Meeting the Challenge of ROI

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Meeting the Challenge of ROI


Event professionals are in the busy season of conferences, meetings and events with a main focus of taking these events into the Operations phase. When the dust settles, remember to stay focused on capturing and measuring the return on your event investment through careful analysis of the event performance.

Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of corporate event marketing can be a challenge. Too often, ROI feels nebulous, intangible. But it doesn’t have to be.

In fact, measuring your event marketing ROI is a key component of the Wilsonwest four-step process: Insight, Innovate, Implement, and Interpret. So I thought I’d share three tips for measuring event ROI.

  • Establish clear objectives and benchmarks. Measuring the impact of your event starts long before the big day (or night), during the goal development phase. If you don’t know what your goals are, you’ll never know if you achieved them. So be clear on what you want to accomplish. Do you want to generate leads? Build your brand? Educate people?
  • Decide what data you need to capture to measure your objectives. There are lots of ways to capture data. But we like to go beyond the usual surveys and questionnaires. Yes, we use them. But we also observe. Are people engaged in the sessions? Asking questions? Leaving early? And if engagement seems low, why? Was the speaker boring or did we choose the wrong topic?
  • Determine when you’re going to gather data. Some data may have to be gathered after the event – e.g. when sales or appointments are generated. Other will be collected during, or even before the event.

After the event, we conduct a full event audit. It includes the surveys, interviews, our own observations, and any goal achievement data the client might provide, e.g. whether they got the desired appointments or sales after the event. Once that information has been processed during our client debrief, we can map the event to the desired outcomes and determine a more measurable ROI.

But it’s not over yet. Next we have to take what we’ve learned and use that knowledge to help drive the next event, the next insight. Corporate event marketing is a cycle, and success comes from building on our successes, and learning from our challenges.

If you’d like to learn more, call us at 415.282.4560, or e-mail us via

Cindy Wilson


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