What is the value of events? How to set goals and measure results

Meetings, trade fairs, conferences, sales events – many different kinds of events are organized by and for companies. But what effect do they have? What is their return on investment (ROI)? The question whether an event is really worthwhile or not is often a matter of speculation.

Events are no different from any other project a company carries out: At some point, management and stakeholders want to know what the benefits are. Measuring the impact of an event is important for various reasons:

  • It puts an end to biased and subjective estimates (“These conferences aren’t worth it, they are just a waste of time and money!”)
  • It reinforces the credibility and sense of an event in terms of ambitious targets or stakeholders (e.g. revenue targets, customers or purchasing).
  • It makes the cost of major events easier to justify.
  • It makes it easier to evaluate the impact of an event compared to other communication measures.

A real cost-benefit analysis shows what the event contributes in euros (in other words giving them an actual monetary value) would be ideal, but is generally not so easy to do.

Soft factors play a key role
Because an event does not always have a clearly definable monetary value, a more differentiated approach is needed. It may be relatively easy to determine the revenue generated during or after a sales event, and the same can be said for a trade fair. But what about an incentive? How can employee motivation be measured against sales or revenue figures? Or how about the brand loyalty of customers after a marketing event? It is clear that such events depend on soft factors, which is why they deliver completely different values.

You can’t manage what can’t be measured
The experts at CWT Meetings & Events have dealt with this topic for many years, because let’s face it, the question of measurability is nothing new. Using a scientific approach, they have developed a method that focuses on objectives. In a nutshell: If you want to know the benefits of an event, you must decide beforehand what its objectives should be. What’s more, to find out whether you have reached the goal you have set yourself, you also need comparison values. For example, if you want to measure whether your employees are more motivated after a kick-off meeting, you need their subjective estimate of how motivated they were before the meeting and after it. Only if you set yourself detailed objectives and relate them to participants’ behaviour can you design events that really achieve what you want them to.

Study the impact of the event
CWT M&E ROO (ROO stands for Return on Objectives) is a tool developed by the event experts at CWT to measure the impact of events. Using questionnaires and personal interviews before and after the event, it not only records the impact of the event itself, but also compares it with values from comparable events and other communication measures. Customers receive an assessment that shows them how successful the meeting was.

To sum up, although it may not always be possible to determine an event’s value added in euros, there are other values and figures that are at least as important for companies. What really matters, however, is that figures are generated at all – only if you measure things can you change, improve, defend and communicate them. Or in other words manage your company.

If you want to know more about ROO and how to measure the results of your meetings and events, then get in touch with us – we would be happy to help! Find your local CWT Meetings & Events and the contact details at www.cwt-meetings-events.com .

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