If the Ultimate Goal is Business Improvement…

If the Ultimate Goal is Business Improvement…
and, of course, it must be for the long-term success of the company, then all concerned – from the CEO to the VP of Marketing to each Event Manager – need to understand how exhibit results can help grow the business. Seems simple, but often finding the right metrics that captures contribution from a business perspective is a difficult hurdle in event measurement.

You may have 1,000 customers and prospects visit your exhibit or conference, but none of those visitors have an identifiable value until you can link them to an element in the simplified profit equation: Revenue – Expense = Profit. To be successful you must think of event activities in terms of profit to the company.

Consider the simple relationships between typical event activities, business processes and the simplified profit equation:

Seeing and documenting new prospects (sometimes referred to as developing leads) is really customer acquisition.
Seeing existing customers and thanking them for the business, providing executive access and introducing them to preferential programs is really customer retention.
Briefing customers at a conference on how to use, manage and troubleshoot a system or product is really customer support.
Asking customers and prospects questions at an event is really product or market research.
Spreading and reinforcing the brand and priority messages is really advertising.
So, tying event accomplishments to value might be more straightforward than previously thought. Ask the people who manage these functions within your company for the following values:

What is the cost of acquiring a customer? How much are you willing to spend to get a customer?
What is the annual value of a customer? Do you sell a onetime service or product, or do you have a recurring stream of revenue?
What does it cost to support the customer? For example, what is the average cost of a call to the support center?
What do you spend on product or market research? Be sure to include focus groups, attitude and awareness surveys, and brand research and testing.
What is the cost of our advertising on a gross and targeted impression basis?
Most event interaction goals can be tied to the numbers above. Then you can speak about event accomplishments in business terms, and report accomplishments as either contribution to revenue or a reduction in cost.

The difference between the cost to acquire a customer, and the average value of an existing customer is the value of retaining a customer. Customer retention should be a primary event marketing goal. Mention customer retention and you will get any executive’s attention.

How many customers were briefed on a new product at your last show?
What would be the cost to do that in the field?
How many technical questions were fielded at your conference or at a show?
How many calls to the call center were avoided?
What was the impact on customer satisfaction and the associated impact on customer retention?
Linking event activity to these types of business accomplishments puts events in the context of business improvement.

September 25, 2015