I was reading a blog post the other day, and it posed these important event questions:
- Can you prove your event’s impact on the organisation’s goals?
- If you were to increase your spend in one area, what would it be and how would that increase your impact?
- Or worse, are you being turned down on getting additional spend because it just doesn’t seem like a major priority or initiative?
And I felt that I would like to help answer them based on what I have seen in the event industry so far.
Question 1: Can you prove your event’s impact on the organisation’s goals?
Normally, with any kind of activity, there needs to be one clear main goal. So, when carrying out an event, what is your main goal: Is it awareness? Is it lead generation? Is it networking? Or is it pure entertainment!
Once your main goal is identified, then you can put a measure on that goal, a set of KPIs, so that you can track and measure it.
Using lead generation as an example, let’s say your goals is to gather 100 leads at your event to make sure it is worth the allocated budget. That’s a good start, but is it enough?
The Yumiwi team was once at an event in which persons where running up to them, reading their tags, thanking them, and running off. At first the team was bewildered, but then they realised that these persons were company reps, trying to fill their lead quota by running up to random strangers and practically stealing their contact details.
That will get you all the “leads” you want, but these will not be credible or qualified leads.
So, is technology here failing us, or are we simply setting the wrong KPIs?
Let’s adjust that and say we want 100 qualified leads per event, how does that change things?
Well, first of all, each lead will need to be qualified, which would only happen with direct opt-in from the lead, reducing the number of fake lead captures, and it would increase the value of the data you have captured.
Now of course, when qualifying leads, we still have to capture leads that might not qualify, so our lead KPIs should read something like:
- 500 leads, of which
- 100 leads that pass qualification.
Of course, if you have multiple products or services, the lead KPIs can be further segmented, but let’s keep things simple for this example.
Question 2: If you were to increase your spend in one area, what would it be and how would that increase your impact?
So, now since we have a clear goal, which is gathering these leads, we should have a clearer view of where we would spend the extra money: to increase the number of leads we can capture, and more importantly the 100 qualified ones.
Operationally how would that happen: Would we build a bigger booth? Would we have more reps on the stand capturing leads? Would we invest in giving a keynote speech so that we can direct a lot of pre-qualified traffic to our booth?
Of course the answer depends on the event environment, your company’s capabilities, and the audience. But you get the point.
Now the tricky part is: How would you measure the impact of the extra spend on your final lead count?
And here, I would say, the best thing to do is to include it as a question in your lead qualification survey. I.e. ask the lead when you are qualifying them what drove them to come to your booth. And in doing so, you not only measure the impact of your extra spend, but you also gather statistics on other key areas so you can set your strategy correctly for the next event you take part in.
Question 3: Or worse, are you being turned down on getting additional spend because it just doesn’t seem like a major priority or initiative?
Now this is a chicken and egg story: If you are not doing any events because your company has no budget for it, then you need to check your priorities.
Of course, during the first few events, there is a risk, because one has no clear guarantee of the results, but you can set realistic expectations.
But once you begin doing events, the solution is: gather data during your events!
Having done so, you will be able to accomplish two things:
- Prove you are hitting your KPIs, and having the expected ROI.
- Realise you are not hitting your KPIs, but you have data to realise the problem and fix it.
And if you use a good event management platform, then you can track your KPIs in live time and adjust your tactics based on real time feedback; rather than waiting till after the event to upload data, analyse, and realise you were off the whole time.
Good platforms provide web based dashboards, so even an off-site event support team can track and advise you remotely, since you will be busy dealing with lots of live event issues.
I have seen a lot of companies who began using our platform to managing their events, and upon seeing the ROI, they have increased their event spending!
One company increased the number of events 3X: they went from 40 events per year to 130! Why? Because the system works: their events are having a healthy ROI and everyone wants more of a good thing!
I have also seen companies realise that they were missing their KPIs, and were able to adjust in time, and ended up reaching their goals. All with the help of a good tool.
So my answer to all these questions: set the right organisational goal for the event, be sure to invest in the right tools to measure your impact, and prove to all stakeholders you know what you are doing.
If you would like some practical advice on how to implement our suggestions in your events, feel free to contact our specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org . Our teams are always on standby to answer your questions for free regardless of which platform you use.