How to Relate Objectives, Success and Measurement Around Three Factors that Will Make or Break the ROI on Your Event
In my classes I teach "Three Critical Success Factors" essential for trade show return on investment. These factors provide the template for a compelling set of measures of regarding what is most important and what will surely be of interest to your top management.
The "Three Critical Success Factors" are:
* You must attract enough of the right people to your exhibit or event (i.e. those individuals who can actually benefit your business)
* You must deliver compelling messages that motivate those people to act
* You must obtain actions from those participants that lead directly to profit improvement for your company (either an increase in revenue or reduction in cost)
The shorter, easier to remember version goes like this:
* The right people
* The right messages
* The right actions and results
If you miss any one of the three, you are not likely to justify your investment in the event. It is essential that they be executed somewhat in order. That is why pre-event and post-event activities are at just 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 core to our event measurement and return on investment philosophy.
Of course, many other things must also go well for a successful result.
As I mentioned in the beginning, the following factors provide the template for a compelling set of measures of what is most important:
The right people
Determine the show demographics profile and know how many people attending the show fit your target profiles. Identify them to the individual level if the information is available.
Make a forecast of how many targets are there and how many you will see. Track the number of people who come to your exhibit or venue. Develop averages and totals for the program year.
Determine how many visitors are seriously engaged vs. just entering a drawing or making a casual walk-through. (Make counts during the events) Use exit polls or surveys while visitors wait for a presentation for example, to find our who is visiting your stand. Report all of these numbers and the mix of people by type in your show summary.
The right messages
The only way to know if your messages are resonating with customers and prospects is to ask them. Use exit surveys or post- show surveys to determine 1) Can anyone recall, repeat or describe what you were trying to tell them? 2) Does the message they retained have any potential effect on their role or plans? I.e., does the message you conveyed present a solution to problems or an improvement in a process or profitability? Do they believe what you told them? A great open ended question is to simply ask your visitors “What was the most important thing they learned during your visit?” Compare their answers with your communication objectives. Remember, “nothing” is a possible answer.
The right actions and result
What specifically will your visitors do as a result of visiting you? This is the most valuable question of all. If their intent matches with your desired follow-up behavior you are on your way to ROI. Are your visitors more inclined to do business with your company? Do they find your company to be a good fit for their needs? These elements can be determined with questions such as, “Do you plan to make changes (or a purchase) based upon what you learned today?" or “Is it more likely that you will purchase products from us ?”, etc. These metrics are guaranteed to be of interest to the top management of your company.
Determining the number of visitors who actually take a prescribed step at or after your show is the ultimate measure of success. You may even be able to place a potential value upon those people taking that step if the step is one the sales team has defined and therefore knows the probable value associated with it.