In corporate event management, it’s ROI or bye-bye. We all have KPIs to hit, so how do you effectively measure them to ensure event success?
As a corporate event planner, the annual conference reputation is in your hands. It’s a beautiful thing to see it come together and witness immersive engagement motivate employees for the next upcoming year. At the end of it all, this hard work creates brand advocates. When planning your event, there are many ways to ensure its success.
And since the best way to eat a dinosaur is one bite at a time, we like to look at event planning by carefully breaking it down into three parts.
- During Event
- Post Event
A lot of event planners make the mistake of devaluing the importance of pre-event engagement. Think of it as the appetizer. For any three course meal, you’re expecting a delicate appetizer to get your palate ready for the entree, the main course, the big shebang. If the app proves to be a dud, how excited or trusting of the main entree will you be?
Generate excitement from your attendees
The same is applied to event planning. Attendees have a million and one things going on in their lives. The first goal as an event planner is to help break through the clutter and get attendees ready to learn, interested and most of all excited about the upcoming event.
Establish a benchmark with a pre-event survey
So what kind of engagement are we talking about here? Well, the first and foremost is with a benchmark inquiry survey. These could be centered around recent changes or initiatives. They can easily be as simple as rating their feelings towards company communication, understanding their brand, clearness of direction and questions along those lines.
To prove your investment, the event must show measurable success. With pre-event surveys, you can easily compare with post-event surveys as well as registrations. This also helps ensure you are designing an event that caters to your audience.
Fire up that event app early
Another important aspect is a mobile event app for your attendees to download. This app allows for push notifications before, during and after the event. You will be able to measure engagement on the app, downloads, and easily obtain feedback via surveys. Plus it’s a great way to stir up participation with user-generated content via contests and games.
Design the conference to target the way your people like to learn
Learning styles are important when creating an event. Studies show attendees are more likely to retain information when presented in visual, active, and exciting formats.
Make it easy to register, of course!
Finally, your event registration website should be user-friendly and mobile-responsive, featuring reasons why this is a can’t-miss event featuring speakers and agendas that are right in the attendee’s wheelhouse. Then, use data-driven e-marketing techniques to target attendees for optimal attendance.
The meat and potatoes. This is the main event and everything you’ve stressed for. The main killer of all your hard work is a lackluster experience. The importance of attendee engagement cannot be stressed enough. When your event is not designed intricately enough to engage all who attend, you will have grazers in the back scanning the room while not being engaged. The best way to convert attendees to brand advocates is exciting, interactive and consistent engagement.
Start your event with a bang
Once everyone is gathered, the best way to get high energy and excitement for what’s to come is to have a killer opening act. A “WOW” moment. Start off with a famous speaker or high energy/motivational opening. Work with your team to find the perfect entertainment to kick your event into motion.
Lay out the event properly
What this means is, the way you structure your event will determine how engaged your audience is. The day should be scheduled and filled with constant engagement. This could be in the form of motivational speakers, surprise and delight moments, innovative workshops, games, contests, give back opportunities, social media participation, and especially engaging breakout sessions.
Speaking of Breakout Sessions
Breakout Sessions are what shape your event. Your attendees are there to learn not to walk around aimlessly looking for something to do. Your job as the corporate event planner is to ensure these breakout sessions are designed to match the way your people want to learn.
In your consulting session, what were their issues? Address those in breakout sessions. Whether it be internal communication, marketing in the community or how to optimize procurement, this is an educational and fun experience, keep it that way!
Go out with a bang
You’ve spent all this hard-earned research to design the perfect branded event, now close on a high. Recognize your leaders with awards. Inspire the team. Drive home your brand message. This could be another celebrity experience while they deliver a monologue or even have interviews with other company motivators, famous business operators, world changers etc.
Implementing these activities and suggestions into your event will guarantee a grand finale.
After all the hard work comes the ROI metrics. You need evidence to prove your event’s success.
Round out your pre-event survey with the post-event survey
Now that you have your benchmark from before, see how the answers are different now. Ideally, your educational, engaging content helped drive home your message. Did your attendees learn what they expected to? Do they have a better understanding of brand directives and their role in affecting the change? Are they happy with the changes? Are the values being implemented? Has moral/production increased? Ask the questions that steer your KPIs.
Internal Communication Plans keep the dream alive
Be sure to keep that message alive through an ongoing, internal communication strategy that ensures your people are continuing to live into that change.
Social media is also a metric to be analyzed
Reviewing social media engagement after the event is key to determining a large part of attendee engagement. While vanity metrics like mentions, likes and shares play their part, it’s also a great way to capture what was special to the attendee and hear their questions, complaints, recommendations, and approvals.
Remember: the mobile event app is still most likely downloaded on their phone after the event. This is a great way to keep up that engagement. A perfect example is creating a highlight reel of the event they can be shared on social media. The more excitement post-event, the higher the chance of brand advocates.
Measurable KPIs Prove Event Success
Targeting these three areas of corporate event planning will give you measurable KPIs to prove your investment and grow your business with brand advocates.
For more information on event planning and internal communication, check out our eBook that offers 10 great engagement tips for corporate event planning.