Ashley Roberts, general manager, Connect and Exhibition Think Tank (ETT) Middle East eventprofs group leader attempts to break down some simple steps to ensure that all event organisers can better assist their clients in delivering a ROI:
Ensuring that clients achieve their return on investment (ROI) when participating at an event should be something that not only the client is invested in, but it should also be an aim of the event organiser too.
Supporting clients in achieving their ROI from an event will benefit an organiser in numerous ways; clients are more likely to return to the following event editions, happy clients can be some of the best ambassadors of events, increased retention allows for a greater focus on new business and clients are more likely to increase their spend at future event editions.
Understanding how we can support our clients in achieving their ROI and embracing the required undertakings is imperative to the success of events.
Know your client
Understanding who your clients are is important, not only in the context of supporting them in achieving their ROI at events, but it will also help build a wider picture of the industry that the event serves.
Understanding your client’s objectives in relation to what they wish to achieve through their participation at an even will help begin to build the foundations of being able to set measurable metrics (KPIs).
Event professionals are just that, individuals who are experts in the field of events, and it is important that we best equip our clients for achieving the best possible results by sharing experience and know-how.
Event organisers must work with their clients to provide insights, the right tools and the advice where required, to support their clients. Building rapport and maintaining regular dialogue with clients will foster equitable partnerships.
Calculating their investment
A client’s investment is not only the cost of securing a stand or sponsorship at an event, but it goes far beyond that.
Costs such as stand build, travel, accommodation and subsistence, promotional material etc. all need to be calculated, and in some cases clients may also include the cost of employees’ time spent at an event which can represent a real cost to their business.
Making the most of the opportunity
Ensuring that exhibitors seek out every opportunity at the event is paramount. Anyone in the events industry would have seen numerous examples of clients not engaging with clients, not on their stand and, far too often, leaving the event early.
Regularly checking in with clients on site is important, it can identify any problems, it can also help provide constant feedback, but simply, it is good old fashioned customer care.
Measure and evaluate
When it comes to measuring the results of an event it is essential to be able to set KPIs that correlate with the client’s objectives and metrics that are measurable in terms of events.
Measuring the event results is not only about looking at the event days on their own, but the client’s entire participation should be measured which can start from the time that they confirm their participation, through to many months after the event in the pursuit of converting business.
When evaluating the results, it is important to provide the right level of information. Avoid overwhelming clients with information as the risk is that the results will not stand out. Always summarise the KPIs that the client needs to know in a clearly presented style such as infographics.
Ownership and accountability
When clients choose to participate at events, they have taken this decision based on several reasons, with the main one being that it will provide their respective business with results. On the organiser’s side, we are then establishing a commitment to our clients to enable them to deliver results through our events.
Providing meaningful customer care should be part of this commitment to our clients and it should be maintained throughout an event cycle and beyond. Having assigned account managers so clients know who can support them will provide a smoother participation for the client.
A client’s success is intrinsically linked to an events success.
If the clients of an event fail to achieve their ROI it is likely that the event has failed. At the same time, an event that has exceeded its clients’ ROI means the event will very likely be a resounding success.
Investing in our clients by supporting them in achieving their ROI is in every event organiser’s interest.
Without happy clients there will be no clients, and with no clients there is no event.