July 25, 2016 | Melanie Wills
As event marketers, we can sometimes have a turbulent relationship with ROI. We long to find a perfectly matched partner and long-term harmony, but often end up settling for the short lived euphoria of an occasional fling.
So, as a bit of fun, using the age-old game of Snog, Marry, Avoid, read on to see how you currently treat your event ROI and how you could adapt your style to bring longer term ROI love.
Rather not look at ROI? Can’t stand to think about it? Or think that you can’t measure it? If this sounds familiar then you may fall into the camp of ‘avoid’.
The thought of measuring return on investment seems pointless. Making sense of the event data you’ve collected (if it’s been recorded properly to begin with) just takes up more time that you don’t have. You feel like you don’t need ROI calculations because you just instinctively know, right? After all, your exhibition stand looks great and is still turning heads…
But as with most relationships, paying a little more attention and learning to love your ROI – even if you just start off with a quick snog could help you improve your exhibiting success.
We suggest: like a first date, you have to start somewhere. Calculating your event ROI in the simplest of terms is: (Opportunities won – cost of event) / (cost of event) = ROI.
However there are further ways to measure event success. Set an objective of what you wish to gain from your exhibition presence. Next, decide upon the metrics upon which to measure and what methods you will use to collect this information. Use tangible numeric data where possible to show credible figures post-event.
Try to think positively and swipe right for ROI.
If you’ve snogged your ROI, you’ve probably paid it some attention; flirted with, teased it and may even have an impressive number to boast to your colleagues about following your brief encounter. But will it lead to an everlasting love?
The occasional snog will give your event ROI a fleeting moment of joy, but it won’t be leading you down the aisle anytime soon.
We suggest: devoting more consistent love and attention to your ROI so it grows into a stronger long term relationship. Ensure that as many metrics are being considered as possible and that the true results are usually calculated over a long period. Engagement (of the digital kind) during the show is a key driver and can easily be measured.
You’ve spent a long time nurturing this relationship, working through the negatives and celebrating the positives. You appreciate everything your ROI tells you (even if it does make you a little cross sometimes…).
Marrying your ROI is about more than just paying infrequent attention to an impressive figure. It’s about being in it for the long haul, keeping in mind that all your actions affect it and hopefully improving your understanding of it over time.
We suggest: keep at it! Every event marketer should learn to love their ROI and this means constantly nurturing and assessing how successful each exhibition was. Once you start tracking the right metrics for your business you will be able to use the results to optimise your event strategy which will in turn further improve your ROI.
Taking this one step further and aligning exhibiting goals with wider business objectives will allow you to put your ROI analysis and success into context.
For further ROI guidance, see our ‘How to align your business and exhibiting objectives’ blog post for more tips.
In truth, ROI is rarely perfect and can always be improved. You may need clearer communication on your aims at the briefing stage (we have a guide on how to create a great exhibition brief here), or a deeper level of intimacy that can be achieved with better on stand engagement.
Remember, by keeping a record of your ROI over each project, such as comparing an event over a number of years, it gives you a 360 degree view on event success when measured right and a way of seeing how your ongoing projects are improving over time.
What’s not to love?