There are usually so many things to think about when organising and running an event that sometimes important metrics slip under the radar, or are deliberately ignored. Unfortunately, one of these metrics is ROI – but as an article on Event Magazine notes, there really is no excuse for ROI not being properly measured and later leveraged for business success.
Experiential marketing has evolved massively in recent years and is enjoying a significant increase in budget allocation. But with the extra money comes the extra responsibility to evaluate success and measure value, to better inform future spend… But is that what actually happens? Our experience of working with agencies and clients suggests that effective measurement of ROI is in the minority rather than the majority.
So why aren’t more professionals taking advantage of the benefits measuring ROI can offer? Well this can be partly down to not fully considering why an event is being held or determining the desired outcomes of an event beforehand. If the end results aren’t specified, then there are no metrics in place for ROI to be measured against. Whether it’s more sales, followers or interactions, the end results of an event ideally need to be determined before any kind of ‘return’ can be quantified.
Even if there are no quantifiable end-results specified and the event is being classed as a ‘brand exercise’, things like online hits to a business’ website or online mentions can always be measured – changes on social media, for example, are very easy to track and simple things like an increase in fans or followers is an easy metric to measure. It is generally accepted that fans or followers also equate to more loyal customers; so if an event results in more online recognition, the event can generally be considered to have resulted in a positive ROI.
For an outcome like more sales it can, in theory, be easier to officially prove positive ROI, because the measurement is in value-terms. Nonetheless it’s still difficult to pinpoint whether a particular sale was the result of a particular interaction, a specific piece of marketing or a free gift, or all these marketing activities combined.
We designed brandWallet to help brands easily and unobtrusively measure their impact at events, both in terms of tracking sales but also in terms of capturing what information was of interest to each visitor, how many visitors emailed themselves a particular product sheet, etc. Using RFID technology, it enables a brand’s exhibition stand to display targeted, personalised information relevant to their needs whilst simultaneously recording the visitor’s actions and interests. This not only means the sales team have a detailed record of what each customer was interested in, but also provides top-level data which can be of value for R&D purposes.