Conferences and events are often one of, if not the largest, financial line items in an organization’s annual budget. Hundreds of hours, dozens of resources, and even millions of dollars are spent to create amazing experiences and shows. Yet, many organizations lack proper Event ROI planning in order to report on their true event return on investment. Through years of experience, Paragon Events knows how planning ahead and trusting the right partners will help position your conferences and events for ROI success.
STARTING WITH THE CONFERENCE ROI BASICS
As with any plan or event, you want to begin with a solid framework. For ROI, this means reviewing the successes and failures of your past events. Analyzing past experiences will allow you to develop goals and identify the different metrics you wish to track. Past data will help you see trends, anticipate the future, and allow you to create attainable goals for growth.
Paragon Events likes to begin this process by collaborating with our customers to set objectives and develop procedures for tracking progress during the planning process.
Some basic metrics include:
- Attendance. Look at the total number of attendees and which demographics they fall into. For example: what percentage of your customer base do they represent? What category do they fall into as far as industry, title, decision-maker status, and geographic location?
- Sponsorship income. Sponsorships are a great way to reduce the cost of your event. Continue to review successful sponsorship engagements and provide your partners with new and innovative ways to engage with your audience. Elevated sponsorship opportunities will show your partners stronger ROI and benefit your events budget.
- Sleeping room utilization and attrition. Our team takes the time to review arrival and departure trends, room sharing tendencies, and more, to outline the best plan and contract to fit your event.
- Budget application. Understanding trends within your budget allows you to report your event ROI correctly. Did you come in under budget? Breakeven? It’s important to acknowledge the circumstances surrounding the actuals of each line of your budget.
DEFINING BUSINESS OUTCOMES
Once your event ROI basics are in order, you can delve into the purpose of the event. Understanding why your organization has chosen to invest in the conference will allow you to define your intended business outcomes.
Some common parameters include:
Is your goal to acquire new sales or to expand sales within your existing customer base? What does your sales cycle look like? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you track the success of the event. Business secured with companies in attendance should be tracked for a minimum of one to two years following the event. This will help affirm the success of your event by correlating sales to attendance.
Fostering networking and engagement
What percentage of your attendees are present at your networking events and are they staying for the entire event? Is your mobile app being downloaded and how often is it being accessed? Did you gain new social media followers and is the use of your custom hashtag increasing? Reporting on the answers to these questions helps confirm people are finding value while connecting at your event.
Promoting new products and services
If promoting new products and services, it’s important to compare the level of engagement within attending groups vs. others. Then, you can analyze whether or not the adoption rate is higher with those exposed to the product at your event.
Creating a sustainable and green event
When planned correctly, conference teams can create effective sustainable events with a great impact on the environment, your company’s commitment, and savings to the bottom line. Taking this into account from the beginning can help you to set your green meeting goals and ensure you are promoting eco-friendly practices to your attendees.
PRESENTING THE EVENT ROI DATA
Once your data has been reviewed and your goals have been set, it is time to present your data to stakeholders. This is your time to showcase how the money spent on events is positively impacting the overall business.
When Paragon Events engages with our customers in reporting these trends, we often find that the most impactful ROI is an increase in sales as well as the utilization of new products and services. Customers who are engaged with your brand and knowledgeable about your products are more likely to continue buying your products. The trust gained through engagement and exposure also encourages partners to maintain a longer relationship with your organization.
Additionally, providing key takeaways from your data can save your organization thousands of dollars. Attendance trends and sleeping room utilization, for example, provide great insight for future contracts, so your company avoids overspending.
GET STARTED WITH YOUR ROI PLANNING TODAY!
Beyond an entertaining experience, conferences and events are a key component to any growing and successful business. Engage in a program review with Paragon Events and allow us to help you showcase the many benefits of a well-planned event. Our team will dig deep into the history and trends of your sales data to create a plan tailored to your company’s needs. We’ll help you identify the true return on investment that your company will experience for years to come!
This blog has been authored by Ashley Kunes.