The events that drive brand awareness and result in ROI are the ones that are tailored to the needs and wants of your guests. But to get more than a glimpse into the people behind the names on your guest list, you need to harness the power of data. Enter ERM™(Event Relationship Management), the practice of using data-driven insights to build relationships, drive engagement and increase brand advocacy.

Sounds pretty important, right? It is. In fact, it’s paramount.

If the scenarios below sound familiar, we’re not just betting that you’re in need of ERM™, we’re sure of it.

1.Your team spends a considerable amount of time orchestrating the RSVP process.

Your RSVP process is, without a doubt, an integral part of your event. But without the help of ERM™ software, this process can quickly become all-consuming – eating into precious time and resources that could be better spent working on other tasks. RSVP management fatigue is to blame for many a gremlin creeping into the mix, resulting in the unintentional sabotaging of your event – before it’s even begun.

2. Glitches in the matrix happen too frequently.

Hiccups happen. But they shouldn’t be the norm. Overworked event teams are one of the main causes for human error, and if you’re attempting to manually orchestrate your guest list, travel arrangements and check-in processes, the odds are stacked against you from the moment your very first invitation is sent.

3. Broken telephone is something that you and your team have learnt to live with.

Duplicate guest lists, a division between off-site and office staff and the million last minute details that require attention are a breeding ground for miscommunication. At best, you have to spend (precious) time restoring open lines of communication. At worst, you end up without a keynote speaker or working wifi.

4. You spend a considerable event budget, yet struggle to realise ROI.

Event budgets can run into the millions. But if you’re not enjoying increased sales or brand adoption post-events, there’s a pretty good chance that the problem lies in an inadequate understanding of your guests. You’re aware of this, but aren’t really sure how to go about fixing it. 5. Despite holding several events a year, brand awareness has stagnated. Corporate events don’t encourage brand awareness; brand experiences do. The difference is subtle but oh-so-important. Experiential events are potent marketing tools, but to ensure your corporate event provides your guests with an emotionally engaging event, you need to have in-depth insight into your guests.

If the above sound familiar, it’s time to invest in ERM™. Collect the data that counts to drive event attendance, elevate your event experiences and drive ROI.

Find out more about how our ERM™ solution can benefit your events, by downloading our brochure below.

RSVP_-_ROI_event_meeting_Blog-1.jpgHow do meetings and events create value? In his online presentation on the subject, Dr Elling Hamso, of the Event ROI Institute, proposes that events only create value for guests when they have to DO something. In other words, stakeholder value is created when there is a change in participant behaviour thanks to them having attended your corporate event.

For your guests’ behaviour to change, you need to ensure that you’ve put (just enough) money where your mouth is

Event guests merely feeling or thinking something different does not mean that there has been behaviour change, or that stakeholder value has been created. Instead, guests have to “physically do something”, says Dr Hamso, either after the meeting or during it, for an event to have created value.

What’s more, for an event to be successful, stakeholders’ behaviour needs to be changed “at the lowest possible cost”, so that money isn’t wasted. According to Dr Hamso, money can either be lost if more is spent than is necessary, or if too little money is invested in an event for it to resonate and bring about the desired change in behaviour. The bottom line is that an event that has no proven ROI is a money- and time-wasting activity.

The Event ROI Institute has developed a few steps for ensuring an event sees a ROI

In his presentation, Dr Hamso provides a step-by-step approach for ensuring event ROI. This involves setting key objectives to know what needs to be done and which targets need to be reached to bring about behaviour change through your event experiences. When planning an event, you will need to set objectives for:

  • The event’s bottom line impact
  • The guest behaviour that will generate this impact
  • The learning experience that will change participant behaviour
  • The ideal learning environment to host this learning experience

Lastly, you will also need to identify the ideal target audience to invite to this learning experience, whose behaviour you want to change.

Measuring the success of an event starts with an honest assessment of your target audience and ends with measuring event ROI

Dr Hamso shares that for measuring event ROI you need to flip the above points on their head and start with an assessment of your target audience. Did the right people attend your event? If not, you may just have wasted a great deal of your company’s time and money.

Measuring the learning environment

The following questions can be used as a guideline for measuring the effectiveness of the learning environment you have created:

1. Was the learning environment hospitable enough?
2. Did the food and venue selection resonate with your guests?
3. Were guests satisfied with the content delivered?
4. Were their expectations met – did they learn and experience what they came to learn and experience?

