You’ve put in the time to create a strategic event plan and your event has gone off without a hitch. But how do you determine if your corporate event or meeting is a success?
Before you dive into measuring and analyzing, know that event or meeting success isn’t necessarily one-size-fits-all—in other words, what makes your event or meeting a success might not be the same for another company or industry.
That said, there are some steps you can take—regardless of your meeting or event specifics—to develop some parameters that will help you measure success. Consider the following four steps that start of your to-do list.
If you work at a company that hosts a recurring meeting or event, this is an ideal opportunity to isolate and identify milestones that can be used to evaluate the event.
“ ‘Everyone agrees there is a path in the development of a meetings and events program, and if we can isolate some milestones along that journey, we can better understand where we are as an organization,’” said Milton Rivera, Vice President, Global Business Development and Strategy, American Express Meetings and Events, in the company’s 2018 Global Meetings and Events Forecast.
One common milestone is your audience. How does your attendance ebb and flow from year-to-year? Most companies would agree that an increase in attendees is a consistent sign of success.
You could also identify other milestones like cost per attendee, attendee engagement, meeting policy adoption and technology use to help further capture data that helps determine your event’s success.
Once you have milestones in place, it’s important to measure against them. Make sure you’re capturing and tracking the information that’s connected to your milestones. And don’t hesitate to measure other data, too.
It’s likely you’ll need a multimedia measurement plan. For example, you’ll want to track activity that’s happening on-site—registrations, presentation or session attendance. And you’ll also want to keep an eye on what’s happening online—social posts, for example, and hashtag use.
And if your event or meeting includes a mobile app, be sure to monitor its usage—or ensure you can access analytics once your event concludes so that you can take a closer look at app usage leading up to and during your event.
Another common way to measure event or meeting activity is with attendee surveys. After all, your attendees can offer valuable, on-the-ground feedback both during and after the event. Not only can this firsthand insight help offer additional data that might be used to measure your milestones; it might also help you identify other ways to determine your event’s success.
Once you have a comprehensive meeting measurement plan in place, it might be time for the next phase: benchmarking.
“Yma Sherry, Vice President, North America, American Express Meetings & Events, suggests that for meetings and events, benchmarking is ‘often like comparing apples to oranges because no two events are alike. We need the capacity to break out meeting elements and put them all back together to provide for effective assessment.’”
Benchmarking is, in essence, measuring your corporate event or meeting against events or meetings of other companies within your industry. You can use your milestones as a starting point. The next step is to identify the competitors against which you want to measure. Lastly, you’ll want to acquire data against which you can compare your own company’s event or meeting performance.
Keep in mind, as we mentioned earlier, that what might determine a successful event or meeting for your company might differ for other businesses. That said, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what else is happening in your industry. Then, you’ll have the insight to adjust your approach accordingly.
ABR (Always Be Refining)
Have you seen the infamous “ABC (Always Be Closing)” speech in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross? Well, we put our own spin on it: ABR, or Always Be Refining.
Corporate events or meetings, after all, are fluid. Trends ebb and flow, attendee expectations change and other factors evolve. That doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel every year—or multiple times a year, depending on your schedule.
That does, however, mean that you should keep a close eye not only on your event or meeting’s performance, but also what’s happening throughout your industry and also in the corporate meetings and events industry. Not every emerging trend or tactic will be a good fit for your company, but you should also be willing to experiment, test and refine so that you continue to deliver an exemplary experience that’s a resounding success both during the event and long after.