Three Steps to Event Success

You found a new tradeshow or event for your company to attend. The desire to participate can often be emotional; your competition will be there, the event host is influential in your industry, or you simply need new leads or sales.
Having a specific evaluation on the event can help you judge if the opportunity will be right for your business. Additionally, the assessment can also help identify your specific objectives for the event and provide a roadmap for success.  On that note, we’ve put together the following simple three step evaluation process that has helped us, as well as our clients, maximize the value from their event investments:

Determine Event Cost

How much will participation in the event cost? This should be your entire cost to participate, not just the registration fee for the event. Potential expenses include:

• Registration Fees
• Travel/Lodging
• Show Services (carpet, electricity, shipping, etc.)
• Giveaways
• Food/Beverage
• Entertainment
• Marketing (material creation, printing)
• Sponsorships

Note: That $1 tote bag may sound like a nice inexpensive add-on. Remember to ask yourself will this item influence my target audience? Another good question to ask is how does this expense directly support my event goals? Will it generate traffic or create brand awareness?

Determine Event Goals

What do you hope to gain by attending the event? It’s important to not only have a clear desired outcome from your participation but to have a plan to track or measure your return on investment (ROI). Below are some common goals of event participation and their measurements.

• Brand Awareness: # of visitors, # of samples distributed, social media reach, website traffic
• Lead Development: # of leads collected, % of leads that result in sales
• Sales: $ in on-site sales, $ of leads resulting in sales
• Customer Retention: # of current customers you meet during event, $ in additional product or service sales, $ you save in travel expenses by visiting customers at event
• Industry & Competitive Intelligence: # of competitors, variance in product/service offerings
• Strategic Alliances: # of new partners or industry associations, # of introductions to potential influencers

Note: If leads generation is an important goal, setting up a specific campaign in a CRM system is recommended. Events go by quickly and lead nurturing can be a long process. A few months down the road, you can run a report on your campaign to understand how many of the leads from the event where valid and were successfully closed.

Determine Event Audience

An engaging event presence or detailed measurement goals won’t make a difference if you aren’t talking to the right people. You already know your target audience; C-Suite, consumers, procurement, etc. Now you need to understand who will be attending this event.

If the event is new for your business, this can sometimes be difficult to determine. Reach out to the event host to fully understand:

• How many people are anticipated to attend this event?
• What are the roles of those attendees? What percentage of your target audience is anticipated?
• What is the atmosphere of the event? Are attendees looking to buy, network, or party until dawn?

NOTE: Tailor your event offerings to attract the people you need to meet. Using a giveaway can be a good traffic driver but it’s not likely to attract C-Suite professionals.

By fully understanding your event cost, goals and audience you can properly evaluate the potential of each event opportunity. If you aren’t certain that an event meets your business needs but you still feel your presence is necessary, consider participating as an attendee until you can better assess the event’s potential. Each event should be re-evaluated each year to consider changes in pricing, attendance, business goals and historical ROI.

CSG Services can help you increase your marketing plan’s overall effectiveness with integrated marketing strategies all in one place. In addition to Event Planning & Management, CSG 360 can provide List Support, Tele, Channel, Sales, Lead Routing, Data Integration, Surveys, Bi-Portal, Landing Page, Gift Fulfillment, ROI, Social, Creative and Chat.