Measuring the learning experience

According to the good Doctor, “behaviour will change only as a result of cognitive change”. After measuring the learning environment, event planners need to assess the learning experience that their event has offered their guests. Has the information about your company’s values, products, knowledge and skills been useful and valuable enough for it to be remembered and applied? Or did you just waste a whole lot of your attendees’ time with an inapplicable or boring information download?

Measuring impact

Your event’s impact is measured by what event guests then go on to do with their newfound knowledge. Ideally, you would want them to go out and buy your product, enlist your services and encourage others to do the same.

Measuring profit

“ROI is the profit as a percentage of the cost”, says Dr Hamso. Measuring event ROI (or profit) entails adding up all the impacts from your event and then subtracting the cost of your event. For this, you will need to know how to isolate the impact of your event from other in-house advertising or marketing activities that might be driving product sales or demand for your services.

Event professionals need to know how to monetise the outcomes of their events. In his presentation, Dr Hamso provides the example of better management being a positive behaviour change in participants from a management course they attended. Event organisers need to know how to assign ‘better management’ with monetary value to prove their event’s ROI.

Event management software can help event organisers measure impact and changes in client’s behaviour

Intelligent event management software allows for more streamlined event relationship management (ERM™) as it enables event managers to automate the gathering, storing and analysing of guest’s data to provide event managers with key insights into their ideal target market’s behaviour. These insights help event professionals create learning environments and learning experiences that resonate deeply with their guests and affect change in their behaviour.  

The RSVP Agency’s event management software, for example, allows for real-time updates of guests’ responses to automated electronic invitations (sent by the same software system), so that event organisers can correctly gauge the effectiveness of their email marketing and change their strategy accordingly.

Our software solution also allows event professionals to set up online surveys, before, during, or after the event, to gather insights into guest preferences, or valuable feedback about their learning experiences. Here, event participants can be asked directly about any changes in their behaviour after an event to assist event managers with measuring event ROI.

For more information about The RSVP Agency’s event management software solution, download our brochure.

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Everything you need to know about securing event ROI Do you recoil in horror upon hearing the phrase “event ROI”? Don’t fear – you’re not alone.  What’s become a concept shrouded in mystery is actually quite simple. Far simpler, in fact, than you may realise. While there’s never a guaranteed way to secure event ROI (think sudden natural disasters, or a volatile market that sees share prices nosedive), there is a basic formula that can be used to turn your corporate events into profitable exercises (acts of God notwithstanding).

The scary sounding phrase “event ROI” is nothing more than a basic mathematical formula

Any mathematical equation uses a specific formula to get an accurate answer. There are no ‘almosts’ or ‘kind ofs’ – your answer is either right, or wrong. So too is the process of calculating whether or not your corporate event resulted in ROI. The confusion comes in when event planners and their clients don’t have the same definition of event ROI.

Event ROI is any outcome that improves the bottom line

This return on investment can be achieved through several ways. While the generation of a profit in the form of sales performed as a result of someone having attended an event is the most oft-cited meaning of event ROI, there are several others. Event ROI could mean decreased production costs, achieved via motivated staff who felt valued at an internal corporate event.  However, for the sake of keeping it simple, we’ll assume that you – and your clients – subscribe to the former.

First things first: define your objective

Nothing can be measured without a set goal or objective in place. If you don’t know what you’re working towards, you won’t be able to calculate whether your event was a success or not. Once you know what you need the outcome of your event to be, you’ll be able to create an event that will best facilitate this. For example, if your goal is to hit a certain sales target, your event needs to be able to convert your guests into customers.

Begin by measuring how much you spend on each guest

Event ROI is determined by the total amount spent on a guest. That is: your total event cost, divided by the number of guests. If, for example, your event costs R100 000, and your guest list consisted of 100 guests, your total spend on each guest would be R1000.

In order to calculate event ROI, it’s crucial that you use the right event tools to collate this information

If you invite the same guest to several events throughout the year, costing you a total of R5000 per person, they’ll each have to spend more than R5000 in order for your event to be deemed a profitable exercise. If you realise that some of your guests have never spent a cent on your brand, or spend less than their total cost to you, you’ll know to cut your losses and leave them off your future guest lists.

