Brands want to know their ROI on event marketing. Agencies want to provide it. And this is usually a great idea. However, there is one situation where you might want to think twice.
At PortMA, we specialize in working with event marketing agencies to develop measurement and reporting solutions for the experiential campaigns they deploy. Eighty percent of the time these solutions include data collection, analysis, and reporting that captures the return on investment of event marketing.
There are, however, some rare occasions when we don’t recommend reporting ROI. It has everything to do with how you designed the campaign in the first place.
Not all experiential marketing is about generating sales.
When you designed your execution strategy, you did so with your client’s goals and objectives in mind (along with a bit of their hopes and fears). Those goals are not always about sales. I was at a major clothing retailer’s corporate headquarters yesterday, talking about their iconic mobile tour. While they were handing out coupons and seeing great redemption rates, they kept stressing during the meeting that their goal was awareness of line extensions, not the sales of existing ones.
You don’t want to shove an ROI model down the throat of a brand team if they’re not asking for it. I’m not suggesting for a second that you shouldn’t be measuring ROI at every step of the way. You absolutely have to know what you’re projecting, how you’re trending, and what the final ROI is. But this doesn’t mean you have to report it to your client.
Why measure ROI if you’re not going to report it?
You need to know the ROI so that you’re in front of the conversation if or when it arises. A senior brand manager always seems to come to the final recap briefing unexpectedly. He or she may or may not have had his or her team do the sales data analysis before the meeting. When they come in with their own ROI data in hand, you want to have a solid model in place to manage the positioning and direction of the conversation.
You’ll be able to do this when you can show your own campaign ROI modeling. You can show that you knew it was going to be low or negative when you designed the tour. You can show how you were monitoring it to make the most of opportunities, even though sales and generating intent were not the objective. You can show a segmented ROI analysis (if needed) that indicates those situations where it was higher or lower than anticipated. If the senior brand manager’s new position on sales becomes next year’s mandate, you have a road map on how to achieve his goals.
Until that happens, if it’s not about sales, you don’t have to lead with ROI reporting.