Analyzing and measuring customer behavior are just as important in event marketing as they are in areas such as social media marketing or digital advertising.

Nevertheless, many event marketers still aren’t measuring their events, instead applying the bulk of their resources to planning and implementation. The truth is you can master event marketing measurement at every stage of the process. The trick is knowing what metrics are important to measure when, and how you can use that data moving forward.

Different Metrics for Different Events

The future of event marketing will be all about data and how marketers can appropriately measure and assess the success events. That being said, not all events are alike. This means that, although you can’t measure each event in the exact same way, you can use the same process to figure out what to measure in each case.

A Guest Post By Krystal Putman-Garcia, VP of Marketing for Localist.

So how do you measure events? First, you need to identify the specific goal(s) of each event. The goal will then help you determine the appropriate metrics to use.

For example, if your goal is to drive attendance, you might consider tracking registrations, check-ins, and attendee demographics. Marketers who heavily value engagement will also want to track metrics like email opens, free trials or product demonstrations, and near-field communication (NFC) sensor swiping.

But what if the sole purpose of your event is to generate buzz about your company, brand, or sponsors? Key metrics here could include social media engagements, such as likes and back-and-forth conversation between your brand and event attendees. In addition, the number of unique individuals reached online can give marketers a clear benchmark against which to measure actual event attendance. Finally, it goes without saying that events should have a strategic, informative hashtag. But don’t just set it and forget it – track the hashtag’s use on social to get a better sense of the efficacy of your messaging.

Let the Data Direct Your Event

The metrics you use should inform your event strategy. If your efforts will be judged on engagement rather than attendance, look for ways to continually deepen engagement at an event. Are there tools or methods you can implement that might drive engagement? Could you track downloads or activations, for example? The key point is this: Knowing what you want to measure will help you decide what your event needs and what it doesn’t.

Let the data you’ve collected at past events inform future events. If you saw high engagement levels but low attendance, for example, consider how you might boost attendance. Do you need to do more pre-event advertising? Direct outreach? Could you engage industry influencers and invite them to attend your event, and in the process, promote it to their audiences?

Tactical decisions such as these can be guided by data collected at past events. If you’ve never collected data before, don’t worry. You have to start somewhere! Any effort you put into measurement today will pay dividends in future.

Use and Connect Event Technologies to Get the Right Data

Event marketers have never had as many tools at their disposal as they do now. From geofencing to near-field communication, you can use technology to enhance, measure, and optimize your event from the get-go. With so many services available, knowing in advance what you seek to measure will help you select the right measurement tool.

The most important question to ask when choosing a tool is will it give you the data you need? You want to maximize your ROI from any tool you select; make sure it’s one you know how to use and that it will collect data on the appropriate metrics.

Luckily, there are technologies that will alloy you to track the various metrics mentioned above. Services like Hootsuite, Sysomos, and brandwatch  give you social listening power, and EventMobi is great for tracking engagement while providing attendees with fun challenges and contests.

In the end, there are a lot of innovative event apps and interactive tools out there. Experiment until you find a tool that fits your needs.

Don’t Focus on Attendance Alone

While it’s important to view events through the lens of key metrics like attendance, engagement, and social chatter, an event presents an opportunity for holistic collaboration across your entire organization. While you’re focusing on increasing attendance for the event itself, your sales team can use the event to conduct ground research, and your product marketing team can use it to drive sign-ups by providing access to the latest products or enhancements.

Can you involve other teams from within your organization to make your event a more engaging experience across the board? Don’t hesitate to involve them. Think of strategic ways to accomplish as many goals as you can. The result will be a better experience for attendees, as well as for your brand.

The Bottom Line

The future of event marketing is all about measurement and data-driven insights. With the right tools, metrics, and mindset, event marketers can plan with a data-driven focus that will not only enrich the experience for attendees, but also deliver real results for the brand.

Image Source (Creative Commons): Sebastiaan ter Burg.

krystalKrystal Putman-Garcia is the VP of Marketing for Localist, where she helps organizations maximize the value of their events to grow sales and engagement efforts. She has spent the past 15 years working in various marketing and partnership capacities, from managing and growing multi-million dollar sponsorships at Discovery Channel to leading market entry strategies for an Israeli medical device start up. In her free time, she loves spending time with her husband and two-year-old twins, hiking, traveling and running.

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