Generally, most marketers use the number of attendees as a metric to measure the success of an event. Part of the problem with using attendees as a metric is it’s generally an overestimation of your ability to impact your audience unless you are a very large company, such as IBM or Cisco, or you are at a very small show.
So in order to more accurately measure the impact my company has at a certain conference, I developed a metric called (oddly enough!) “Impact.” This number is determined by multiplying the number of attendees by the “Impact Rate.” The Impact Rate is a guesstimate of the percentage of folks at the show who likely interacted with or at least saw our company brand in some context at the show.
The Impact Rate is obviously much higher for shows where you do a lot of advertising (sponsorships, bus wraps, presentations, pre-show direct mail campaigns, etc. in addition to your basic booth), or where you are a big company within a smaller show. The Impact Rate goes down if you only have a basic booth set-up or if you are a smaller company at a larger, industry-wide show.
This Impact number is important because it represents (approximately) how many people you impacted at a certain show, versus just the number of attendees, which can be very misleading in some situations.
Next week, I’ll share some additional metrics that can help you determine the effectiveness and the cost efficiency of your events.