I have always loved pie charts. Maybe it’s because they provide an easy graphical representation of allocations. Maybe it’s because they remind me of dessert. But if you run a quick report on the line items in your marketing budget, you’ll find that the most generous slice is made up of the live events you host every year. Whether they are client-oriented, industry-sponsored, or justifiable boondoggles, most firms invest heavily in group experiences that (hopefully) result in new business.
In spite of the sums invested, firms rarely have a standardized method for measuring a return on their events. While it’s good and well to “get the firm brand out there” and secure “exposure,” it’s even better when you can track the full lifecycle of the event, from the preliminary promotional effort to the post-game business outcome. Use these four steps to track the journey:
1. Promoting the Event
Start by tracking the number of promotional emails you send vs. open rates vs. click-throughs vs. registrations vs. attendees. This five-part ratio provides a benchmark you can improve upon from event to event.
2. Attendee Metrics
Once you have ascertained a target audience for your event, categorize your invitees according to client, prospect, and referral source. These metrics will tell you how effectively you attracted the people you were targeting on your invitation list. If any of the numbers are shy of your objective, it may be time to revisit the theme or venue of your event. Also track the number of internal attendees from your firm, especially if their clients have RSVPed. If the number of internal attendees is smaller than you’d like, work with firm leadership and other influencers who can motivate their colleagues. Finally, note the number of repeat attendees. These are the internal and external champions whose enthusiasm you have successfully secured through your efforts to date. They can also tell you what you’re doing right (and what you should do more of in the future).
3. Social Mentions
Take note of the number of mentions on social media and increased number of followers as a result of your event. While this number may be modest for a B2B event, it should be nurtured over time - it is a reflection of your internal and external champion base.
4.New Business Opportunities
It’s unlikely that a prospect will attend one of your events and engage the firm the next day. Typically, their interaction with your event will represent a single touch point in a series of emails, lunches, webinars, and pitches that eventually result in their business. However, if you run an analysis, you can certainly capture data on the number of events your existing clients attended prior to engaging your firm. That alone tells you how instrumental events are in your BD mix.
So the next time you try to assess (or justify) the larger slices of your marketing pie, start by building a case for ROI. Business intelligence tools like Practice Viewer can help you aggregate the data points recommended above into a comprehensive dashboard so you can demonstrate that your initiatives are an asset to the firm.
Interested in a finding out how Practice Viewer can help? Contact us for a demo.