Measuring Event Performance To Evaluate Success

Event managers are under substantial pressure to attain metrics regarding their events and to ensure that their events provide a return on investment (ROI). The process of sourcing these statistics and converting them into valuable information is something that many event managers struggle with. It can be hard to know what to measure, how to measure it and then how to analyse the data.

The initial stage in analysing the performance of an event is to understand why the event is being held in the first place. What are the targets and goals for the event? Below are some of the reasons why companies choose to host events:

Generate sales
Generate qualified sales leads
To help retain current customers
To enter a new market
To launch a new product or service
Build awareness of the company or product
Conduct market research
To educate or motivate partners and/or employees
To influence or build relationships with the press
To support the local community

It is advisable to set one primary and one or two secondary objectives. Setting too many goals will dilute the main purpose of the event and will lead to mixed messages given to the delegates. Each event held may have different objectives, but it is important to understand exactly what these are, as without a clear objective you will not be able to identify and measure the event performance objectives.

Make your objectives and metrics as specific as possible. For example, if the primary objective is to create sales and the secondary objective is to generate qualified sales leads, some of the specific metrics will be:

Number of transactions made
Number of purchase orders received
Quantity of new accounts/customers
Expense to revenue ration (E:R)
Return on investment ration (ROI)
Volume of leads obtained
Quality of leads

Once event managers have identified the objectives and metrics, the next task is to obtain this information. This can be the trickiest part of event performance analysis. It can be difficult to source this information, and difficult to convert it into valuable data.

Many event managers are turning to technology to help with this process. Event management software solutions aid event managers in the planning, management and analysis of events. They often come with inbuilt reporting and analysis modules, making the measurement of event performance an easy task.

If generating leads is a primary objective, event management software can help aid in the identification of lead quality and quantity. Understanding what makes a high quality lead will help event managers to create tailored registration forms, capturing the delegate information that identifies poor and good quality opportunities.

Understanding the messaging that is being conveyed to delegates is also a key metric that should often be measured, but one that can be difficult to calculate. By utilising information that has been gathered on the day of the event or post event, event managers will be able to improve future events as well as enhancing customer relations with delegates. Again, event management software can aid in this metric measurement. By providing a comprehensive feedback management tool event managers are able to produce surveys which delegates can complete on the day, or which can be emailed out after the events. The results from online surveys can be automatically populated into the event management solution, ready for instant analysis and review.

Understanding delegates and their responses to the event will also help event managers to accurately qualify the event leads. Event management software will provide analysis tools which will enable event managers to quickly drill down to the data held on the system. Providing tailored reports as well as standard management information reports will demonstrate how well attended events are, how well booked events are and how successful the event programme was.

It is generally suggested that event managers use 5% of their event budget on event measurement and analysis. By investing in a total end to end event management software solution, event mangers can ensure that exact results of the events are consistently produced. Not only do event management software tools aid in the analysis of events, but they also make the planning, management and promotion of events easier, more efficient and far more cost effective.