Calculating Post-Event Return On Investment

In our previous segments, we’ve gone into how to curate the perfect event list and how to get your stakeholders involved in your planning process (and why it’s a good idea). Let’s assume you’ve just wrapped up your event, it’s now time to calculate your return on investment—and both of our previously covered topics are going to help you do that. Here’s how to calculate your ROI after an event wraps up.

Easy ways to beef up your return on investment post-event

Once your event wraps up, it can seem like it’s out of your hands. Not so, however. Any event marketing campaign is likely to yield 5–10 touchpoints with your target audience. Don’t neglect these in the afterglow of an event. Work with your sales and account management teams to craft a communication cadence for your target groups. We find it especially helpful to break them up into three categories:

  1. Attendees
  2. No shows
  3. People who did not respond to the invite

Following up with all of these groups is ideal for helping to calculate your ROI post-event. Here’s how you do it.

Following up with attendees

In spite of the fact that these are, by definition, people who attended your event, following up with attendees can actually be the most labor-intensive. It’s important to debrief with your onsite team to decide who you can follow up with directly, and who you can slot into a drip campaign. At bare minimum, you should send attendees the post-event survey and a piece of interesting content. Secondly, each attendee deserves a call from their contact owner—after all, they did just show up for 1:1 face time with your brand! This group is likely to have a direct impact on your return on investment, so treat them accordingly.

Following up with no-shows and non-responders

For invitees that responded, but did not attend (the no-shows in question), the easiest way to follow up with them is to email and call them to let them know what a fun event they missed. Sending that combined with interesting content could be just the thing to nudge them in the direction of following through for your next event.

For non-responders, you’ll want to proceed with caution. If the event was highly visible and well-advertised, it might be worth following up with them to let them know what they missed. In most other cases, however, you should assess on an individual basis. There’s a chance that the event wasn’t on a non-responder’s radar at all, and you risk alienating them as a connection with an unexpected follow-up about an event they didn’t even know was happening.

In any case, these follow-ups should be ready to go the moment the event ends. You should send them out while the event is still fresh in everyone’s minds.

Recapping return-on-investment with your stakeholders

Regardless of who you’re going to follow up with post-event, you’ll want to debrief with your stakeholders as well. Although 1/3 of marketers cite ROI as a success metric, 3/5 don’t use any kind of tool to measure it. Comparing your returns against your stated goals can be an easy way to quantify your ROI, but you can also use any of the following metrics to assist:

  • Follow-up meetings booked
  • Demos requested
  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs)
  • Revenue in pipeline and actualized revenue
  • Social impressions and engagements related to event
  • Attendee clout and/or buying power

Any of these metrics can be helpful when debriefing with your stakeholders, but it’s going to be up to you to decide which metrics are the most helpful to explain your return on investment. In addition, be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • Did you meet your goals?
  • Were there any stand-out interactions? How is the progress on follow-ups?
  • What were the client event survey results? What worked well?
  • What could have gone better?
  • Would you do it again? Why? Why not?

Being able to answer these questions as you debrief with stakeholders is a surefire way to ensure that your event goes well from planning to execution. If you’re looking for more tips on event planning from start-to-finish, download Kapow’s new white paper, “The field marketer’s guide to events in 2018.”


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