Events are one of the most impactful ways to market your products and services. This is one marketing channel that has been in existence for centuries and hasn’t lost its charm for customers or for the businesses hosting it. If you look at the events hosted by tech giants or big MNCs, you will be dazzled by the long-lasting impact that they leave and the kind of brand loyalty they create. This is one form of marketing that will never lose its ability to deliver results, if done right. Events will never go out of fashion given the face-to-face interaction they offer, and if you go by statistics, events are only becoming more and more popular with marketers as they continue to deliver results year after year.
Most (41%) marketers believe that events are the single-most effective marketing channel over digital advertising, email marketing and content marketing. This reflects a 32% increase since 2017.
Between 2017 and 2018 the number of companies organizing 20 or more events per
year increased by 17
84% of leadership (Vice President and C-Suite) believe in-person events are a critical component of their company’s success.
The most successful businesses are spending 1.7x the average marketing budget on live events.
(Source: Bizzabo, 2018)
An event can be organized for various reasons. What’s important to remember is that the objective behind hosting an event is what determines how best to measure the event impact. Events can be hosted for various reasons. You can have an event to launch a product, increase your customer base, support a cause, position your company in a certain manner, increase your brand visibility, make new connections, network and enter new partnerships.
Regardless of the reason behind the event, its success depends on the event planning and organization. In order to ensure that you have enough data to measure event impact accurately, it’s important to set up a system to collect data from the start.
Keep a Tab on the Target Audience
While carrying out the event planning, you need to have a clear vision for the kind of audience that you want to reach out to through your event, the channels that you will use to reach this audience and the number of people you want to target via different channels. After that you need to ensure that you reach this audience via a multitude of channels, including paid and organic, online and offline campaigns. Creating a buzz around an event takes time and you also need to give your audience enough time to respond, so these activities need to start a few months prior to the actual event, but not too early or people may forget about the event altogether.
These activities, although taking place prior to the actual event, determine the success of the event to a great extent. Keeping tabs on how many people you tried to reach out to versus how many people responded and attended the event is an important statistic that will help you measure your total event impact accurately.
How much did the event cost?
Whether you participated in an event or organized it completely, the expenses related to the event should be carefully recorded. Keep track of
Venue or stall(s) cost
Cost of paid campaigns you ran on social media
Event PR cost
Cost of speakers, partnerships
Cost of promotional material such as banner, standees, flyers etc.
Cost of renting equipment for the event- speakers, display screens, projectors, camera etc.
All travel costs related to the event
Cost of event crew
Cost of sponsorship (in case you are participating in an event)
There will also be a lot of miscellaneous costs, make sure you keep a tab of each expense on accrual basis. Have an estimated cost sheet that gives you a rough idea of what the whole event will cost, even before the event takes place.
Who Paid for the Event?
Every event is at least partially sponsored by one or more sponsors. Make sure to keep a detailed account of all sources of funds that you receive to make the event happen. Maintain a ledger that contain details on how much of your own money you invested and how much budget of the event was sponsored. Good event planning and management requires continuous data collection in a systematic manner.
Channel Wise Costing
Keep tabs on how much was spent by each channel- Social, PR, branding etc. It will help you analyze what channels work and what don’t when you compare this against the data. You can use this data to better plan your efforts and allocate budgets next time you are planning to host an event or thinking of participating in one.
Calculating Event ROI and Impact
Now that you have accurate, well documented data on how much money was spent on every activity related to the event-before the event, during the event and after the event, it will be easy to gauge if the investments were as valuable as expected.
Maintain records of how many likes and shares each social post got, how many event attendees got to know about the event via your social posts and how many hashtags related to your event got created and circulated. This is all a part of the impact that your event created as all this helps create brand awareness and draw potential customers to you.
Keep track of how many papers, blogs, news channels, websites, magazines and other media channels covered your event and their audience reach. Collect data on how many new contacts you made during the event from each stall, how many potential customers you garnered and what was the total footfall in the event on each day the event was live. Keeping track of all the data that gets generated during an event is a very important part of event planning and organization.
Create a strong event report that has detailed information on the event objective, the resources involved and the value that it created for all the companies and stakeholders that were involved in making the event happen- directly or indirectly. Good event planning and organization can help you accurately measure the event impact and provide you with valuable insights that you can use to make your next event an even bigger success.