29 Jan 2019 | by Anthony Kelly

Planning an event is no mean feat. The time and resources invested into organising a corporate event, whether it be for internal or external audiences usually requires that the business receive a return on their investment. When organising an event, one of the first questions to ask is “what does success look like?”

In some cases, this can be a simple question to answer and consequently it becomes easy to measure. It could be the number of attendees at your event, or specifically the number of new prospects. Alternatively, it could be based on the uplift in sales, post event, or the number of new business leads generated. However, particularly with internal events, it is not always that simple. Success may not be measured in such an easily quantifiable figure.  Often the success of an event  is based around sentiment or understanding. The earlier you can determine “Event Success” the easier it becomes to set objectives and implement the correct measurement tools.

Below are three measurement techniques to help you prove the return on investment from your events:

1. Surveys

Often overlooked, surveys can prove to be invaluable when measuring event success if implemented properly. Surveys act as a method of collecting data from a predefined audience (event attendees) to help gather insights to questions answered. The true power of a survey comes into play when you utilise them over a period of time. Asking the same questions to the same audience at different points can begin to provide answers into how the audience feels after certain actions have been taken or messages have been released. They can show if an audience has achieved a greater understanding or if a message has left them confused. Tools such as SurveyMonkey or Typeform provide a platform, which facilitates the creation of online surveys that allow you to easily collect and collate information across a wider period, in the typical survey format.

However, events open up the ability to collect information in a range of ways, to temperature check how attendees feel as they flow through an event or throughout breakout sessions. IPads can be strategically located around an event with emoji style buttons to gauge sentiment of attendees, or live voting systems can be implemented with results shown on the big screen. Alternatively, build these surveys into a wider event comms plan with an event app, providing attendees access to your brand and messaging at their fingertips equipping you with the ability to provide alert prompts.

2. Social Listening

Not only can a unique event hashtag provide brand awareness and momentum, it has the added benefit of becoming a great listening tool for your business. With the ability to use hashtags across a range of social platforms, it allows you to identify which platforms your attendees utilise, their general sentiment around your brand and ask questions to a live panel during your event. Hashtags also allow the opportunity to identify brand advocates and highlight areas of improvement. Whilst this may seem daunting it can create some fantastic brand stories, cast your mind back to 2018’s #KFCCrisis and I’m sure you will remember how KFC managed to win around their audience through clever social listening, and understanding the mood of their audience.

 

There are a number of intelligent tools to aid you in your social listening such as SproutSocial and Hootsuite to name but a few. Do not stop with listening. Use hashtags as an amplification tool at your event to encourage interaction and engagement; create social walls, which display social activity throughout your event.

3. RFID Technology

Initially RFID technology, often referred to as beacon technology, was seen as being cost inhibitive and little more than a gimmick. However, as the cost of this technology has reduced it has been opened up to greater uses. Often built into wearable tech such as lanyards and wristbands RFID technology now has a multitude of uses: providing insights and data on behavioural patterns. Whether it is determining delegate flow, or taking your event to the next level and going cashless, RFID provides real-time insights that can help you to measure not only the success of your event but improve identify operational improvements for the future.

Measuring event success does not have to be a difficult or expensive task. In-fact it can often help you to save money, setting objectives  at an early stage allows you to identify critical success factors and focus your budget and resources on areas that will truly deliver results.

Check out our “Event Brief” template to help you identify your objectives and effectively plan for future events.

Anthony Kelly

By Anthony Kelly

Anthony began his marketing career back in 2008 after studying business management & marketing at the University of Stirling. He joined the events and incentive travel industry in 2015 after spending a number of years in the engineering, oil & gas and transport & logistics industries.More articles by Anthony Kelly