Evolve and grow your event budget

Follow these tips to secure the budget you want with less pushback

Illustrating an event’s return on investment is new terrain for many event professionals. They’re likely to point to an event’s budget, attendance, and satisfaction rating as key indicators of success — but those statistics just scratch the surface in today’s data-driven world.

Quantifying ROI may seem daunting, but it’s a business necessity.

As CMO budgets continue to trend away from traditional, offline marketing tactics in favor of more measurable and scalable digital marketing, event managers have to fight harder to maintain and grow event budgets.

If you want to win the budget battle, you need to understand what the business needs from your event and reframe how you measure and report results. Here’s how.

3 ways to exhibit your event’s value

1. Start with a strategy

It’s a dirty little secret in the event business, but a lot of events happen “just because” — with no defined purpose or business objective. It’s impossible to know what success looks like if you don’t have a goal.

Think beyond the objectives of being on-budget or having a high attendee satisfaction score. “Brand awareness,” a goal for many events, is tricky to measure and hard to prove. Metrics like this are worthwhile to monitor, but they won’t help you demonstrate your event’s business value.

Most events are intended to either secure new business or engage existing customers. If your intent is getting new business, you may want to set a goal for new leads acquired. Lead quality could be another measure of success — giving sales not just the lead volume they’re after, but warmer and more qualified leads.

When your event aims at customers, you could shoot for a target number of customer meetings secured or the average rate of engagement, which you can measure with the Jomablue platform.

Whatever your goals, make sure they’re both measurable and meaningful. You’ll need to present metrics that correlate with business outcomes, which is ultimately about impact on revenue.

2. Sync with your stakeholders

As you plan your event, ensure that stakeholders are on board with your strategy and projected results.

Socializing your plan is a good best practice under any circumstances, but a little early self-promotion can be particularly helpful when trying to shape perception of your event’s value. It gives you the opportunity to frame your event in business terms long before you hand off a lead list or ask for next year’s budget.

It’s also important to connect with your exhibitors and sponsors to ensure you understand their goals and how to best collaborate. Knowing their focuses, you can prepare an integrated report or dashboard to share key metrics before, during, and after the event.

For example, if they’re interested in speeding up post-event lead qualification (and closing sales), you can set up attendee segmentation and scoring to target the most sales-ready prospects first.

3. Showcase your success

Planning large events is exhausting. When they’re over, there’s temptation to disconnect from them and move on to thinking about the next one.

But this is your time to shine, so don’t skip your wrap-up report.

An end-of-event report is your biggest asset in proving how your work supports the business’s bottom line. Collect data on everything you can measure — from session attendance to audience segments to lead scores. It doesn’t hurt to demonstrate that you’re taking advantage of the latest technology available.

Prepare your event dashboard ahead of time so your goals are on the top of your mind. Then simply drop in the numbers post-event to evidence exactly how you delivered on stakeholder goals.

You can even take your data a step further. Set a reminder for 30, 60, and 90 days after the event to check in with sales and see how leads are progressing, then share this information with stakeholders.

Evolve and grow your budget

Soon every event planner will not only have to delight their attendees, but also support the company’s bottom line. Having the right technology in place enables greater event intelligence and arms you with data and insights to secure your budget with less pushback.

Want to learn more? Find out how organizations like TedxSydney are using data insights to drive better events with Jomablue.