Your event is competing with countless others for same market share

Corporate events are a dime a dozen. If you want to make sure that your guests eventually buy into your brand, you’ll need to do everything you can to convince them to attend your event. Having a pre and post-event marketing campaign is vital if you want to extend the lifespan of your event experience.  Whatever medium you use, make sure you’re creating as much anticipation prior to your event as possible. Once your event is over, thank your guests for attending and communicate with them in the weeks and months afterward.  Remember that your guests all take different amounts of time to become a customer; some may invest in your brand immediately after the event, while others may take months until they spend money with you. By viewing your event as one part of a continued effort to facilitate event ROI, your chances of achieving this are that much higher.

Find out more about our Guest Concierge Management Software – a tool that enables companies including Distell, Coca Cola, Pzifer and many, many more – to create and manage events that result in event ROI.

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As we’ve said before, an event is essentially a tangible means of marketing a brand or company. But how do you ensure that your event experience results in all-important ROI? An event entails a substantial financial investment (not to mention countless hours of time and an inordinate amount of logistical management), which means that the responsibility of showing tangible returns falls on the shoulders of the corporate event planner.

In the eyes of your guests, a brand is only as good as their latest experience with the company. This means that in order to ensure that your guests remain loyal to a brand, your event experience needs to be phenomenal.

An event experience that’s perceived as a personal interaction with the brand is one that elevates brand advocacy.

If a guest feels invisible or unimportant whilst attending an event, there’s little chance that they’ll want to support the brand. People want to feel important and seen, which means that the onus is on you to create an event experience that caters to this intrinsic human need. There are countless ways to ensure that a guest feels that their presence is important, whether it’s a personalised touch on a place setting, being greeted by first name upon arrival, or being presented with a gift bag that’s especially been assembled for the recipient.

All facets of an event experience need to be relevant to the demographics of your guests.

This can be tricky, as the majority of corporate events entail a myriad of guests, each with their own tastes and preferences. That said, there’ll always be qualities that your guests have in common. Approaching this task from the viewpoint of catering to a target market, as opposed to a guest list will enable you to identify elements these people have in common. They might all be medical professionals, investment bankers, or top sales people. Think about the traits that are shared amongst your guests, and then ensure that your décor, catering, venue and entertainment are all relevant to the attendees.

Quality is tangible – which means that skimping on any element that caters to the senses will detract from the overall event experience.

If you’re working within a tight budget, be cautious about the aspects of the event that you’re frugal with. Allocate more money to the elements that guests have a direct interaction with, like food, décor and entertainment. This may take some brainstorming, but find ways of reducing your costs in ways that won’t be noticeable. This may include using a supplier who’ll let you pay on completion of a job as opposed to an upfront payment, or negotiating a reduced fee with a vendor on condition that you’ll use their services for future events too.

Learn from past event experiences in order to improve any future functions.

Make sure you’re learning from your past mistakes by using data gleaned from post-event surveys. Collecting this information is a waste of everyone’s time if it’s not going to be used to create better event experiences.  Review past events and pin-point aspects that could be improved, making a point to dedicate more time and budget to these areas to avoid repeating the same mistake twice.

Remember that an event experience entails the initial and post-event communication with your guests too.

Many corporate event planners unwisely put all of their efforts into the event itself – failing to realise that every single facet, from the invitations to the post-event surveys are just as crucial. There’s no substitute for personal interactions – they emphasise the fact that the brand recognises and appreciates every single guest.

In order to make the process of planning and executing event experiences that successfully engage guests and in turn, result in ROI, it’s crucial that you’re making use of the right event management software. This will enable you to create personalised, bespoke online invitations, conduct post-event surveys via SMS and gather crucial information about your guests that can be used to create an event experience that makes the best possible impression on your guests.

