We have tools to measure every dollar spent on digital marketing. But when it comes to assessing the value of live events, most businesses still operate in a pre-digital age.
Companies spend 25% – 30% of their entire marketing budget on meetings and events1 for a total spend of $565 billion/year globally2. Yet historically marketers have been unable to measure the impact of this investment.
For too long, they have had to rely on qualitative data, anecdotal evidence and gut instinct to evaluate the success of their events. With other marketing channels now highly digitized and measurable, the pressure is on to make a clear, data-driven case for the return on investment on this significant event spend.
Here’s how you can leverage the latest advances to gain a data-driven view of event performance and improve business outcomes for attendees and sponsors.
Increased Registration, Engagement
In the lead-up to your event, real-time activity dashboards can show at a glance where you are surpassing your goals and where you are falling short. With real-time insights at your fingertips, you can reallocate resources in real-time as needed to drive registration and meet commitments to sponsors.
The standard event mobile apps that people use during conferences and trade shows are a thing of the past. Apps today must be fully integrated to drive engagement before, during and after the event. As part of the registration process, attendees are now invited to download your app. Delegate directories and schedulers are now included, so they can message each other and schedule meetings through the app before arrival.
During events, apps, wearables, and beacons give attendee engagement a giant boost. Monitoring engagement data on real-time activity dashboards, you can now see how things are shaping up across your event. Instant visualizations display: traffic flow; sponsors who are hitting their targets (or not); lines building up at registration; sessions that are resonating most/least with attendees; offers delivering the highest onsite conversion; most influential delegates; sentiments about exhibits, keynotes, food and more. Armed with real-time insights, you can now address issues swiftly as they arise, rather than learning about problems through post-event surveys, when analytics can only inform future programs.
Customized communications put data to use with innovative sponsorship twists by offering in-app promotions and push notifications to specific attendee subsets. Sponsors can also create customized display ads that change automatically to fit demographics and interests of attendees passing by. This kind of personalization allows a new level of engagement that can have a big impact on event value.
Attendees want technology that surprises and delights. Wearable technology can do just that. Powered by two-way beacons, sleek new smart badges and wristbands enable attendees to exchange content and contact information virtually in less than an instant. Integrated with the right app, this new generation of wearables helps attendees identify their best prospects immediately in a crowd and transform the way they network at events.
With technology providing a giant window to event activity, you can optimize value post-event with quantitative ROI reports for sponsors. Share data, such as statistics on booth traffic and attendee interests along with a detailed list of booth visitors.
Using a data-driven approach, you can measure event success any number of ways based on the key performance indicators you choose. For example, was the event financially viable? Did it enjoy higher attendance than last year and draw the right audience for your sponsors? Were attendees engaged and satisfied? How did leads captured, ticket sales and booth traffic compare to previous years, etc.
For a better understanding of customers and prospects, nothing beats the face-to-face contact of live events. Adding fresh attendee insights to the rest of your marketing stack will yield richer prospect and customer profiles centrally available for sales and marketing follow-up. Your team will deliver more relevant content that keeps you connected and drives business long after your event.
Clearly, it’s a new day in event marketing, with a data-driven approach to driving value and ROI. The profound impact of events now lies not only in the relationships and sense of community they foster, but also in the power of the data they create.
1. Frost & Sullivan
2. Forrester Research