At the core of event success measurement are three critical factors that provide the template for a compelling data set that will pique the interest of executives ultimately responsible for the experiential marketing activities at your company. These must-have “critical success factors” are:
- Attracting enough of the right people to your exhibit or event, that is those individuals who can actually benefit your business.
- Delivering compelling messages that motivate those people to act.
- Obtaining actions from those participants who will lead directly to profit improvement for your company, such as either an increase in revenue or a reduction in cost.
The shorter, easier-to-remember version goes like this:
- The Right People
- The Right Message
- The Right Actions and Results
If you miss one of the three, you are not likely to justify your investment in the event. It is essential that they be executed somewhat in that order. That is why pre-event and post-event activities are just as important as event execution.
The Right People
Determine the show demographics and know how many people attending the show fit your target profiles. Identify them to the individual level if the information is available.
Make a forecast of the number of targets that will be there and what percent you will see throughout the show – identifying prospects from clients, if possible. Track the number of people who come to your exhibit or venue. Develop averages and totals for the program year.
Determine how many visitors are seriously engaged versus just entering a drawing or making a casual walk-through. Use exit polls or surveys. There are firms that will conduct these types of interviews on behalf of your company, or you could position two staff members outside the booth. Make your survey brief so as not to annoy targets by taking up too much time. All of this data should be included in your show summary.
The Right Message
The only way to know if your messages are resonating with customers and prospects is to ask them. Use exit surveys or post-show surveys to determine:
- Can attendees recall, repeat or describe the points you were trying to convey?
- Does the message they have retained have any potential effect on their future plans?
- Does the message they heard present a solution to problems, or an improvement in process or profitability?
- Do they believe what you told them?
A great open-ended question is to ask visitors, “What was the most important thing you learned during your visit?” Compare their answers with your event objectives. Remember, “nothing” is a possible answer and tells you a great deal!
The Right Actions and Results
What specifically will your visitors do as a result of visiting you? This is the most valuable question of all. If their intent matches with your desired follow-up behavior, then you are on your way to a positive ROI.
If you want to know if visitors feel inclined to do business with your company based on what they learned, you could ask questions such as, “Do you plan to make changes, or purchase a product, based on what you learned today?” or “Would you be more likely to purchase products from us based on the discussion you had with our staff?” These answers are guaranteed to be of interest to the management of your company.
Determining the number of visitors who actually take a prescribed step at or after your show is the ultimate measure of success. You may even be able to place a potential value upon those people taking that step, if the step is one the sales team has defined and therefore knows the probable value associated with it.
Measuring results based on established objectives is critical in gaining executive management support for investment in future events. For more information about setting event objectives and measuring them, contact Exhibitus Results Division today.