worth $10k each of business return to your events, you’ve engaged $100k worth of attention

Have you noticed any account expansions? Draw a parallel between the number of events attended and the number of expanded accounts

Once you can demonstrate these numbers, you’ll be better equipped to tie your events directly to the success of the overall business.

Use a metric matrix to most effectively measure your events

Using Event-led Growth (ELG) as a framework helps you see two new truths about events:

  1. Events are not one-time occurrences but a continuous growth mechanism
  2. Events have a multivariate structure for multiple use cases

Achieving goals comes down to setting the right expectations. You set yourself up to best measure your event success by selecting the right metrics. Run your event plans through this matrix to determine which metrics are the best fit for you—understand that you can’t use the same metrics for different event types:

What type of virtual event is it?
What is the desired outcome?
What’s the funnel stage?
What’s your audience definition?

For example, if you have a cold audience, you shouldn’t seek to measure the networking connections made or pipeline achieved. This type of event is about creating brand awareness and engaging a large audience enough to create repeat audience members. 

A table which clearly shows what metrics to track for each stage in Event-led Growth

Projecting numbers in advance is another good way to build the case for events. Here are some formulas you can use to create some structure around your projections:

Formula to determine the impact of events on Pipeline velocity
Calculating the impact on pipeline velocity
Formula to calculate the potential ROI of an event
It takes months for some attendees to turn to customers, here's the quickest way to show potential ROI
Formula to calculate growth percentage
What's the growth percentage and the impact on soft metrics?

Remember, you need different metrics for business-optimized vs. experience-optimized events. Depending on who needs the analysis, you can shift the reporting from a micro view all the way to 30,000 feet. The way you tell the story of the data to different stakeholders matters.

 The more data you’re able to collect, the better you can speak everyone’s language and demonstrate how events fit into their frameworks for success as well.

ELG is your strategic weapon for ROE

ELG as a framework helps you think wider and deeper about how to integrate marketing efforts and campaigns together to create not just one-off instances, but continuous growth. That’s a big promise, so it has to be backed by data and methodology in order to build a case for future investment. 

If pipeline is the only goal anyone is paying attention to, events will never be recognized as the growth drivers they truly are. 

Proving that events can be a center of gravity means clearly tying their impact to business outcomes. Under the ELG framework, you should be tracking data not just around or a few months after the day of your event, but all year long. 

There’s so much to learn from looking at events dashboards month to month—what activity are you seeing? Are attendees watching your content? Are you getting more follows or downloads? You want to be looking at the lifetime of an event campaign in order to truly demonstrate how much value you’ve created.

Events drive growth—now go prove it

Old ways of thought saw events as nice-to-haves rather than the integral growth strategy they really are. Most business goals can be addressed by events—events solve problems and hit targets, and they do so holistically. 

With one good event, you can build brand awareness, create influence, earn immediate short-term revenue, provide unique content you can leverage later, and gain deep audience insights you can use for strategy. 

Using ELG, you too can not just plan the right event for the right audience at the right time but also learn how to measure it so everyone can see the value events bring. With a few numbers, events can be a thread through your entire organization’s growth strategy, and you can be the one to bring that strategy to life.

The only cues you’ll need to set up the best event strategy for your show business!

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