Ask the Expert: Lisette Shares Measurement Advice

How do you effectively measure event ROI and ROO?

I hear from so many marketers that this is the one question they dread the most. And of course, even though we get asked about it all the time, it’s one of the most difficult to answer.

But it doesn’t have to be so hard. Below I've shared some of my answers to the event measurement questions we receive most often, from how to effectively measure event ROI to making sure your measurement programs more successful.

Dear Lisette: What are the most important things we should be measuring? I know there’s a tremendous amount of information to be learned at events, so can you help narrow it down?

First off, kudos for recognizing the importance of event measurement. In my experience, too few marketers measure event ROI. And that’s unfortunate because event measurement is a must. We need measurement data to show what’s working and what can be improved with our events. More importantly, measurement is critical for demonstrating the value of our events to our organizations.

The good news is that events can be a goldmine of information. But instead of directing our measurement efforts on what happened, we should focus on why it matters.

To make it easier to focus on the “why” metrics, our team developed EventScore. We feel these are the four key areas every marketer should measure to determine the total impact of an event:

  • Pipeline Opportunity—Events help prospects become interested in your products and customers to expand their product consideration with you. Measure the total potential sales opportunities generated from an event.
  • Brand Perception—Events are brand experiences. Attendees are likely to think differently of you after interacting with your company at an event. Because people buy and spend more with companies they like, it’s key to recognize and measure the impact of an event on attendees’ perception of your brand.
  • Relationship Strength—People attend events for networking. Event marketers know enormous impact comes from human interactions at events. This metric evaluates the event’s impact on building and strengthening audience relationships.
  • Experience Quality— Did the event experience deliver on attendee expectations? Do areas need improving? Measure the visitor experience quality – everything from content, the staff, design and all other elements used to evaluate whether or not you’re delivering a quality experience in line with your brand promise.

Dear Lisette: If we’re just getting started with a measurement program, do we need to allocate a budget? And if so, how much should we allocate?

Yes, you should budget for measurement! There’s a common misconception that measurement doesn’t cost anything since you can use free tools like SurveyMonkey or Excel to collect and tabulate data. But analysis is a critical aspect of measurement and that’s a frequently overlooked budget line item.

A good guideline is to allocate two to three percent of your entire event budget to measurement strategy, execution and analytics. This is a nominal portion of your overall spend, but it is still likely to add up to several thousand dollars. In the big picture, it’s money well spent for the insights and proof you’ll gain when you measure event ROI.

Dear Lisette: My internal team is already talking about survey methodologies for an upcoming event. What are the biggest mistakes and what should we avoid so our survey isn’t an epic fail?

First, don’t have your own staff conduct survey interviews—especially if they’re wearing branded attire! People are nice. No one wants to say anything negative to a company employee. Ask your event marketing agency to hire third-party interviewers who will be unbiased and completely objective when talking to participants.

Second, position staff around the booth perimeter to speak with participants as they leave. You’ll typically want one to two survey takers for exhibits 1,000 square feet or less, and three to four staffers for larger footprints.

Third, depending on what’s permitted by show and industry regulations, offer a small incentive for survey participation. $5 gift cards are a great option that everyone likes—and easy to distribute too.

Last, aim for a reliable sample size. 150 to 200 hundred survey responses is a good target for most shows. With this total of completed surveys, your margin of error is within a +/- 5% – meaning if 85 percent of respondents ranked the experience quality as excellent or very good, there is a 95 percent probability that 80 to 90 percent rank the experience quality as excellent or very good.

Dear Lisette: What’s the next big thing in measurement that we should be thinking about and preparing for now?

You’re smart to think ahead. Event marketing analytics is quickly evolving and some of that change is being driven by social/digital media.

There’s a big push now for attendees to share their event experiences on Facebook and Twitter. So it will be interesting to watch as marketers find ways to measure how social word-of-mouth changes brand perception and brand affinity for non-attendees. If we can show our events increase attendees’ likelihood to recommend or purchase from both on-site attendees and those who aren’t even in attendance, that becomes a very powerful story for the value of our events and another important reason to measure event ROI.

Looking for more advice to make your event measurement programs more successful? Reach out to us here

Posted by Lisette Sheehan | Request as a Speaker

Strong believer in the power of data to drive smart decision-making. Enjoys making new friends. Lives for family. Avid beachgoer. It's 5 o'clock somewhere.