Corporate Eye

Senior Marketers Want Better Data to Quantify Event ROI

trade show floorSenior marketers are calling for better measurement of event value to quantify return on investment (ROI). According to a study by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and the Exhibit & Event Marketers Association (E2MA), the call to action for both marketers and event producers is to prove event value using the analytics available in “today’s advanced, data-driven and highly targeted customer engagements.”

The “Customer Attainment from Event Engagement” study comes from a survey of more than 260 brand marketers conducted between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the third quarter of 2013. Interviews with 21 senior brand marketers and 11 experts in the event and trade show industry were also included in the analysis.

Key findings from the study include:

  • 31% of marketers believe events are essential to their organizations.
  • 89% of marketers believe events still hold some importance and value to their organizations.
  • 64% of marketers participate in events to source new prospects.
  • 62% of marketers participate in events to gather and cultivate leads.
  • 61% of marketers participate in events to have face-to-face meetings with clients and prospects.
  • 40% of marketers are decreasing large event participation to focus on smaller, targeted events.
  • 44% of marketers are hosting their own events.
  • 45% of marketers identify making a business case for the investment the top event and trade show challenge.
  • 39% of marketers identify managing escalating costs of events and trade shows as the biggest challenge.

According to the report, the challenges marketers face with events and trade shows are due to, “their lack of visibility into the conversion pipeline to determine how events are impacting sales and revenue.” While 42% of marketers are happy with their customer relationship management (CRM) tools, the metrics currently being tracked (including referrals, introductions, leads, and deal closure) don’t provide insight into the sales process. Without good data, marketers cannot determine if events are delivering adequate ROI, and they can’t be certain that events are fully-aligned with the business, financial, and marketing goals of the organization.

While marketers call for better data, E2MA calls for the development of accepted best practices for measuring face-to-face marketing efforts. By creating generally-accepted measurement principals, the event industry will be able to help marketers prove the value of events and trade shows to business executives.

Image: Phil Sexton

The following two tabs change content below.
Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.