This is a response for the MC2 "eConnections" newsletter, May issue "Delimma" column. "How do you measure success?" I've heard a lot about measurement in the media and at conferences, and I'd like to start my own performance measurement program based on real stats. But I don't know where to begin. We go to five big shows a year, each with a different division of our company, so it's hard to make adjustments. Is anyone getting value and results from measuring tradeshow performance? What do you measure, and how do you employ the data? I'd really like to know.
-- Althea, Conventions Manager
A good planning and measurement program is how smart exhibit managers get the results they expect and personal credit they deserve from their events program. Many companies rely on a well structured planning and measurement program to manage their events programs as well as the internal perception of their value.
Events are a business improvement tool. Return on investment is realized when you make or save money through an event. To make or save money, the participants must be persuaded to act in a manner that benefits your company.
Properly planned events produce measurable results. When you plan your activities to result increase in sales, retention of current business, promotion of company brand, products and messages, and cost savings, positive business results are achieved.
What to measure follows this same logic. Payback is a simple index of success. Payback comes from tracking value from four sources:
1) Revenue (Increase in Sales)
2) Customer Relationship Management (Customer and Revenue Retention)
3) Cost Savings (Efficiencies using events as the catalyst)
4) Promotion or Communication Value (Equivalent Value of Advertising Required to Achieve Similar Promotional Impact in the Market, or for Internal Events, the Cost of Alternative Means of Communications)
These values, when added together and divided by the budget for your event, produce a payback ratio such as $2.30/1.
Start your own measurement program by putting these four tabs in a three ringed binder and collecting every bit of data regarding value you produce in each of the four areas.
Finally, productivity measures such as number of visitors, engaged visitors, and leads, combined with “cost per” indexes, such as cost per engaged visitor, provide valuable indicators of the success of each event and your program overall.
A major goal at Constellation is to see event and communications managers get the credit they deserve for managing profitable event programs. Many of our clients use their measurement reports as the basis for their annual performance evaluation. A number of our clients directly attribute a part of their career success to their event planning and measurement programs.
Case studies and articles on event measurement are available to you in the "Solutions" section of the Constellation Communication Corp. website at http://constellationcc.com