Guide To Event Planning: Measuring Success

It is a common bane of the marketing or events professional’s existence: How to measure return on investment (ROI) from a corporate event.

Typically, a pay-to-enter event will have gate receipts to help work out the return on investment. However, when a corporate event is held for the purposes of marketing, brand reinforcement and networking opportunities, the guidelines for calculating the benefits can be less clear when no direct revenue is being generated from ticket sales, product sales or sponsorship.

As there are so many other benefits which corporate events offer to organisations, it becomes vital to measure returns from activities such as training, leadership meetings, brand awareness events, awards evenings and congresses. So how to go about it? In this guide to event planning, we tackle the issue of how to measure ROI on corporate events.


Quantifying investment

Before we can calculate our returns or how much we have profited, directly or indirectly, from a corporate event, it helps to understand precisely what we have spent. Costs can broadly be divided into two main categories. The first is direct expenses, and these can include costs such as venue hire, travel, food and beverages, audiovisual, rental equipment, entertainment, marketing and promotional costs, and service providers. But to understand the big picture, we must also take into account indirect costs such as shared or pool-based expenses, accounting and administrative salaries, office expenses, rent and utilities.


Measuring returns

Measuring the holistic benefit of a corporate event to your organisation can be made simpler by defining your key performance indicators (KPI) clearly beforehand. Whether you achieve these KPIs as a result of your event then becomes the yardstick for measuring indirect returns and overall benefits. KPIs can include:

  • Attendance / Registration (day-of) – did you achieve the attendance you were looking for, and, therefore, the brand exposure that you objectified?
  • The number of sales leads generated – if your networking objective was to generate sales leads, how many did you manage in comparison to the number you hoped for?
  • NPS (Net Promoter Score: a measure of customer loyalty) – you could calculate your NPS following the event, and track the loyalty of those who attended.
  • Direct feedback from staff/stakeholders – did you ask attendees for their feedback on how the event went? You might invite attendees to rate elements of the event from one to ten, or alternatively, seek more qualitative feedback. If networking was one of the event’s attractions, did attendees feel that the quality of networking was satisfactory and rewarding?
  • Employee satisfaction scores – if you held an internal event designed to benefit your employees – by way of training, team bonding or otherwise – how satisfied were the employees with the way that the event went?
  • Social media engagement – was the event pushed out to a broader audience via social media? How many interactions did you achieve compared to your objectives, or compared to previous similar events?
  • Increased footfall – if your event was designed to grow your business’s footfall, did you achieve this in the weeks following it?


You may find that KPIs are not the ‘exact science’ that totting up direct sales are when it comes to measuring returns, but only by setting them, and measuring them can we start to build a bigger picture of corporate event success.


If you need some help producing events that get results, get in touch.