Thursday, January 24, 2013

Measurement Tip 21

How does anyone determine the success and ROI of a party, networking event or even a golf outing held during a conference or event?
Hospitality and other ancillary events abound at trade shows and conferences.  Most of the ones I have attended were not planned to deliver much in the way of ROI.  However, it is quite practical for receptions, mixers, networking events and even golf outings to produce important and valuable accomplishments for your company and to expand the value derived from participation in the main marketing event or trade show.  Here is how…
My model for event value considers four overall benefit categories for any face-to-face activity.  These four questions will lead you to plan for and establish measures for your accomplishments.  Not every event will provide accomplishments against all four values.  The examples given are in terms of ancillary private events:

1) How will an ancillary event increase sales opportunities for the host? Meeting new prospects and accomplishing the initial steps in establishing relationships benefits sales results.  Sales may be able to provide an estimated value for a new prospect.

2) How will the activity protect and retain existing customers and revenue? A private affair for current customers is a good example. Using an event to protect your existing customer base and then to up-sell a customer provides value you can prove for the company. Current customers may be introduced to new programs or incentives at an ancillary event.  Explore customer retention rates, the average revenue value of a customer and estimated cost to replace a lost customer for your value estimates.

3) How will the event save the host money? Bringing high-value contacts, prospects, partners and suppliers together at the same time to see something or someone (such as an executive or expert) in one place may avoid several future trips and perhaps, events at your company’s additional expense. A great example is a mixer for the press and media when your company is launching a new product.

4) How much exposure will the event generate for the host company's products and brands?  Exposure is counted in the form of impressions. This is the same metric used in advertising and PR efforts. Use signature ancillary events and their associated promotion and publicity to position your company, products and priority messages. Another worthy objective is to establish your company as a thought leader by providing provocative and valuable content during the event. If possible, seek out assistance from your communications team members to help you estimate what the exposure generated at an event may be worth.

Develop your event plan to deliver accomplishments in each of the four elements of value.  Then you can apply metrics to document achievements.  
The basis for all measures is personal interactions.  Counting interactions with people who fit targeting criteria is the basic measure for elements 1 - 3.  Estimate a value for each person "activated" via their interaction with your team at the event for each of your defined goals. The activation may be to become a committed lead, to resign as a customer, to attend a function in lieu of a future one, or to receive your images and messages.

For value #4, Promotion, count impressions made on people. Impressions are visible or audible images of your company's brands and messages that fall on the eyes and ears of many different target audiences addressable through the events. Use your advertising cost per impression as a guideline to estimate value.

If you collect and report any results in the form of accomplishments in any or all of the elements of value listed above, your management will be more confident with their investment and with you as a competent manager of the business.