Let me ask you a question about your last major event or conference.
How do you define Event Success?
How well did your last event do? If your answer is somewhat on these lines, “ Oh! Yeah, it did very well” or “ The event was amazing” in that case, how good is good? Or how amazing is amazing?
The fact is event managers or event professionals should define an event success in a holistic way. Defining event success itself is a maiden attempt for many enterprises, conference organizers or trade show hosts.
But this is perhaps the most important thing to keep an eye on, especially when you’re talking about recurring events/ conferences or exhibitions and business through this.
Key metrics to define event success in MICE industry
An event is considered “well-executed” if it successfully achieves the goals like lead generation, revenue by sales through event participation and overall event attendance.
However, an event considered successful if it:
- Has a strong potential for recurring participation
- Holds a good audience perception, in terms of value it offers
- Overall audience engagement rates
- Positive RoI for both audiences and organizers.
After assisting a multitude of events, conferences, enterprise launches and trade shows with effective event management what we observed were that there is no standard practice of defining event success metrics within the MICE industry. Here we have tried to capture the best of all event success metrics in an attempt to make it more comprehensive.
3 levels of gauging event success:
1.Online Reputation Management and its impact on your Event:
Consumers do extensive research online before making any purchase and this is regardless of the nature of the product i.e B2B or B2C. This means your target audience is smart.
Their buying decisions are highly influenced by reviews others have about your product or service. This is called having an online reputation.
Events, trade shows, conferences are no different. Your event’s online presence and reputation will determine how your potential audiences perceive your event.
Your online reputation determines how others perceive your business when they search for or stumble upon it online. Consequently, online reputation management (ORM) proactively influences what information people will find.
Just type “top trades shows in [country]” or “best [industry name ]expos in the country” on google and see what results do you get.
Event Participants/ audiences consume reviews and also post them for others. Event Managers/ Planners must proactively keep a check on these responses to any negative review with empathy and appreciation. Basically, being responsive to your audiences.
Depending on the nature of your event industry, you can deploy various channels to create, maintain and enhance your event’s online reputation.
For all open conferences, summits, exhibitions, and trade show event listing sites as mentioned above is a good example.
For closed group and incentive events like professional meets, product launches, enterprise retreats, there can be a dedicated social media group/ page about the event.
Additionally, event profs can have a dedicated owned media in their website. That is a separate event section where not only you list all your events but also encourage people to post their comments, write reviews and share experiences.
The best example can be Freshworks’ Refresh series:
Online Reputation Management for events is imperative to have in order to understand the sentimental and perceptive success of your event. This determines the two out of four metrics for event success i.e a strong potential for recurring participation and good audience perception, in terms of value it offers.
2. Start monitoring Event Analytics:
Yeah, Analytics! Data is the key to make informed decisions and measure the success of any kind of effort you make. Understand your online sales success you have Google Analytics, for sales success, you have CRMs, for enterprise data analytics and warehousing you have SAP & ERP software.
So why not take an analytical approach for an $805 B USD MICE industry?
Event managers must adopt a practice of analyzing those vast event data in order to measure success. Additionally, the same event analytics can also assist event profs in optimizing future event by understanding key data points.
Here are a few Data points that event profs can track either manually or through event analytics from any event management software.
- No. of new visitors vs No. of returning visitors on your website:
How much did your event’s popularity grew over the period of time is something that defines how successful has your event been?
Let’s try and answer this question.
The answer to this depends on the number returning visitors against the number of new visitors. Ok, let me explain this in a very simple manner.
In the year 2019–20, you signed-up 100 new participants for your event, now for the next year 2020–21 you signed-up another 100 new participants but have no repeat visitors/ participants, your growth is 0% in that case.
Now, if in case you have 30 repeat visitors and 100 new ones it means you grew by 30%.
So bring into the practice of monitoring event website analytics to measure your event success.
- Examine Audience Engagement.
Event success can be indicated through the engagement level of your audience. But how do you measure “networking & engagement”?
Event audiences generally visit event and exhibitions to explore business opportunities, industry knowledge, and shadow potential affiliations.
This can be measured by checking metrics like; profile views, notes taken during speaker sessions, messages exchanged, business cards exchanged, meetings requested, meetings accepted and scheduled, and finally any possible bookmarks that your attendees may do.
While this is difficult to track if event organized through manual efforts. However, if events are digitized, through event apps & networking modules, this becomes fairly easy to monitor.
Apart from success, these analytics will also give an idea about audience experience and sentiments. Event managers can also with the help of this optimize future events to improve the level of audience engagement to ultimately make an event successful.
3. Event Business Growth as Success Indicator:
The last and currently used success indicator is business growth through events. Keep following the normal practice of measuring these numbers to define the success of your event; the number of leads generated, total potential sales revenue generated and an increase in ticket sales revenues.
Depending on the nature of industry these indicators may differ. For example:
- Exhibition — measure, increase in ticket sales revenues in a year — on — year basis.
- Enterprise events; trade shows, product launches & product roadshows -measure, number of leads generated
- Corporate retreats and incentive events: measure, improvement in total potential sales revenue
- Associations: measure, growth in new sign-ups and new registrations in year — on — year basis.
Having a holistic approach like this will not only give you numbers to show during review meetings but will also put you in a position to better predict events future and optimize them for guaranteed success.
Conclusion & Takeaways:
- Start measuring event success in a holistic way
- Measure event success through 3 levels; sentimental success, statistical success, bottom-line success.
- Include Event ORM (Online reputation management) while measuring event success.
- Measure the number of repeat visitors against the number of new visitors to understand success statistically
- Measure event engagement level to define event success from the audiences’ perspective
- Measure numbers that indicate the bottom-line impact of the event.