Marketers want new solutions to meet pressures of showing event ROI

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Better analytics and mobile apps would improve measurement and event experience heavily reliant on old school methods

Too often, determining the ROI of corporate events is a murky and inexact science. The available metrics don’t always tell the real story, and without true indicators, perception can often trump reality.

While the rest of the marketing stack has gotten easier and easier to measure, the overwhelming majority of event marketers are still scanning business cards and uploading leads. More often than not, real interactions are not tracked at or following the event.

What would it take to make events as easy to analyze as a website?

We asked marketing executives and senior event managers how they measure event ROI and what they would find most useful in improving the event experience and the measurement of events.

The results gave us a lot of ideas, and we’re excited to be putting many of them to work for our customers here at SxSW. I won’t make this into an infomercial, but if you’re interested in how we’re thinking about things at Loopd, you can experience it at the Scavenger Hunt at the SxSW Expo http://loopd.com/sxsw and win $1000 in uber dollars.

Here’s what we learned -

55% of those surveyed are under pressure to prove event ROI through event-driven bookings. 55% focus on cost per lead, 42% on brand awareness, and 27% track social voice as a measure of ROI.

58% measure the success of events by the number of meetings held between sales representatives and attendees, and 61% cite lead quality as an important measure of success.

Currently, 83% of the marketers surveyed rely primarily on business cards, and RFID to collect leads at events.

But those alone don’t seem to be enough. 86% have tried, or want to try using, event apps to better interact and track attendee engagement.

These senior event managers and CMOs also let us know they were neutral at best on the current event application options.

91% said it would be useful to be able to quantify and measure interactions between sales people and target prospects at an event.

Yet the average rating of event app effectiveness was only 5.2 out of a 10 point scale, technically a net detractor score.

82% reported that they are not able to track attendee interactions across multiple events.

If you’ve spent any time in a marketing organization, you know how hard it is to seamlessly track all the different interactions your customer might have had with a prospect. It’s harder still when you have to translate human interactions into digital form and quantify them.

So what do marketers want in event marketing apps?

In short, more — more ability to measure, understand and interact with attendees in a meaningful way.

83% reported that it would be useful to be able to precisely measure booth exhibit interest or “heat zones” with their apps.

94% report it would be useful for apps to measure attendee interest in conference sessions.

It’s clear that event marketers really need a solution that gives them visibility into event flow, helps them understand and foster personal interactions, and precisely measures interest levels. This would allow organizations to devote resources accurately to activities and content that make events more successful for organizers and attendees alike.

We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t believe that there is a huge opportunity to give events the credit we believe they deserve for contributing to the bottom line.

We detailed some of the top metrics we’re working on in an earlier post, but we’d like to hear from you — what would help you measure ROI from events?