Real ROI for Events
Consider the time, resources and energy tied up with one event. Whether it’s a company-hosted and produced event, an event you simply sponsor, or an event or conference your employees attend for learning or networking, it’s a HUGE investment.
When you review or report your event results, how confident do you feel that it yielded a significant ROI? Do you understand the real return on your investment? The overwhelming fact is that most events fall short in at least a few areas. You might not even be rating your performance nor even have some categories of event planning on your radar. To outline the areas to consider, an event planner I partner with, Cat Beltmann, SoGood Consulting, and I created a very top-level list for starters.
In a meeting full of optimism a conversation may find you creating an event concept anew or breezing over the details of a reoccurring type event, assuming the template is in place from prior events. Whatever the case, thoughtful discussion upfront about the event's goal is key. It may be a much-needed event you'll benefit from, but a full analysis of the risks and resources first will get you on the same page before you go any further.
The task of event planning may live with internal company resources passionate about the event goal, but their available time or skill set doesn’t necessarily align with the details and nuances required to pull off a great event while taking advantage of all of the before and after opportunities. Use your team wisely, seek expertise early in areas that aren't your strong suits. At the onset, set a budget and task list and determine your event ROI measurements.
Event planning and execution
There are so many nuances to a good event from social media and media relations opportunities to parking and registration to setting clear expectations of the event to welcoming guests when they arrive and leave -- just being an attentive host! If you are familiar with your event format, say it's a monthly luncheon you do, then you probably have a lot of history to plan a solid event the next month. But there are always new angles and opportunities to consider. If it's something new, larger scale or a new area, you may want to consult with an expert. They will get you on the right track with strategies, reputable connections (caterers, photographers, etc) and even the event execution itself.
If the event goal is to reach an external audience, your pre-event timeline should include ample time to reach out in person and generate some interest in the event and a commitment from others to save the date or attend. Maybe you'll even write a few blog posts or share some resources with your sales team to give them the tools to market the event on their own. This is an oft overlooked part of events, but it is a critical activity for the start of relationships you can build anew or continue to build upon when the event arrives (and bonus, it gets you real RSVP's!).
After the event, due the intensity of the event itself, planners experience burnout. Plus they immediately need to jump back into the daily task they may have put on hold. This is where we believe many companies miss opportunities. At a minimum, a thank you email, some event photos or sharing of resources provided at the event, is key for bringing your event full circle. You might even do a brief survey, but don't wait until after the event to create it. Do it all before the event so you're ready to send out in a timely manner when the content and feedback will be top of mind for event attendees.
I started writing event recaps years ago as a way to form ideas and expand on what I'd learned at events. I would post them as a blog and invite my new contacts from the event to connect on LinkedIn and take a read through of the recap. Surprisingly, I don't see too many organizations doing this. You just orchestrated a great event! Why not share some of the great learning, inspiration or new insight that came out of the event? This synergy only happens live and you can own that on social media channels and leverage it long after the event itself.
Partner with the Planners
Outside of these top-level considerations for specific events, you might also have strategic, brand building and business goals you want your events to meet. For example, we can offer guidance on a number of items like: What type of events should you host or participate in? What causes should you support? Which leaders and teams should attend or speak at other events? What type of budget do you need?
As event planning and communications experts, partnering with us could offer relief and comprehensive event planning. Our job is to think of everything while providing guidance and advice that helps you leverage your events to the fullest. Well-planned events serve many purposes and synchronize many moving pieces that come together in extremely valuable in-person connections that build your brand, lasting relationships and impressions. So before you're swept up in a flurry of must-do events, reach out to us -- start the new year with event sanity and peace of mind that yields a high ROI!
-- Cat and Jennifer (Reach out to Jennifer for a one-sheet on event and communications expertise)