How Can Event Marketers Get Started with Tracking Event ROI?
July 18, 2021
Let’s cut to the chase – marketing events look very different in 2021 than they have in previous years. Event marketers have been given the huge task of pivoting entire strategic initiatives to make them more accessible and safer for attendees, whether in-person or virtual. Throughout the entire whirlwind of the last year, however, the strategic outcomes driven by marketing events became that much more important.
Everything from brand awareness to mentions to influence has become critical for brands looking to expand their footprint and connect with current, new, and prospective customers. In previous years, the average marketing team may have allocated a significant portion of their entire marketing budget just to in-person events.
Whether or not your team has scaled this back (or increased to accommodate more virtual events), tracking ROI for marketing events is critical for long-term, strategic marketing success. To get started with measuring event ROI, you first need to have a solid understanding of the return on your investment (or ROI) for an event for a few reasons:
It can help determine if the event was strategically significant in helping your team reach your overall marketing objectives.
It can give your sales team insight into how they may be performing in demos, conversations, or other customer-facing engagement.
It helps marketing leadership allocate budget for upcoming quarters and years.
It can help event professionals justify the allocated budget and spend to financial planning committees.
It gives executive leadership insight into the overall success of your marketing department.
Tracking event ROI can also help event marketers decide which events to invest in moving forward and which are not delivering the highest level of success to help move the needle in marketing initiatives.
Get started with tracking event ROI
Whether you’re just getting started with measuring event ROI or if you’re looking for new ways to determine the profitability and scalability of your team’s events, here is a quick list that can help you take the right first steps to actually tracking the data:
Set your event goals.
What are you looking to accomplish at this event? Is your sales team looking to meet with new leads at a booth? Are you looking to drive online content downloads after a webinar? Are you looking to increase website traffic after a virtual conference?
Having the right goals and documenting them in a collaborative space is crucial to being able to track ROI down the line. One tip – be specific and include them in the event brief! Instead of saying ‘we want to bring in new leads at this conference’, your goal should be ‘we want to capture 50 new qualified leads at the conference’. The more specific and measurable your goals are the easier it will be to associate numbers to them after your event takes place.
Establish unique data points for each goal.
Once your goals are set, now it’s time to establish unique data points for each goal. Let’s look at the three questions mentioned above and what some corresponding data points would look like:
Meeting new leads at a virtual booth or tradeshow: Depending on the size of the conference you are attending, your team could look to connect with 20 new contacts on LinkedIn or set up anywhere from 10 to 100 meetings at your tradeshow booth. Data points here could be set meetings, conversations, new leads, etc.
Driving online content downloads: Building a new landing page for your specific piece of content or setting up a unique URL with a tracking code can allow your team to associate content downloads back to the event from which the content was being promoted. Integrated tools like Marketo or Salesforce can also help to drive online downloads.
Increasing website conversions: Monitor website traffic before, during, and after your event to capture any spikes in traffic, content downloads, or demo requests. But most importantly, understand what tactics help to convert leads from visitors to active sales opportunities. After all, knowing what impacts the bottom line is the most important metric of all.
Make sure you can track each of these data points with a robust tool
When your goals are set, the data points are in place, and the event is on the horizon, it’s time for technology to enter the picture. Setting ROI goals is one thing but being able to track and measure the results in another entirely. Your team should already have a CRM in place to capture all conversations, calls and meetings with prospects. Use the industry-leading tools like Zoom and Marketo and connect them to Circa event marketing cloud which will sync all your CRM notes into your event notes as well as track other event-specific metrics like attendees, engagement, and spending.
Ready to get started?
If tracking and measuring event ROI seems daunting to you – don’t worry about diving right in! As your team becomes more comfortable thinking about and tracking event ROI, actually taking the steps to measure ROI will become even easier.
The hardest part of tracking event ROI? Data capture.
Don't let poor data capture sabotage your ability to track event ROI. Take these simple steps to ensure you have the data you need to measure ROI *after* the event. There's a simple formula anyone can follow.