How to Measure your Event’s ROO

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Posted on September 19, 2023

Event pros have long lived and died by that almighty calculation – return on investment (ROI). The pressure to justify event spending has birthed an obsession with money-in, money-out metrics.

But what if you could prove an event’s value beyond just dollars and cents? What if there was a way to measure success tied to your strategic objectives and purpose?

It’s time to also consider ROO – that’s Return on Objective.

ROO flips the script to zero in on the goals and outcomes that matter most, beyond just financials. It provides a 360-degree view of event performance and impact.

With ROO, you can align stakeholder expectations on what success really looks like. And you’ll glean data-driven insights to continually improve. It’s a cycle of strategic learning, not just number crunching.

In this article, we’ll explore how to nail down your event objectives and then track ROO with surgical precision. You’ll learn to:

  • Set S.M.A.R.T. goals that align to business strategy
  • Choose metrics and tools to quantify desired outcomes
  • Calculate ROO percentage based on results vs. goals
  • Gain insights to create better future events

Mission accomplished – your event will drive impact, not just revenue. Read on to begin shifting your focus from money to what matters most.

How to Set Your Event Objectives

Getting ROO right starts with defining rock-solid objectives that align to your organization’s goals. Without clear objectives, you can’t measure success.

Follow these tips to set strategic, specific event objectives:

  • Identify key stakeholders and determine their desired outcomes. Get input from sales, event marketing, executives, customers, members, etc.
  • Craft S.M.A.R.T. goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This creates a standard for success.
  • Consider typical event goals like attendance, revenue, lead generation, branding, education, engagement, satisfaction, etc.
  • Prioritize 3-5 primary objectives. Don’t dilute focus with too many competing goals.
  • Tie event goals directly to core organizational goals and strategies. This drives strategic alignment.
  • Define what success looks like for each objective. Determine target metrics, results, benchmarks, and KPIs.
  • Get stakeholder sign-off on objectives. This manages expectations on intended outcomes.

See how these objectives are tied to goals, quantifiable, and provide clear metrics or benchmarks for success? Setting S.M.A.R.T. objectives like this will make it easy to track ROO.

Measuring and Tracking ROO

Once you’ve set clear objectives, it’s time to measure results and calculate that all-important ROO. Here are some tips for tracking event success:

  • Identify metrics, tools, and methods to quantify each objective. Surveys, event apps, data analysis, observation, and testing provide data.
  • Track progress during the event to get real-time feedback. Are people engaged? Is attendance strong? Monitor social media and reviews.
  • Conduct post-event surveys to capture participant feedback on satisfaction, knowledge gained, quality, etc.
  • Compile data like leads captured, sales revenue, media coverage, web traffic, social media reach, and other KPIs.
  • Compare final results to the targets defined for each objective. This shows achieved vs expected outcomes.
  • Calculate overall ROO percentage by adding weight to each objective and tallying an overall score. ROO = 85% means you achieved 85% of intended goals.
  • Analyze insights to understand performance gaps. This learning improves future events. Share recaps with stakeholders.

Measuring event success goes beyond smiling faces and handshakes. To determine ROO, you need hard data. Read about Event Management Best Practices.

With target outcomes defined, calculate ROO:

ROO = Achieved Value / Target Value

For example:

Leads generated ROO = 53 / 75 target = 71% 

Satisfaction ROO = 7.2 / 8.0 

target = 90%

Track and compare ROO across all goals to measure overall event success. This fuels future improvement.

Benefits of Focusing on ROO

ROO provides a strategic lens to evaluate event success. Here are some of the benefits of shifting focus from ROI to ROO:

  • Aligns stakeholders on desired outcomes rather than money goals alone. Provides clarity on purpose.
  • Measures achievement of strategic objectives tied to business goals. Better indicator of value.
  • Provides data-driven insights to improve event format, content, promotion, audience targeting, and more.
  • Builds institutional knowledge to continually optimize events based on purpose and objectives.
  • Calculates event impact beyond financials to include brand awareness, culture, education, engagement.
  • Creates feedback loop for smarter goal setting. Evaluating ROO influences future objectives.
  • Flexible frameworks can be customized across different events and KPIs.
  • ROO mentality provides a sense of purpose and motivates teams beyond just revenue goals.
  • Supplements ROI data to present a well-rounded view of event success and value.

This level of granular data and segmentation provides clarity on what specific elements to refine, improve, or repeat for future events. ROO analysis supplies intelligence to continually evolve event success.

ROO GoalsEvent GoalsMetrics/KPIMeasurement Tool
Attendance– Increase registrations by 10% from last year’s event
– Maintain 60% attendance throughout conference
– Number of registrants
– Check-in rate
– Session attendance counts
– Registration platform data
– Event app check-in tracking
– Headcounts, badge scanners
Engagement– Achieve 8/10 average event satisfaction rating
– Increase social media mentions by 30% year-over-year
– Participant survey ratings
– Social media volume and sentiment
– Event feedback surveys
– Social media monitoring tools
Lead Gen– Capture 40 new sales prospects
– 20 hot leads from targeted buyer profiles
– Total leads collected
– Lead quality rating
– Lead retrieval tools
– Lead scoring
Branding– Increase brand awareness by 15% post-event
– Brand mentioned in event coverage 3 times
– Brand awareness surveys
– Volume of press mentions
– Pre/post event surveys
– Media monitoring
Revenue– Generate $30K in ticket sales
– Keep event costs under $20K budget
– Ticket revenue total
– Event expense costs
– Registration reports
– Budget tracking

Event Technology Role in ROO

Event management softwares like InEvent plays a big role in being able to effectively measure and track ROO. Here are some of the key ways event tech enables ROO:

  • Registration/ticketing platforms provide data on attendance numbers, demographics, purchase metrics to gauge engagement.
  • Event apps allow for real-time polling, surveys, two-way messaging with attendees to collect feedback.
  • Badge scanners, beacons, network data can track session attendance, dwell times, foot traffic to measure participation.
  • Lead retrieval systems capture engagement data with sales teams and prospective customers.
  • Event software dashboards roll up various data sources into unified reporting and insights.
  • Surveys and forms pre, during and post-event gather direct feedback tied to objectives.
  • Social media monitoring tools analyze reach, impressions, engagement across platforms.
  • Website analytics such as clicks, conversions, referrals before/after events.
  • Budget management platforms track expenses and forecasting to measure fiscal goals.

The right event tech stack enables the capture of quantitative and qualitative data essential for calculating and demonstrating ROO. Integrations also play a major role in the right event technology platforms. The technology facilitates the measurement process.

Not Sure, where to start? Visit InEvent Management Software and Book a Meeting.

Key Takeaways:

  • Focus on ROO, not just ROI, to measure event success beyond money
  • Set S.M.A.R.T objectives tied to business goals for clarity on desired outcomes
  • Use surveys, data, and tools to quantify progress towards each defined goal
  • Calculate ROO percentage to evaluate achievement vs targets
  • Track ROO during and after events for real-time and post-event insights
  • Analyze ROO data to continually optimize and improve future events
  • Build a culture focused on strategic learning over one-time monetary goals
  • ROO provides a comprehensive framework to increase event impact over time
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