While event marketer's goals and objectives change from one to the next, there are a handful of metrics that you should be examining. Be sure to keep these in mind during your planning process.
Expected and Actual Attendance Statistics
During the planning process a good starting point would be expected attendance, either based off of your previous attendance at an event or the estimates provided by the organizers. Planning your event with estimates you can set expectations on attendance, leads collected and ROI by using your own conversion rate benchmarks. Following up an event with statistical data analysis will help your attendance projections for future events and help to justify your event spend.
Cost Per Lead
Cost per Lead is one of the key measurements for any lead generation marketer. It's important to determine a couple of things first though. First you need to know how your organization defines a lead. A lead can be anything from a single consumer interacting with your event staff to a consumer filling out a survey, providing demographic data and contact information. Secondly you need to determine what the average cost per lead is in your industry. Once you can define a lead it's easy to take your total investment spent and divide by the number of leads collected. Once you've come up with a verifiable CPL you can then benchmark yourself against your industry, quickly determining if your campaign is a success.
Quality Leads Generated
Be careful not to fall into the trap of tracking total leads if the majority of them are unqualified and not relevant to your business. It might be easier to justify your spend if you can claim 200 leads collected but if only 50 of them are legitimate potential clients then that might be the number to work with for your calculations. It looks better to claim the 200 but that will only provide you with an unacceptably low conversion rate. Your best bet is to stick with the leads that are at least plausible potential customers.
Survey Completion/Abandonment Rate
Have you spent a great deal of time and money organizing your event schedule and created a high-friction survey that encourages abandonment? Only way to determine that is to looks closely at the survey completion/abandonment rates. A high abandonment rate can signal confusion and frustration or maybe the survey is just too long.
By understanding conversion rate and average sales price you can create ROI models prior to your event, helping you to create event goals. Typically products and services with a higher AVP such as cars, homes or financial services will have a much longer sales cycle so keep that in mind when planning your Conversion Rate and ROI. As an example, the auto industry has a long sales cycle; you can assume that all leads that are going to convert will do so in the following timeline:
25% within 90 days
50% within 180 days
75% within 270 days
100% within 365 days
The overall percentage of leads that end up becoming customers is your conversion rate, and with the timetable above will vary over time.
Social Media Shares, Retweets, Posts and Check-ins
Social media activity is a great way to measure success and promote your brand message to non-attendees. From a measurement perspective you can track hashtag usage, check-ins, photo sharing and tweets to get a better idea of your social reach. These statistics are extremely valuable insights into the expanded reach you've created, not just through the sharer, but exponentially through their personal networks and followers. It has also been shown that brand advocacy from social sharing can be considered a leading indicators of future sales.
Net Promoter Score
If your event schedule revolves around things like test drives or similar "hands-on" experiences you would be wise to survey your participants before and after their time with your product. By finding out beforehand how likely they would be to recommend or promote your product to friends and then again afterwards, you will get some useful insights into how effective your events have been. If your average NPS score "pre-test drive" was 4 and after was 8, then obviously your test drives are effectively changing the perception of an average consumer.
Return on Investment
The big one that is on every event marketer's mind is Return on Investment (ROI). For industries with extremely long sales cycles, B2B event marketing ROI should be calculated based on revenues within 12months to account for the long-tail cycle. This total revenue figure then divided by total event costs and related marketing expenses provide you with an accurate ROI. B2B average for event marketing hovers around the 3.3X ROI mark, how does your organization compare?
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