Is your event strategy paying off? How to calculate your event ROI
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Sarah Shewey is the Founder & CEO of Happily, a platform that rapidly assembles experiences for the fastest growing brands in the world with the largest network of freelance event producers. She is also the co-founder of TEDActive, the founder of EXP, a co-founder of The Margin, and the board president of dublab.
Events have increasingly become an important channel in the marketing mix, despite how notoriously “impossible” it is to measure the ROI, or return on investment. When people show up to your event, they are willingly giving you their attention for hours on end – not trying to avoid attention-grabbing ads.
A well produced experience provides a great way to reach outside of your existing networks, build a pipeline of new customers, transform existing customers into superfans, and position your brand as a thought leader. In 2017, only 7% of marketers said that events were their most important marketing channel. Last year, that number rose to 41% according to a survey done by Bizzabo.
As the founder of Happily, the largest network of event producers in the United States, I’ve had backstage access to thousands of events – some wildly successful like TED and others that didn’t ever get traction in building an engaged community.
What has defined the successful ones?
The experiential marketing industry has long struggled to measure success in a meaningful way. They propose all the same KPIs (key performance indicators), but rarely do those KPIs provide a benchmark to determine if an event is successful or give marketers the ability to tell what worked and what didn’t. They especially fall down when customers aren’t won until months after an event.