The ROI of Events: What You Should be Measuring

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Posted: January 8, 2013 | Marketing Metrics

Too many marketers think of event ROI measurement as a pass/fail exercise, i.e., was the event good or not, or did it achieve more than X? Think about questions you want to answer that go beyond pass/fail.

In event ROI measurement, there are many intricacies to take into consideration, such as:

  • Is the agenda right?
  • Is this the most fitting speaker?
  • Is the topic compelling?
  • Is this the best time of day to hold the event?
  • What partners should we work with?

By looking at all of the aspects of your event you can arrive at a more detailed measurement, and get better at events as time goes on. Maybe an event didn’t meet your overall threshold for success. But by answering these questions you can iterate and try again. Always remember, you must measure things not just because they are measurable, but because they will guide you toward the decisions needed to help improve company profitability. With this understanding, you can evolve your mix of tactics each time you put on or sponsor an event.

When it comes to measuring event marketing ROI, every company is unique in their level of sophistication and what they want to track. But where do you start?

Good: Basic Progression Measurement

By measuring the progression statuses of your attendees, you can determine metrics such as invited, registered, attended, and no show. Make sure you are measuring these basic metrics, if nothing else. Take a look at the chart below showing metrics for one of Marketo’s events. You can see that we invited 1,815 people, 50 attended, and 62 were no shows.

And here is a progression checklist to to show you all of the behaviors you can potentially measure if you are focusing primarily on progressions:

Better: Leads by Category

In addition to your basic progression statuses, you should be measuring leads by where they are in your revenue cycle and lead category. In other words, how attractive are these attendees to you? In the chart below you can see that there were 1,433 total attendees to one of Marketo’s recent Rockstar tours. Of those, 699 were the people we considered in-profile prospects worthy of pipeline development (and of those, 151 were considered the best “super-targets”), 32 were current leads or sales leads, 130 were current opportunities, and 408 were current customers. The ROI of the event will be different for each of these categories: pipeline creation, deal acceleration, and up-sell/retention.

Best: Pipeline Measurements

Of the people who attended your show, you ideally want to determine how many opportunities were created, how much pipeline, how many were closed/won and for how much bookings, and cost per opportunity (CPO). The event should only get credit for pipeline if the opportunities were created after the event attendance dates. Bookings should only count if the deal was won after the attendance date. And the ultimate event marketing success measurement is pipeline-to-spend – how much pipeline can be allocated to the event divided, by what we  invested in the event.

Want to learn more about how to leverage events in your marketing mix? Sign up for our Definitive Guide to Event Marketing webinar series, and learn how to kill it in online and offline events. The first webinar starts tomorrow at 10am PST. Sign up here !

Dayna Rothman is the Director of Content Marketing at Everstring and previously led content for Marketo. She is the Author of Lead Generation for Dummies. Dayna has extensive experience in content marketing, social media, marketing automation, and inbound marketing. She has an MBA from Golden Gate University and lives in Oakland, CA.

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The ROI of Events: What You Should be Measuring

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