PCMA recently commissioned Lewis & Clark, a marketing research firm, to survey 122 meeting professionals to find out how they are measuring exhibitor and attendee ROI and what criteria they use to determine whether or not their meeting was successful

Question and AnswersLet's focus on how planners measure ROI, comments from selected respondents and interactive technology tool rentals that can make this process easier. 

Q1: How do you measure exhibitor ROI?
(Respondents could provide more than one answer)

66%   Post-event evaluation

46%    Post-event direct contact follow-up (Face-to-face, email or telephone call) 

29%    On-site survey

19%     Monitor social media conversations 

One survey participant shared, "Exhibitor dollars are stretched and they have to decide where to spend their marketing dollars." 

Key Takeaways: The problem with anything post-event is it can be several days or weeks before event organizers can get to the exhibitors through online marketing survey tools or direct communications. The exhibitor can either be in two camps; they think you don't care about their response because it has taken you so long to communicate or they have moved on and are now completely focused on the next show. 

The best way to garner great feedback is to complete the survey as close as possible to the ending of the show or better yet, request a feedback loop during the entire conference. If exhibitors rent iPads, they can fill out the survey as well as provide comments on social channels. In addition, at the end of the conference, you can have them complete a survey via Audience Response rental units. 

Q2: How do you measure attendee ROI?
(Respondents can give more than one answer)

80%    Post-event evaluation

39%    On-site survey

31%    Monitor social media conversations

25%    Post-event direct contact follow-up (Face-to-face, email or telephone call) 

"We strive to hold meaningful events and conferences. We want to know that the attendees feel they have gotten their money's worth, received useful information and are likely to return for other events," another respondent shared. 

Key Takeaways: The problem with post-event surveys is the same for the attendee as it is for the exhibitor. By the time your organization sends it out, the meeting participant has been home for days or weeks and your conference is a distant memory. Utilize on-site surveys but make certain your questions are substantive and will help you create better conferences and meetings. 

On-site survey can be handled through wireless Audience Response Systems. This fast, easy and anonymous way to track attendee feedback can allow you to adjust your conference immediately, the next day or at the next meeting. 

Q3: What criteria do you use to measure ROI?
(Respondents can give more than one answer)

58%     Ability to implement takeaways immediately to positively impact job, business               or organization

56%     Networking contacts made

50%     Financial return for exhibitors

48%     Professional knowledge (i.e. CEUs)

One respondent stated, "There is growing pressure to show that physician education improves patient outcomes. That is difficult to quantify when measuring one annual CME event." 

Key takeaways: Now is the time to get the attendee involved in the event planning and execution. By understanding exactly what they need to immediately impact their job performance, you can create a conference that will attendee-focused, not speaker-focused.

In addition, it is important to make certain networking contacts are made and sustained. Exhibitors can use lead retrieval systems to make networking easier, follow-up with contacts immediately and help measure a financial return. 

AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family is committed to helping you achieve your ROI objectives!