Last week we launched the latest report in our Skift Research service, The State of Conferences and Events 2017.
While events have long served as an opportunity for businesses to build awareness and engage key customers and stakeholders, increasingly a much broader range of performance metrics have been incorporated by event marketers. According to Cvent, two-thirds of meeting planners say they use event attendance as the principal metric to gauge return on investment, or ROI.
Meanwhile, meeting planners also said benchmarks like revenue generated (55.6 percent), the admittedly vague metric of “attendee engagement” (54.3 percent), registrations (52.3 percent), brand awareness (51 percent), and retention (50.3 percent) were also key measures of success.
Still, others caution that getting too caught up on one specific measurement for event success can be counterproductive. Instead, many executives believe that event goals need to be designed to match an organization’s business goals.
“It’s a lot more comprehensive than just tracking an event,” said Horacio Gavilan, executive director of AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing, an industry marketing group for Hispanic-Americans, in a 2017 interview with Skift. “I also track payment history, how long they have been members, when they came to the conference in the past, if they attended a webinar, and anything else they bought from me.”
Whatever ROI measurement a company organizing an event happens to use, those familiar with the conferences and events sector suggest that defining the meeting’s business goals in advance is a key step in the process. “We encourage [organizers] to build a measurement protocol into their event strategy at the beginning,” said Chris Cavanaugh, CMO of meetings and event management company Freeman. This typically involves “creating a dashboard, understanding what you’re measuring, what the benchmarks are and what ‘good’ looks like. Otherwise you’re creating a bunch of data points that may be unrelated.”
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