Recently I came across this excellent article, published in the Harvard Business Review, about event spending. I’ve argued many times that event organizers have to determine specific business targets to execute events and then use tools to measure event ROI. Quite rightly, Frank Cespedes asks « The technology will also help you make a core decision: is attending, sponsoring or exhibiting at this event worth it?« . In his opinion, technology is a way for managers to control their costs before, during and after their events.
This question is fundamental when we see that 225 million people expected more than 1.8 million events sponsored by companies and associations according to the Convention Industry Council. The report underlined the fact that despite the difficult economic situation since 2012, the event expense about $565 billion in the world. « Hosting, attending and exhibiting at events including a whopping 21% of corporate marketing budgets » means that meeting has an important share of business expenses.
1st step: before
So, how to optimize the event spending? First of all, the manager should start by defining a clear set of goals, which can be ranged from lead generation to decision makers. This step is something I consider very important, but which is rarely done. Once objectives are determined, it comes to track King milestones thanks to the use of specific tools. For example, the pre-event registration is a typical tool that allows planners to boost the sale of ticket and the promotion of event. But on another side, receiving data permits to justify the spending and realize accountable metrics to follow the assessment.
2nd step: during
Increasingly, managers use technologies to organize their events. The fact that new technologies bring down costs and revenue opportunities for all stakeholders. Mobile event and tablet apps are first of all simple to implement by the event managers and easy to use by attendees. The mobile platform replaces complicated paper diaries, big venue maps and all standard documents. Everything takes place in only one tool; the event app. All these practices constitute a ‘giant leap’ for environment and above all for cost-reduction! Furthermore, mobile apps are suitable for engaging attendees, speakers (…) all stakeholders. This real-time tool allows attendees to share their opinions, their pictures and also interact with other participants and exhibitors. The main goal is to make everyone feel part of the community and create awesome memories.
In addition, using event app allows event managers to communicate with attendees and vice versa, by applying votes, surveys and quizzes. Nowadays, event cannot be resumed as a simple one – way comunication tool. We are able to talk about a two – way communication tool. Results shared can be displayed live on the event wall, which can be used to continue the conversation and energize an event.
3rd step: after
The post-event is a very important aspect to retrieve event data. Managers can gather metrics and then gauge the event thanks to quantitative and qualitative data. Did the event reach goals? Did attendees appreciate the event? Were attendees engaged? Thus, marketers can evaluate participant satisfaction, get ideas from attendees’ comments, see and which exhibitors found more success for example. Moreover, data can also help to close the loop. For sure, it depends on the objective event. With current customers, the primary goal could be to get in touch and set an appointment with decision markers, or influencers, but also enhance sales. With potential customers, the goal may be to increase networking, implement a brand presence or collect competitive intelligence. This is the case of many organizations like Bouygues Immobilier, SAGE or IBM which have chosen myQaa to provide their mobile event app.
Purpose ‘Too manay firms tends to mismanage their business-development expenditures (…) and they refuse to change their ways because that’s the way they’ve always done it. « It’s shame, really. » said Frank Céspedes. So now, event managers know all the benefits of event marketing.
They should know now what to do for getting more from their event spending!