Back to the Basics of Event Marketing ROI: What Do Event Marketers Need to Know?

Back to the Basics of Event Marketing ROI: What Do Event Marketers Need to Know?

Catherine Meng
Catherine Meng
July 18, 2021

Over the last year corporate events have undergone an incredible amount of change – and it has been truly incredible to see vendors rally around the industry and deliver solutions, platforms, and tools to help event marketers get back on their feet and stay competitive. But even in the best of times, the world of event marketing is anything but static - which is precisely what makes it so exciting.

With so many innovative approaches and new formats, it can be hard to know exactly what is being delivered and how to measure it. Sure, a tool can help you send communications to event attendees. But is it going to track how many of these attendees opened or clicked your email? Or mentioned the event in a tweet? Before your team gets too far downstream without a paddle, it’s a good idea to revisit the basics of event marketing data and ROI.

The basics of event marketing ROI

No two events are created equal, but high-functioning event marketing teams should be able to easily gauge event marketing ROI from one event to the next regardless of format.

Here are the areas event marketers should focus on:

  • Engagement: What does the traffic look like from this event? RSVPs vs. actual attendees? How many conversations (scheduled and otherwise) did your sales team have at the event? Gauge the overall engagement of attendees to understand how well your message and product were received. And in today’s ever-evolving virtual world, track participation in the Zoom meeting.
  • Leads: Now it’s time to put names and numbers to those engagement metrics. Online registration pages are a great opportunity to capture important demographic information. And badge scans, booth sign-ups, and website downloads are all ways to capture tangible leads during an in-person event. For virtual events consider sending attendees a follow-up survey or tracking social engagement and use of designated hashtags.
  • Opportunities: So you’ve had a great conversation and gotten the contact details for a new lead – great! Now it’s time to work this lead to an opportunity. Your sales team should be able to seamlessly track touches through a CRM or lead management solution until the lead reaches an opportunity state – with the original lead source of the event in there for everyone to see.
  • Brand awareness: Events should first and foremost be a way to drive new business for your organization, but they are also an incredible way to get your name out there. You will definitely want to track mentions and/or tags across social media, event press, and industry news to measure your brand awareness both before and after your event.
  • Budget: One of the golden rules of event marketing is to stick to your budget, no matter what happens. Everything from personnel travel to contractor invoices to collateral printing to expense reports should be included in your total budget.

How to track ROI from these numbers

Once you have the fundamental metrics of an event, it’s time to actually glean the ROI. Looking at the cost of the event – your budget – compared to the outcomes of the event – engagement, leads, opportunities, and brand awareness – will give you your ROI.

Let’s say your team hosts a product-focused webinar to promote a new feature. There were incredible questions from the attendees, multiple new leads attended, and a few even turned into viable opportunities. Plus, since your team hosted the webinar over your in-house platform, the startup costs were minimal. This kind of event would have a much higher ROI than a large-scale conference with plenty of passing conversations but no real meat.

Looking forward

Capturing this information is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to event marketing opportunities. With an accurate  cache of event marketing ROI details at your fingertips, marketers can confidently make strategic decisions on how to effectively drive sales.

If your team is looking to make proactive, informed event marketing decisions, finding the right event marketing platform for your organization with the right features is key. You’re already managing dozens of corporate events each year, and hunting information down across channels is tedious and slow. Establish your single source of truth with Circa and make event marketing ROI tracking a breeze.  

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