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:
- 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
- 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:
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:
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:
- Events are not one-time occurrences but a continuous growth mechanism
- 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:
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.
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:
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
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.