Ways to prove that live events can improve a company’s engagement with stakeholders

Ways to prove that live events can improve a company’s engagement with stakeholders

24th February 2022, 2:40 pm

Live events can be a hugely beneficial tool in supporting a company’s engagement with stakeholders, whether it’s staff recognition or to better connect with new and established customers.  But senior teams often find it difficult to justify the cost of an event internally. Similarly, establishing just how events can bring added marketing value to your business can be a stumbling block.  Successful businesswoman and an event management professional of over thirty years’ experience, Liz Taylor of the Taylor Lynn Corporation, shares her top tips on how to communicate the value of live events, both in proving ROI and tips for adding real value.

  • Have strong objectives

So many people start out with an idea for an event, but then don’t treat it like they would any other aspect of their business. Setting clear objectives and measurable KPIs are the fundamental way to prove an event’s ROI, and in turn, sell in the idea to senior leaders. Don’t be wishy washy, you need strong, clear way to demonstrate the worth of your event and the only way to do that is set out your stall at the start and constantly evaluate as you go along. Think about your leadership team, how do they evaluate the worth of other business costs? If it’s statistics, you need then think about how you will measure success and then ensure every part of your event is planned to meet your objectives.


  • Give them ownership

If it’s us and them, then it will always be a hard sell. If they are part of an event team from the outset, even in the least time demanding way, then getting them to buy into that event should become easier. Perhaps it’s a speaker opportunity, or task them with setting and tracking KPIs, run certain decisions by them or just keep them informed with a regular round up. If you need to massage egos, do it. Just make sure they have a level of involvement that goes beyond simply turning up on the day.

  • Keep your brand front and centre

Within the event design, making sure the whole structure is built around the brand values and communicates them can be a brilliant way to add marketing value. This can be done in a very corporate way if that’s your identity, but there are quirkier and more memorable ways to do this too, which is my company’s route. One jewellery company we organised an event for started off their journey fifty years prior, selling jewellery from suitcases. We brought that concept into the event by serving our cocktails out of vintage cases. Everyone remembers it!

  • It’s not just about sales

Yes, if this is the objective of your event then sales should be a KPI, but it’s worth remembering that there are lots of other outcomes when holding a successful event, not all having a direct effect on the bottom line. Levels of engagement, website traffic, understanding of your company, data capture, social shares can all be hugely beneficial and need to be tracked in order to demonstrate an event’s worth. Ahead of your event take a benchmark figure of any key indicators, those mentioned above, or others bespoke to your event. If it’s an internal event, survey staff ahead of the event to see what their thoughts are, good or bad. Take another survey post-event and see how the markers have changed. Data is king when it comes to proving worth, but taking anecdotes from open ended answers too can give a more rounded view of the event outcome.

  • Be social and track social

If you’re not already doing this at your event then you seriously need to get with the times. Especially during the pandemic, events are now multi-level, hybrid affairs. It’s no longer good enough for people just to attend, it should be par for the course that they are encouraged to share, like and engage via social channels, even if it’s an internal staff event. Ask guests to submit questions via Twitter, have an event hashtag as standard and be sure to share and engage with attendees in real time by appointing a dedicated member of the event team for social media. Of course, all that goes to waste if you don’t track and report back on just how the event affected your social engagement. Make sure it’s part of the event report and evaluation.



  • Give guests a reason to stay in touch

There’s nothing worse than holding an event, everyone having a lovely time, then sending everyone off into the ether never to be seen again. That’s why you need to give guests a reason to revisit the event. It could be a LinkedIn group where people share their learnings and stay in touch to mentor one another. Create a post-conference programme or educational take away so that when delegates leave, they have reason to reconnect either by email or through a gated download on your website. If it was more social, create a microsite where professional photos are uploaded and guests can login to view. Give them an added value extra and keep them coming back for more.

  • Evaluate post event

I touched on it already but as well as setting goals, evaluation needs to be a key part of the event process. Yet it’s often forgotten and that’s one of the reasons that events can be viewed as superfluous; a nice to have rather than a ‘must have’. In my view that’s something that really needs to change. There are so many positives of an event, not only does it bring into focus and give you a platform to communicate important messages to the audience. When done right it’s a memorable day at work, a reason for staff to celebrate.

How do you expect to prove all these positives, with no evaluation in place? Return to those initial KPIs and prove how you have met and exceeded them.

  • Communicate the results

Whenever I set the date for an event, I also set the date for the debrief. It’s something my clients have come to expect now and a chance to celebrate the successes as well as setting in concrete the deliverables and how that event performed. If things didn’t work, discuss in this meeting what they could be replaced with next time. But remember to finish on a high, as well as how to make it even bigger and better next time round.

I like to put together a presentation with stills or moving image, coupled with statistics and snippets from guests who have had a great experience. I always try to make it as fully immersive as possible for those who didn’t attend on the day.

  • Not just internally

Another added value point is to communicate your event outside of your business. A simple write up on the website or in company newsletters will get guests asking for more. If you had particularly note worthy speakers or guests then it could also be worth doing a write up for the media. Share it in your annual report as a high point in the year and remember to include those all-important KPIs.

  • Ride the high

There’s nothing like a successful event to get back the buzz into your business. The absolute best time to start planning your next event, and get senior buy in, is right after the one you’ve just planned. That euphoric feeling fades when you’re back into the day-to-day so while your senior team is reaping the benefits of an event, be sure to get the next one booked in.

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