The Art of Event Measurement

By Charlotte Winterbourne

On 12 December, Eventhuddle held one of their regular forums to debate ‘The art of event measurement’ at One Wimpole Street in London. Chaired by Kevin Jackson of ‘The Experience is the Marketing’, the discussion was enriched by an esteemed panel including Steve Messenger, founder of Redroute International; Graeme Coombes, a freelance events project manager; and Tom Lovegrove from Wasserman.

Experiences and events can be one of the most effective ways of generating engagement and promoting understanding of your brand, however the outcomes of this marketing channel may not always be tangible and event measurement itself can sometimes be viewed as perplexing, with questions such as both what and how to measure being continuously asked by event teams.

Eventhuddle’s informative panel generated some interesting conversations surrounding the methods of event measurement and which factors event profs truly view as valuable to measure, with insight from both the B2C and B2B sectors. In summary, measurement is crucial for the success of any event, and should not be ignored as a key marketing tool in reaching customers.

Continue reading below for our synopsis of what we learnt from the discussion on the art of event measurement:

The point of event measurement

As event measurement is such a debated matter, some may wonder what the point is of doing it in the first place. Measurement allows marketers to show return on investment (ROI) to stakeholders, a key consideration of any marketing campaign, and furthermore aids in justifying event budget to senior management.

It also helps to mould the success of future events, as once you hold an event, the process should occur in a cyclical fashion, measuring the events success, learning from this evaluation and then feeding it back into the next one.

In short, event measurement provides a method of bringing a client closer to their customer, and helps to deepen the understanding of their needs.

So how do you track ROI?

Many event profs claim there is no gauge for measuring events, but the simple answer is it is possible to both measure different types of events and experiences, and measure them in a uniform way by analysing behavioural change. However, in order to understand which action has changed, it must be identified what the event is trying to achieve. Does the target audience know who you are? Do they choose your brand over others? Do they outspokenly support you? Are they loyal?

Once you have established the aim, it is then beneficial to use experiential marketing to achieve this goal. Without setting this first, measuring the success in achieving the goal is impossible.

Looking at event measurement scientifically

In order to measure an event precisely, you must have two things: a key set of data points, and a solid understanding of your business strategy. Knowing this means you can translate a trivial event into a simple, quantifiable measure of performance increase. Set benchmarks for improvement to each individual portion, then attach a financial cost to achieving this benchmark to aid later calculations of ROI.

Objectives

Knowing the objective of the event, and ensuring it’s SMART, is imperative. Event objectives normally circle around awareness and perception, or the RAAVE acronym; increasing Relevancy of a brand, promoting Association with a brand, increasing Accessibility and availability to the brand, demonstrating Value for money, and finally meeting and raising Expectations.

These objectives should always promote an action as a result of attending the event and should be evaluated throughout the campaign, by asking attendees about their engagement with the brand before and after the event and seeing how it has changed.

Putting it simply, an event must always provide an event attendee with a tangible benefit for attending. Without providing value, there is less likelihood of retaining the audience, and without retaining the audience, there is no sustainable event, and thus doesn’t assist profitable growth.

The value of events

Events can be brilliant for awareness, but the usefulness of recognition becomes redundant without subsequent actions. Although experiential marketing shouldn’t be the first port of call to bring a broader comprehension when introducing a completely new concept to the market, it can aid with familiarity once customers are aware of its existence, and additionally, measurement can help event marketers know when it is the right time to enter into a brand’s journey.

Quality over quantity

Hand-in-hand with comprehending the success of your event is being truthful. Counting a delegate every time they leave for a loo break doesn’t aid accurate measurement of participation in any way.

You don’t always need thousands of delegates; having a smaller group representing the exact profile of your customer, and thus harvesting greater outcomes not output, is far more beneficial and will result in better engagement throughout and after the event. However, to achieve this you must understand the real depiction of the customer, and not a caricature.

Knowing your target audience

There’s a difference between a target audience and an aspirational one. The person you want to appeal to is the aspirational client, however this is more helpful for tone of voice. The target audience is the consumer who actually buys your product. The ‘art’ of event planning is being able to look at your customer profile intuitively and determining the difference.

Profiling can be made more accessible by social media, as data should be collected as a by-product of any event; for example by providing branded picture frames to encourage attendees to upload to twitter with feedback, or encouraging visitors to talk about attending before the events occurrence.

In conclusion…

Always ask where you are, where do you want to be and why?