Your most recent event was a hit. You know this because the vendors showed up on time, the breakout rooms had actually been cleaned beforehand, and the attendees mingled and networked with big smiles on their faces.
Mission accomplished – high five!
Not. So. Fast.
Did your organization see enough of a return on their financial investment to justify the event?
A lot of event planners focus solely on throwing the party but they fail to capture the true value of the event itself. As a result, many events aren’t thought to be a major contributor to the organization’s bottom line, and whenever there is a decline in corporate performance, events and meetings are some of the first areas to get cut.
In order to be effective and fully successful, corporate events must be planned on a solid foundation of return on investment (ROI).
ROI for Corporate Events: Measuring the Business Impacts
There are those internal events that are planned strictly for the social impact. You know, the Christmas party or company picnic. But for all other events, both internal and external, clear objectives and measures that are linked to ROI should always be the main drivers of the planning stages.
If you’ve been primarily focused on the creative aspects of event design, it’s time to measure the business impacts of the events you plan. Corporate events have a value that should extend beyond the immediate event. If you want to capture ROI, then you’ll need to start pinpointing the goals and objectives for your event and quantify each.
Let’s take a look at some of the different types of events you might plan and key performance indicators (KPIs) you should be measuring.
Goal/Objective: To generate as much revenue as possible by making existing clients and prospective clients aware of your new product. If attendees have a great time but no new business is generated, you have a poor ROI and your event is a failure.
KPIs: The number of leads and conversions as well as the value of each sale.
Client Appreciation Event
Goal/Objective: Nurture the relationships you have with your top-tier clients, creating even more brand ambassadors that spend more money with you each year.
KPIs: The incremental value of business generated as a result of this engagement.
Incentive Travel Program
Goal/Objective: To incentivize your sales team (and other team members) to sell more (perform better).
KPIs: The number of sales/new revenue generated in a specific time period.
These are just a few examples of the kinds of events you may plan each year and the KPIs you should be tracking. But understand that event KPIs should be tailored to the type of event as well as the event size, budget and data available.
Here are some other KPIs that will help you determine the ROI for your corporate events:
- Ticket sales
- Attendance & Registration
- Number of sales leads generated
- NPS (Net Promoter Score: a measure of customer loyalty)
These KPIs will help you measure and evaluate the success of your event. Once you get into the habit of tracking these metrics, they will help you:
- Plan successful events moving forward
- Improve year-over-year results
- Demonstrate that your organization’s event budget has been well-spent so you and your team survive the next possible round of cuts
- Appeal strongly to sponsors
Things to Keep in Mind When Measuring ROI for Corporate Events
If you’re new to tracking event ROI, we want to make things as simple as possible for you. Here are some things to keep in mind:
ROI Can Be Very Straightforward
If the overall goal or objective of your event is to turn a healthy profit from ticket or registration sales, calculating ROI is a breeze. Simply subtract the total cost of your event from the total sales revenue, then divide by total cost of the event. Your result will be a percentage and you simply multiply this by 100.
The equation would look like this:
Total Sales Revenue (minus) Total Cost of the Event ( divided by ) Total Cost of Event ( times ) 100 = ROI
But what if your event’s goal isn’t to generate obvious revenue from ticket sales? What then?
Identify Your Goal
What is the ultimate goal of your event? Attract new employees? Build brand awareness? Generate qualified leads?
You may find that your event has two or more goals in mind. That’s normal, but for ROI purposes, whittle down your list to just one primary event goal.
And the next step is to…
Set Measurable Objectives
Once you have your primary goal, you’ll want to outline the specific steps you and your team will need to take to achieve your desired outcome. So for instance, if your primary goal is to build brand awareness, you will want to measure things like how many people will be attending your event, as well as how much press and social media coverage will it get.
Your team may decide that for successful ROI, you’ll need to attract 1,500 attendees, attain 1,000 new social media followers and secure 10 press mentions.
The thing to really understand about tracking ROI is that everything, EVERYTHING can be quantified. You simply have to spend a little time deciding on goals and steps you will take to reach them.
How will you track your event’s performance? How will you gather the data? The event technology software you use is a tool that can help you gather an incredible amount of insight such as number of tickets sold, revenue from sales, the number of no-shows and more.
You have other tools at your disposal as well. Online surveys can help you measure attendee satisfactions while a CRM like Salesforce can track leads generated from your event.
Analyze to Understand Your Results
Once you’ve captured this critical data, it’s time to analyze it so you can fully understand your event’s ROI. As an example, let’s say your primary goal was to generate 50 new qualified sales leads. Your event actually generated 80 new leads. You know right off the bat that you exceeded your goal by 60%. But you can use the data to drill down even further.
You can calculate the cost per lead by dividing the cost of putting on the event by the number of leads (80) you generated. In this scenario, your event had a positive ROI even if you didn’t directly generate new revenue. That wasn’t your goal. Generating new leads was.
Final Thoughts on Tracking ROI for Corporate Events
Planning events is more than just planning a party where everyone has a great time. Whether it’s generating leads at a customer conference or trade show, or inspiring or educating your sales staff at a sales kickoff or incentive travel program, a properly planned and executed corporate event should always result in a positive return on your investment.
If you need help planning or managing your next event, click here to quickly contact us!
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J.Shay Team is the generic alias for our event staff that want to submit work anonymously.