Understanding The Critical Success Factors for Event ROI
1) The right participants, 2) the right messages and 3) the right action are the three essential elements of any successful marketing event. Getting these right will deliver a positive return on your event investment and provide you with results you can measure.
I often spend time with clients discussing "Three Critical Success Factors" essential for trade show return on investment. The three elements of a trade show and event marketing program must be accomplished in order to achieve strong results.
1. You must attract enough of the right people to your exhibit or event (i.e. those individuals who can actually benefit your business)- It is essential to identify, by company and title, if not name, everyone at an upcoming event who can improve your results. Next, contact and arrange per-scheduled, face- to- face meetings with these targeted individuals to discuss mutually beneficial approaches to dealing with market opportunities. Attract and "detail" targeted individuals who visit your stand. If you are able to accomplish the equivalent of an important sales call with targeted individuals in your booth, you will reduce your cost of sale. Broaden your idea of a "target" to include suppliers and alliances. Interactions with these targets reduce the cost of materials or logistics and contribute directly to the survival of the business.
The key measure is the number of engagements and meetings with high-value contacts at your event.
2. You must deliver compelling messages that motivate them to act- You must deliver compelling messages that motivate your participants to act. Your messages should be persuasive. Participants must “feel” that taking the next step with your company is the right thing to do. The key measures are the research into perceptions and recall of key messages and the number of participants who commit to a follow-up.
3. You must obtain actions from the participants that tie directly to profit improvement for your company (either an increase in revenue or reduction in cost) - You must have a specific outcome (step in the sales funnel) in mind for these targets and they must embrace it. Remember it is usually what happens after the event that delivers payback. So, your post-event plan is just as important as the event plan. Keeping all of these targets continuously engaged in a communal relationship with your company is essential.
The key measure is the number of visitors who participate in the designated next step.
The short, easy way to remember the critical success factors for an effective event goes like this:
The right people
The right messages
The right actions
If you miss any one of the three, you are not likely to justify your investment in the event. As you can tell, they must be executed somewhat in order. That is why pre-event and post-event activities are at least as important as event execution.
These ROI related success factors were developed from years of working with clients to create a solid bridge between sales and marketing. They are the core of an event measurement and return on investment philosophy. Of course, many other things must also go well for a successful result.