Your staff is essential to obtaining, measuring and reporting great ROI on your events!
It is a demonstrated fact that a well trained staff delivers higher event payback. Did you know they are essential to measuring and reporting your results as well?
To be effective, exhibit and event staff must be clear on the company’s objectives for participating in a marketing event, what the measurable, expected outcomes are and their role in obtaining them. Measurement and reporting of an event requires documenting as many visitors to the event or exhibit as possible, reporting on the number of engagements and meetings that occur, and documenting qualitative aspects of the event such as the quality of the marketing opportunity and competitive intelligence. Reporting tools and skills, for use before, during and after the event are important.
For an event to be successful, the event staff must be capable of separating the highly qualified prospects from the crowd. Once separated, the staff is the logical choice to count and document these engagements. In fact, the “extra-exhibit” activity for most of our trade show clients is considerable and affects results. Documenting how many demonstrations, product reviews, discussions and meetings take place is necessary for reporting on an event’s success. These activities build relationships and reduce the cost of doing business in a number of ways, including the cost of future sales calls. The better these activities are documented, the easier it is for event managers to estimate the potential cost savings from these activities to use as justification for the event investment.
More formal meetings with high value contacts, i.e. those with a specific purpose or topic of discussion, are among the most valuable accomplishments at a marketing event. The sales team, executives and select others are in attendance and are in the best position to document the meeting and its’ results. Documented meetings provide some of the greatest potential cost savings associated with an event. Where practical the “front of house” or information desk staff at larger events can provide much of the meetings tracking. Technology, such as visitor management and meeting management software systems, mobile phone applications and tablet based systems are making it easier for the staff to provide the data.
Someone must be responsible and must be trained to make it happen. Pre-event training via on-line modules and on-site event training through briefings should be given strong consideration.
Another form of input is intelligence gathering, specifically competitive intelligence. Define clear goals with event staff before arriving at the show. Identify the competitors participating at the event and determine what type of information might be accessible at the event that would be helpful to your company’s plans. Consider all of the different places your competitors may share information openly at an event. Remember speeches and workshops, etc. Consider competitors marketing plans that may include a new product introduction for example. Mobile tools make it easy for the staff to input competitive and customer intelligence as it is received. Again, the staff must be tasked and trained to accomplish these missions.
After an event, it is essential for staff to report their experiences at the event. For example, the staff and stakeholder post-event survey allows staff to comment on the effectiveness of the event, the quality of their visitor interactions and their recommendations for making future events more effective. Staff survey participants can rank the quality and quantity of the targeted guests/visitors, assess how the company measured against the competition, rate their own performance, identify high-ranking guests at the event (those wonderful bragging rights about who visited your company at an exhibit) and even specific tactics for future shows. This information, if collected in a consistent fashion, can be accumulated and analyzed to help define the success of the exhibit marketing program and can be turned into a report for company management to justify budgets and staff sizes for the following show cycle.
Make activating and training your staff a priority. You will find not only better results reporting, but a more engaged and effective staff.