Where Your Event ROI Is Hiding

If you’re only measuring event ROI based on conversions made during your event, you’re leaving vast amounts of data on the table.

The event your prospect attends is one point in time of the buyer’s journey. Think of the event journey as a major leg of the entire buyer’s journey. You already know that every engagement provides buying signals that you can use to give your company a more complete picture of prospects, leads, and customers. The event journey adds an entire complement of rich data to the ROI equation beyond the event itself. From registration and on-site activities to post-event feedback, your event prospects send a significant number of signals that can be captured to maximize your event ROI.

Only 34% of CMOs can prove long-term ROI of marketing spend. So the pressure is on for CMOs to show CEOs the money, or in today’s data-driven climate, “show me the data.” Now events take up 28% of the average marketing spend. The result of this is that the “show me the data” concept is changing into a “show me the event ROI” mandate, especially for CEOs. To define event success, CEOs are asking: How many leads did we get from this event? How many will convert into opportunities? How much revenue did we generate? In short, what are the numbers? And where is my credible event ROI?

If you’re wondering where your event ROI might be hiding, chances are you’re only capturing data before and after an event. Capturing data during the entire event lifecycle will not only get you data, but it will get you customers. By capturing buying signals at events, this will help marketers generate leads, grow their pipeline, and produce credible event ROI.

Your event marketing journey begins with segmenting your audience. Who are you trying to engage, and what will the person's roadmap through your event look like? The most successful events are ones where the marketer understands the possible paths for each type of prospect (segment) and directs that journey to a desired outcome.

By personalizing event invitations, creating promotional codes, and engaging with potential attendees in ongoing email marketing outreach, you can increase your event attendance by as much as 30%. And by making suggestions based on information that you have already gathered on prospects in advance, you can make session and product recommendations so that you are further qualifying your attendees before they even attend the event.

If marketing automation is about “digital body language,” event automation is about actual body language. Technology can capture every single interaction, including event registrations, event attendance, check-in, booth visits, appointments, session registrations, and session attendance.  

Integrate your marketing automation system with your event automation system to gain the power to capture and leverage real-time event data. When your buyer leaves a session, fire off a campaign to attract her to a related demo, sponsor, or another session. Leverage in-event data to accelerate your sales cycles and generate revenue.   

Think of the ROI that can be increased after the event as well from both the pre-event engagement and the event itself. Did you know that prospects are 60 times more likely to convert if someone follows up with them within one day from initial contact? So after you’ve captured 300 data points at the event, you can leverage that rich attendee data to inform your CRM and fuel your sales and marketing pipelines.  

Once you’ve incorporated your event data into your marketing automation system, some of the best follow-up marketing and event automation practices include: producing an attendee engagement score and then reaching out to your prospects based on their event behavior and the insights you’ve gathered. Through lead nurturing, the prospect moves through the sales and marketing funnel, from MQL to SQL, until the lead converts into an opportunity. From there, your company is one step closer to closing that deal and achieving that ever-elusive event ROI.  

The collection of attendee behaviors captured at your event is crucial in understanding if a prospect is about to become a customer or if a customer is about to stop being a customer, but it’s only one piece of the marketing and event automation pie. Without marketing and event automation working together, who knows where all of this data is captured? All attendee data is actionable information that can be used to turn that prospect into a customer. By capturing data during all stages of the event lifecycle, you can evaluate and increase event ROI.

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