Once you've convinced people to come to your event, you must continue to prove to your company that the event investment is a sound one. According to Jack Morton's McGonnigal, the focus on return on investment is even stronger now in a still struggling economy. “What gets measured gets funded,” he said. “If you can't justify through measurements, events fall by the wayside.”
In a 2011 update to its annual “Site Index,” the Site International Foundation, an association of meetings professionals, found 79% of survey respondents said the need to prove return on investment as well as return on objectives is increasing. In addition, 67% of respondents agreed that the requirements to measure both will increase over the next one to three years. (The online survey, released in August, drew responses from 73 association members.)
And that means before an event even begins it's important for marketers to have a measurement plan in place. Decide what the goals of the event are, what measurements will help determine those goals were met and how they are going to be measured throughout the event.
Deltek's Edmondson Wolfe said that, before an event begins, her team looks at historic data and metrics to see how they might affect any decisions going forward. When the metrics plan is complete, it does not consist of simply looking at how many people attended, she said. “Instead of saying, "Look at all the leads we brought in,' we look at the influence we had on the overall deal size and reducing the sales cycle.”