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Anyone who has worked in marketing understands the importance of marketing metrics; those all-important key performance indicators (KPIs) that reveal just how successful your marketing efforts were. Odds are, if you’re a marketing professional in today’s technological world, you are well-versed in analytics (for a quick refresher or crash course, check out our blog on Google Analytics).

Yet, when it comes to event marketing, defining KPIs can be tricky. Depending on the marketing tools and mediums used to promote your event, there are a number of metrics you should track before, during, and after an event.

measure success event

Define What Type of Event You Are Hosting

Is it a B2B conference? A black tie gala? A trade show? A company or holiday party? Once you have an event type or theme established, you will then be able to identify and set goals and success metrics, as KPIs for a trade show will be very different than for a holiday party.

Define Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Once you have a goal for your event, you can then define specific KPIs. There is far more to event success than just filling seats or selling tickets. It’s also about creating brand loyalty, creating profit, and encouraging social media dialogues. Each of these end goals all require a different set of KPIs for measuring their success. Below are a few examples of possible KPIs to consider regardless of your event type, both tangible and intangible.

Operational Excellence

Plan, plan, plan, and make the most efficient use of your time. Running your event on time and according to schedule means that you may not have to pay for costly hours spent scrambling last minute or with emergency tasks and management. An extra hour past your allotted time could mean dollars out of your pocket.

Brand Awareness

Increasing the awareness and recognition of your brand could not only lead to increased attendance to your event, but also to opportunities for leads for new business and partnership opportunities. Additionally, social shares, mentions, and general word-of-mouth create intangible benefits, but are often the hardest to determine value in actual dollars. For any type of earned media mentions that drive additional traffic to your company or event website, you can calculate what the equivalent cost for display ads would be to get that same traffic (here’s a recent cost per mention (CPM) estimator you can use) to get an idea of your intangible dollars earned.

Overall Participant Satisfaction

Sending participants a post-event survey is one of the easiest ways to evaluate the success of your event and to gather primary information and data that can help improve your next one. For the best results, aim to send your post-event survey immediately after the end of the event (within 24 hours).  For a basic rundown of survey tips and best practices, check out our blog on Why Customer Satisfaction Surveys are Critical.

Include questions to gauge possible promotion-esque responses along the lines of, “How likely are you to recommend this event?” A tangible value can be drawn from each “Likely” or “Unlikely” answer by dividing the total number of satisfied responses by the total cost of the event to get a cost-per-happy-attendee figure.

Creation of New Opportunities and Leads

Whether these attendees are early-stage or late-stage prospects, there is a chance that an awesome and successful event can expedite their progress through the sales funnel. As far as putting a tangible measure to your event leads, ask yourself these questions – How much does it cost to generate one lead?  What percentage of leads convert into a proposal or contract?  How much is an average contract worth?

Strengthening of Existing Relationships

If there is an audience that you should invite and take care of during the event, it’s your existing business relationships (i.e. customers, partners, sponsors, influencers). Strengthening these bonds will further solidify long-term, revenue opportunities that will have a higher lifetime value. Calculating how much these relationships are worth can be done by looking at how long you expect them to do business with you and what the contract value of that period of time will be.

Potential Revenue Earned

Last but not least, don’t forget to properly count all of the hard dollar revenue you have earned. Every sponsorship dollar, attendee ticket fee, and new contracts signed after the event should be tallied up.

Selling a lot of tickets is certainly a good measuring stick for evaluating the success of your event, though it’s just one of many barometers to use. It is important that you have some way of gauging event success in order to make the next one even better.

Bruce Nilsson

Bruce has more than 25 years of strategic marketing and copywriting experience. More importantly, he brings extensive marketing experience specifically related to government entities including The Arizona Lottery, Phoenix CVB, Tempe Tourism Office and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). In addition to the Phoenix CVB, Bruce has worked on behalf of DoubleTree Hotels, Wyndham Hotels, Best Western Hotels, SilverRock Resort (La Quinta, CA), Orange Tree Golf Resort and Wigwam Resort. He also previously spearheaded the successful Russian Heritage Highway Foundation launch initiative. Other notable account experience includes CVS/Caremark (Fortune 100), Circle K, Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Coyotes, Norwest Bank, Mesa Community College and Goodwill of Central Arizona. His work has been continually recognized for creative excellence, including the prestigious OBIE award for outdoor advertising. In his spare time, Bruce enjoys golfing and going on ski trips with his son.