Many event planners agree that the most important result of an event is their return on investment (ROI). ROI can be a notoriously difficult metric to track because events can have a lot of unexpected expenses. With a bit of preparation and foresight, you can easily measure your returns and figure out if you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Before you start digging into your returns or even start planning your budget, you’ll need to set clear objectives for measuring event success. What are you trying to achieve through your event? What is the most popular aspect of your event that you think will bring in the most revenue or attract the most people? Try to choose a main objective and, if needed, set no more than two secondary objectives you’d like to accomplish through your event.
Some common event objectives include:
- Building brand awareness
- Closing sales, signing contracts or generating RFPs
- Achieving an ROI
- Generating qualified sales prospects
- Introducing a new product
- Penetrating a new market
Regardless of what you want to achieve, having a clearly defined goal for your event will make it much easier to measure your success.
Once you’ve defined your event goals, assign specific metrics to each one so you can track your performance in a qualitative way. This step is crucial because picking a goal without any tangible way to measure how well you’ve achieved that goal is essentially pointless. It’ll be unclear how well you performed or which event aspects helped or hindered your success and you’ll have a relatively hard time making adjustments to improve your next event.
Some objectives such as wanting to generate more leads or sign contracts can be easy to measure because they are qualitative in and of themselves- you can literally count how many contracts were signed during and as a result of your event. Still, more theoretical goals such as building brand awareness can be difficult to track without assigning some sort of key performance indicator (KPI). In this example, you need to actually define what it means for a person to be “aware” of your brand so you can have something to measure. Your KPI could be anything from the number of interactions with a booth or display on-site at the venue to getting a set number of new followers on social media directly from your presence at the event.
After figuring out what aspects will be the best indicators for your success, you’ll need to choose the best tools or methods to track them. Having proper measurement tools and the means to capture data is crucial but may not always require any additional work. You may find that you’re already capturing the information you need for one of your KPIs but you simply haven’t been using it or leveraging it in a useful way.
Once you’ve determined your event goal, figured out your KPIs, and have an established way to capture data, you’ll be in a great place to calculate your ROI after your event. The best way to calculate your returns will vary depending on what you’re trying to track.. For example, if your objectives focus on building brand awareness or expanding into a new market, using social media tools such as Hootsuite, Google Alerts, and Mention can help you calculate how much buzz your event has generated before, during, and after your event. You can also use the data gathered by in-event surveys, gamification, and other attendee feedback to calculate your return.
If you’re more focused on actual revenue, the easiest way to calculate your ROI is to take the total revenue generated by your event, subtract your event expenses, and divide the remainder by your event expenses like so:
ROI = Event Revenue – Event Expense
This calculation will give you your ROI expressed as a percent. A negative percent means there was a loss on the investment, a 0 percent means you broke even, and a positive percent represents a profit. While there are many other ways to calculate ROI based on gross margins or the variable cost of goods sold, the basic formula above can give even the smallest of events a basic framework for their event performance.
If building brand awareness, increasing foot traffic, generating new customers, or expanding into a new market is your objective, try one of our charging stations equipped with PeopleCounter! PeopleCounter uses a camera with tracking technology to provide valuable metrics such as age, emotion, gender, and the movement of people around your charging station over time. With this service, we’ll send you a report one week after the event so you can see exactly how valuable your investment was, and you can use this report to tie into any metrics you’re already tracking.