Geeking Out on Event ROI. 10 Hard Metrics to Measure

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Event marketing is expensive, but it can provide a substantial return on investment. It is vital, therefore, for corporate event marketing professionals to both optimize the value of their event spending and be able to measure that value.

One of the biggest challenges event marketers face is demonstrating the value and ROI of event spending to the executive team. Measuring the return on events goes far beyond the number of "leads" (really, badge scans) generated.

Event organizers must be able to measure results from quantifiable benefits. These financial / business benefits ultimately justify the dollars invested in event marketing. Planning for how to maximize these values helps event marketers focus on the most important objectives for each event attended or hosted.

The following is a list of top 10 hard metrics event managers use to measure performance:

  1. New contacts / raw leads generated(from event management or lead capture platform): The number of leads generated can be useful for comparison purposes to other events or campaigns, as well being the denominator in cost per lead (CPL) calculations.
  2. Qualified leads generated(from event management / lead registration system plus CRM platform): Highly qualified leads may have a higher value than raw leads, and therefore support a higher CPL.
  3. CPL(measured by your event management platform or a combination of systems): Measure new leads from trade shows, or add-on sales opportunities from customer events. Calculate cost per lead by dividing total event costs by the number of leads generated. Look at how this compares to other events you participate in, as well as the CPL for other lead sources.
  4. Event registration revenue(collected through online registration): This is a vital figure to use in other calculations. Per the Event Manager Blog, "Most event professionals like to have a (real-time) grasp on their sales (revenue and number of attendees) leading up to an event."
  5. Total direct event revenue(tracked through registration system plus ecommerce platform): This is all of the revenue attributed directly to the event itself--the sum of event registration revenue plus event commerce (e.g., food, beverage, and merchandise sales if applicable) plus any additional discretionary activity fees not collected at registration.
  6. New sales closed / contracts signed(measured by your CRM or financial system integrated with your event management platform): Sales revenue attributable to an eventis a critical value for performing ROI calculations. Link deals/sales made at an event back to the event attended or hosted to enable calculation of direct event revenue.
  7. Additional sales to current customers(measured by your CRM, marketing automation, or financial system integrated with your event managementplatform): In addition to tracking new sales associated with an event, ideally an organization will be able to track add-on sales to existing customers resulting from event engagement—even if these sales don't close until weeks or even months following the event.
  8. RFP requests(measured by your CRM or quoting system): Knowing the number of requests for proposal resulting from an event can be a vital input to ROI calculations if a standard (estimated or expected) or actual revenue value can be assigned.
  9. Total financial return(measured by registration / event management platform integrated with ecommerce and other finance systems): For company-hosted events, total event financial return is the sum of add-on product sales directly attributable to the event plus total direct event revenue plus the estimated value of new or advanced sales opportunities.
  10. ROI(third-party events, estimated, based on sales / CRM system): Calculate return on investment by dividing expected sales revenue (based on the number of leads collected) by the actual event cost. Though this will necessarily be inexact, the advantage of this method is that it can be applied pretty much as soon as the event ends.