Events are a powerful networking tool and are crucial to driving leads for sales. Did you know that according to Forrester Research, events are known to take up about 12% of the B2B marketing budget each year? But also, according to Forrester, only a small fraction of 18% of event technology vendors have seen clients capable of demonstrating measurable returns on these budget-consuming events. Most B2B marketers spend all their money tracking the time that potential customers are spending on their websites but admit that they do not know how to calculate the value of all that happens between prospects or customers during event-related interactions.
This article shares insights into how investments in events can pay off in richer customer relationships and what B2B marketers can do to measure their event's value through event technology in 2021.
What is Event Marketing ROI?
Despite the digital purchase process, both buyers and marketers still find that events make a difference. Almost 45% of B2B customers claim that event content such as keynotes, presentations, and booth material is their second most important information source. Event marketing ROI is a flexible term that indicates the net value an event marketer gains through an event for the net cost that goes into producing it. Event ROI can be determined as the net value divided by the net cost.
How to Measure ROI on Events in 2021?
At the beginning of 2020, virtual events were not as prevalent on the marketer’s radar. Fast-forward to the beginning of 2021, and virtual events have taken precedence as the dominant event type. Almost 89% of event organizers have claimed that even when in-person meetings resume post-pandemic, virtual or hybrid events will remain a critical part of their event strategy.
It is safe to say that virtual events are here to stay. Hence, the B2B Marketer should stop treating events like a campaign tactic. Instead, they should consider it a unique opportunity to create meaningful and memorable experiences for their prospects and customers to shape their purchase decisions.
Here are some ways marketers can begin measuring the ROI on their events:
Event ROI Goals
Like any marketing campaign or initiative, marketers should first define the event goals, determine the target audience and the stakeholders involved. The best way to determine if the event is getting the value per cost is by setting SMART or specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely goals and determining their corresponding ROI metrics. For example, if your event's goal is to increase social media presence, the ROI metrics would be your total social media impressions.
Event Technology and ROI
According to a report released by Frost and Sullivan, the event management software industry is currently worth $28 billion and is projected to have a CAGR of 3.3%. The report also states that over $500 billion are spent on events and meetings each year. With such massive capital at stake, it is essential to use an event marketing platform to manage lead attribution from events and assist in making events the centerpiece of all ongoing customer interactions and experiences. This is very comparable to what marketers are already doing in the digital space, tracking which channels visitors, leads, and ultimately, their customers are acquired from.
Having various platforms that can assist with the event marketing attribution is just one step to measuring your event ROI. The B2B marketers can link multiple software to measure otherwise inaccessible data through a harmonized marketing management system. Tools that can be integrated into this ecosystem include their CRM systems, like Salesforce, marketing automation platforms like HubSpot and Marketo, and web tracking like Google Analytics. This integrated platform can allow marketers to transfer data quickly and ensure that all the event ROI data is tracked efficiently. If native integrations do not exist between their platforms, they can determine if their systems have open APIs in which they can connect to, or if no automation or integrations exist, look to import data from other sources via spreadsheet files.
Event ROI Attribution Models
Marketers are always on the lookout to track every single action across the purchase journey that can help them calculate the ROI of their efforts. Marketers can measure ROIs through various attribution models that help determine how various event activities, actions, and touchpoints impacted the goal like driving purchase.
Some of the most commonly used attribution models include:
- First-Touch Model: This model attributes 100% of the returns generated to the marketing initiatives that caused the prospect to interact with the brand.
- Last-Touch Model: This model attributes that the returns generated are a 100% result of the action someone took just before converting an opportunity or potential customer.
- Lead-Touch Model: This model attributes that the returns generated are a 100% result of the first marketing initiative that caused a prospect to convert and become known to your company.
- W-Shaped Model: Not all prospects at an event are equal, and each customer has their unique journey toward the final sale. The W-shaped model is most robust and accurate and considers all the points of contact and marketing initiatives that led to converting an opportunity or a customer.
Regardless of whichever model is applied, marketers should remember not to handle event ROI measurement and attribution models in a silo. Instead, by approaching these attribution models as marketing measurement methods, they can gain a holistic view of their sales funnel.
Top Virtual and In-Person Event Metrics and KPIs
Marketers generally use leading indicators or metrics to track the success of their events and KPIs to determine whether or not the event outcomes were successful against the goals set. Although these metrics are vital to understanding the event ROI, they cannot tell the complete story on their own and need to be grouped together to understand the whole picture.
Below is a list of KPIs that marketers can use to measure event engagement:
- Attendance Quality: This includes not just the number of attendees but also the ratio of new to existing customers, number of top executives or decision-maker attendees, the average number of attendees per account, and so on.
- Demand Generation: This includes the new qualified leads, meetings held after the event, newly generated qualified opportunities, and target accounts engaged.
- Funnel Influence: It considers the pipeline generated or touched through the event, funnel velocity, win-rate improvement, and closed pipelines attributed to the event.
- Customer Performance: It considers the NPS of the attendees against those who did not attend and is based on opportunities generated, renewal-rate improvement, and reference customers gained.
- Speed Efficiency: It takes the cost per contact and cost per lead into consideration.
Events are undoubtedly worth the time, effort, and budget. Marketers need to define and track the event value to prioritize investments. From event technologies, event ROI attribution models, ROI tracking tools, and virtual event metrics, marketers can apply many options to become an ROI master. Measuring your virtual or hybrid event’s ROI is possible and easy to implement. The trick lies in finding the suitable technology that is appropriate for your event.
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