How Mature Is Your Event Management Practice?
As the pandemic forced marketers and event planners to replace in-person events with virtual ones, organizations learned new lessons about harnessing digital to make future virtual, hybrid, and in-person events more engaging and valuable to both virtual and in-person attendees. In this new event landscape, how well prepared is your organization to maximize the impact of your event program? Take our short self-assessment to find out.
The assessment will yield customized results and recommendations based on your responses and should take no more than 2 minutes to complete.
Which event KPIs are most important to your organization today?
(Select top 3)
Prior to the pandemic, how would you describe your ability to track the ROI of your events? (Select one)
Which of the following best describes your virtual event adoption pre-pandemic? (Select one)
Which of the following best describes your event managers’ and marketers’ roles in events pre-pandemic? (Select one per row)
Prior to the pandemic, which statement best described your experience with event management software? (Select one)
Events will continue to be central to building customer relationships and driving revenue. As future events combine the best components of in-person and virtual experiences, some firms are better prepared than others to orchestrate and derive the most value from this new event landscape.
We found that organizations with more mature event practices enjoy advantages in enhanced collaboration, shared budgets and metrics, technological sophistication, and the ability to measure event investment returns when compared to their less mature counterparts. Our maturity assessment evaluates participants organizations across 3 key disciplines:
Your maturity result:
Your score means your marketing events management maturity is at the beginning stage.
- Your experience with delivering virtual events or adding digital components to in-person event experiences is limited.
- Beyond ticketing and registration, you likely lack the technology and process maturity to conduct immersive and interactive virtual or hybrid events that are distinctly different than a webinar series.
- Your events team runs events mostly independently from your marketing teams’ demand, digital, or field organizations – providing support on an as-needed or “center of excellence” basis.
- Your event metrics likely focus on the essentials like attendance, growth in attendance, and attendee satisfaction.
To move beyond the beginning stage:
- Establish no more than 3 primary goals for your events and determine the attendee experience and results that will demonstrate that your team achieved those results. Work with sales and executive leadership to align and agree to these goals.
- Focus on enhancing the production value of your digital content and begin introducing interactivity features that can provide your virtual and in-person audiences with a sense of shared experience (e.g., polling, live Q&A, session chat).
- Work with your marketing (digital, demand gen, field) colleagues to determine how event assets (speaker recordings, videos, presentation slides, other digital assets) can be used to support ongoing campaign efforts.
- Discuss metrics and KPIs with your marketing colleagues and develop 5 new metrics for each event that deliver actionable insights to both event teams and marketing counterparts. Develop a plan to have your event technology listen for, and capture, these metrics.
Your score means your marketing events management maturity is in the intermediate stage.
- While you have included digital elements in physical events or run a few virtual ones, you likely lack experience with hybrid events or your event design still optimizes the experience of one audience at the expense of the other.
- You have implemented event management technology – and likely changed your event management processes to improve automation – but your experience using this technology or refining these processes requires more work.
- Your event metrics likely focus on demand creation such as leads generated and opportunities identified.
To continue to improve at the intermediate stage and move up to become a Leader:
- Make enhancing the attendee experience through more relevant and valuable content and interactions the primary goal of your events. Work with sales and executive leadership to agree on the specific metrics and outcomes that show attendees were more engaged.
- Implement technology or enhance processes for capturing topics, interests, relationships, and engagement data about attendees. Work with marketing and sales counterparts to establish 25% more data elements that you can/should collect and use to understand your event audiences better.
- Continue to add and enhance digital capabilities to engage remote and in-person attendees with parity. Integrate interaction elements so that physical and remote attendees can easily navigate between virtual and in-person elements to network with each other, have spontaneous experiences, and conduct informal meetings within the context of the event.
- Work with your marketing (digital, demand gen, field) colleagues to integrate event assets (speaker recordings, videos, presentation slides, other digital assets) into specific post-event nurtures. Use event-gathered data to assign attendees or accounts to the right nurture based on both activity and expressed or implied interests.
- Extend metrics and KPIs to align marketing and event team activities and demonstrate impact on attendee value. Begin or continue to align event and campaign budgets around audiences and goals, not as separate line items.
Congratulations, your score means that you are a leader in marketing events management maturity!
- You deserve recognition for your extensive experience digitalizing your virtual and in-person events, collaborating across functional teams, and demonstrating the ROI of not just individual events, but across your entire portfolio.
- But don’t celebrate too soon: Immersive marketing event experiences are rare, and even companies that have aligned themselves around maximizing attendee relevance and value can struggle to deliver it consistently.
- Because expectations will change rapidly as attendees begin to experience new hybrid formats, now is the time to establish a roadmap for digitally transforming your event purpose, strategy, and execution.
To continue to evolve as a Leader and maintain your high level of maturity in the face of change:
- Pick a marketing events management platform or partner who can help you scale your event program. Look to tightly couple your event technology with your event strategy, ensuring technology readiness to support your virtual, hybrid, and in-person events.
- Continue to align marketing and event teams around shared budgets and metrics to drive higher levels of ROI out of the entire event portfolio. Optimize your meetings and events strategy by deliberately matching event goals and KPIs with the most appropriate event format (e.g. virtual, hybrid, in-person) to deliver those goals.
- Investigate or experiment with content experience technology that gives buyers/customers/attendees more ways to experience your event content before, during, and after the event itself. Shift the purpose of events from “hosting a gathering” to “creating immersive, engaging experiences that attendees can return to time and again”.
Maintaining this level of maturity requires a planful, thoughtful approach. It also requires budgeting to invest in technologies that will connect your event goals and results to your business objectives overall and roles and desired outcomes of your customer-facing teams.