Tools and Techniques for achieving Event ROI
Events and meetings are most frequently viewed as an investment for a given purpose, and event planners should take multiple factors into account when measuring the Event ROI and value of their projects. In the past, elements like budget, attendance and guest satisfaction were key indicators; now however ROI has merged with ROO and has taken measurements one level further. The key driver for a successful meeting or event is the careful design, purpose and content of the event. We will give you some pointers on how you can achieve this, as well as measure the outcome.
Define the Objectives
The first component for a successful event ROI formula is to clearly identify the objectives. These objectives are often vague to the organizer, so we have put together some steps that can facilitate this process.
1. Start by giving a brief with open ended questions to key stakeholders so they can define the strategic objectives for both the organization hosting the event and the meeting attendees.
2. Survey a sample of invitees to identify their challenges, concerns and needs on multiple levels. This will help you define the objectives, content as well as the measurement benchmarks.
The two main questions under examination should be: What do we want the participants to learn? What do we want the participants to do? This retained knowledge and subsequent action is one of the main indicators of your project’s success.
Content and Design
Now using the data we have gathered from the previous steps, we can start outlining the content, the speakers, the key messages and the presentation tools. Also, another element to take into consideration is the ambiance of the event. How can we create a learning environment which will facilitate our objectives? Learning is influenced by the state of mind of the learner as well as external factors factors like room temperature ,air quality, instructional design, speaker quality, etc. Remember that shifting participant behavior is the only mechanism for creating value. This will be our focal point.
Now that your meeting or event is over, you have to measure the impact it had and to what extent your objectives were met. Below we have outlined what should be analyzed, as well as how we can make these measurements:
1. Target Audience & Attendance– Did we address the right audience at our event? Was the attendance satisfactory?
2. Satisfaction & Environment – Were the attendees satisfied with the event? Here we can measure elements like facilities, logistics, content , networking, speakers , climate control, transportation, accommodation etc.
3. Learning – In this step we measure a) the retained knowledge b) the shift in perception or attitude c) if relationships were formed (networking/team-building results)
4. Behavior – Behavior is the application of learning. Here you should identify whether or not the attendee plans on or is alreading using the retained knowledge in practice.
5. Impact – The business impact is the main goal of the event. Here you should measure what participants do differently because of the event.
How can you measure?
For all the above steps, the cheapest and most immediate way to measure these elements is through surveying and self reporting. Schedule questionnaires in a manner that will help you more efficiently monitor the results. Often the results will be visible only after a certain period of time. Let’s say that you have just organized a medical congress, where the delegates were informed on a new diagnostic procedure. In this case, you can survey the delegates after the event in order to determine if they understood this process and are likely to implement it. The delegates that responded yes to both questions will comprise your sample for a second post event survey that you can carry out a few months later. The objective of the second survey, will be to identify whether or not the delegates are in fact using this new procedure in appropriate situations.
As mentioned previously, the business impact is our main objective. This we can measure by analyzing company data, such as sales and cost accounting. Values that can’t easily be translated into monetary terms, like customer loyalty and satisfaction, shift in customer behavior etc. can again be measured by using surveys and focus groups.
Another form of business impact, depending on the event, can be media coverage. For example, when organizing a product launch or consumer event, positive press and media coverage is a primary objective. Good coverage of the event can result in increased awareness and sales. If you are working with a PR Agency or have an in-house communications department, they can compile a media value report for you. This report will “translate” the free achieved coverage into monetary terms. Keep in mind though, that earned coverage is much more valuable than paid!