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Corporate events are one of the most important elements of any brand’s marketing strategy. They’re not only an opportunity to solidify a company’s reputation, they’re a crucial means of elevating a brand’s exposure, as well as their level of customer engagement. Ensuring event ROI is the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, many event planners get tripped up on elements that are completely avoidable – to the expense of their clients. In essence, the purpose of any event is to retain customers or entice new clients. If your corporate events aren’t adequately fulfilling this role, chances are that you’re making one of the following mistakes: Mistake

1: Not setting realistic goals

Any corporate event entails a multitude of tasks that more often than not, need to be completed in an extremely short amount of time. The frenetic pace at which events are planned, organised and executed means that some elements aren’t given the attention they deserve – often with dire consequences. It’s crucial that any goals you set – whether timeframes, ROI or guest list attendance – are reasonable. Know your numbers; look at past event ROI for guidance and pay meticulous attention to your budget. Don’t set goals that are unfounded – if you want your event ROI to be X, make sure that you have the data to back this up. Realistic expectation from the get-go are essential for both you and your client – it’s better to deliver on a reasonable promise than to aim for an end result that’s completely impractical.

Mistake 2: Not doing adequate research about vendors

The majority of factors that influence event ROI rely on in-depth research on the part of the event planner, and your choice of vendor is no exception. If you want to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to facilitate the maximum amount of event ROI, shop around before choosing a vendor. This includes your venue, catering, entertainment and administrative staff, to name a few. Event ROI boils down to keeping your overheads as low as possible. Negotiate with vendors that you’ve worked with before. If they know that you’re a reliable client, they may agree on a reduced rate paid up front, compared to a vendor who you’ve never worked with before.

Mistake 3: Not devoting enough time to creating engaging invitations

It should go without saying that if you’re sending out below par invitations your event attendance is bound to be dismal. Your invites are as important as the event itself – so make sure you’re sending invitations that are professionally designed, personalised and adequately convey the brand and the type of event. If you don’t have the necessary expertise then outsource this to a professional RSVP service who’ll be able to create invites that impress and intrigue. Your event ROI is directly related to your attendance rate, which means you need to employ the use of every available resource to ensure your function is well attended.

Mistake 4: Not sending a ‘Save the Date’

It’s pretty obvious that your event ROI rides on a well-attended event. If you’re not sending out a ‘Save the Date’ that includes a ‘decline’ option, the chances are high that by the time your guests receive their invitation, they’ll already have committed to another engagement. It’s crucial to have the necessary tools at your disposal so that if you see that many of your guests decline via your ‘Save the Date’, you’ll have adequate time to move your event to another day – safeguarding against missing out on event ROI.

Mistake 5: Inefficient management of your RSVP process

Event ROI relies on accurate data and efficient management throughout. If you’re having to phone up guests who haven’t replied in between negotiating with suppliers and instructing staff, chances are, you’ll slip up somewhere. Your RSVP process needs to be professionally conducted if you want to ensure you’re showcasing your client in the best possible light. If you aren’t already making use of a professional RSVP Agency, we strongly suggest you do. Event planners have limited time as it is – make sure you’re not hindering your RSVP process due to the fact that you’ve got too much to do.

Mistake 6: Neglecting to conduct a post-event survey

It’s imperative that you give your guests an opportunity to provide you with feedback. If you have no clue as to how your event was received, you’re bound to repeat the same mistakes over and over. A post-event survey provides you with pertinent information about your guests’ experience. This can be conducted via either an SMS or email survey sent shortly after the event. Being aware of elements that were problematic or well-received further bolsters your ability to plan and execute events that are guaranteed to result in ROI.

Mistake 7: Inaccurate data on hand

If you can’t see which guests have declined, accepted or not replied, you’ll end up over-spending or under-catering – both of which will negatively affect your event ROI. It’s crucial that you have the exact information on hand at all times, and that it’s updated in real time. Having to consolidate conflicting Excel sheets that have to be filled in manually will only result in expensive inaccuracies. Make sure that you’re able to access your guest list data at all times, that it’s frequently updated and that all staff are on the same page. If you don’t have the capacity to do this, enlist the help of an event management company who’ll devote their full attention to the meticulous management of your guest lists.

In addition, having in-depth data on hand is crucial as you’ll be able to see why some guests have declined. If you’re aware that a VIP is in hospital, you’ll be able to send them a ‘get well soon’ gift and a flash drive with presentations from the event – further solidifying your reputation as a professional event planner. If you’re using sophisticated RSVP management software, you’ll be able to identify (among other things) the time an email was open and whether it bounced or not. This data can then be used when planning future events – you’ll be able to adjust the time you send out your invites, update any addresses that bounced and ultimately, ensure event ROI.

Image Credit: Soul Story