Unlocking the Power of Events: Introducing the Event Maturity Model

Are you struggling to communicate the true value of your events to leadership? Do you feel like events are seen as a cost center, not a revenue driver?

We understand. Traditionally, measuring the ROI of events has been challenging, often relying solely on metrics like ticket sales and sponsorship dollars.

Introducing the Event Maturity Model, a revolutionary framework designed to help event professionals:

  • Align with marketing, sales, and other business leaders: Speak the language of revenue and demonstrate how events contribute to the bigger picture.
  • Shift the focus from event-specific metrics to business-driven ones: Go beyond ticket sales and measure the impact of events on new business acquisition, customer growth, and retention.
  • Develop a roadmap for maturing your event strategy: Identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to elevate your events to the next level.

Thank you for joining us today. I'm coming to you live from LA where we just survived a three day rain apocalypse.
Still standing still going strong, which is great.

Katie and I are standing between you and an awesome roster of speakers. And a big thank you to that group for joining us today. So I'm gonna keep this brief.

As you may have seen in your inbox today marks the launch of our event maturity model. Katie's gonna walk you through the model in just a moment, but before we get there, I wanna answer one question, which is always a great question to start with. And the question is why? Why did we create this?

There are a ton of paths you can take to land the CMO role. Whether you come from a traditional marketing function like demand generation, content, product marketing, brand, PR, or communications, seems like there are numerous well worn paths to the top. What's interesting is that historically event marketing has has been left out of that equation.

The Year of Emotionary

VM Intelligence recently put out a report that called twenty twenty four the year of Emotionary.

This report highlighted that people are feeling burnt out, they're feeling disconnected, they're feeling jaded, and seventy seven percent of the respondents to that report, so they just wanted to feel something. To feel anything just to feel alive.
So the report notes that companies and brands that cater to that emotional need, what they call emotioneering will win.

That idea of emotioneering is what I think event marketers and the folks on this this digital event today have been excelling for decades. It's a function that makes people feel. It crafts new ways for customers to connect with companies and partners that mean the most of them. And it's important today more than ever as events are the real strength of many marketing programs.

But as I'm sure we all know, emotional connection is really hard to measure.

It's not a language that go to market leaders speak.

And that forms the fundamental disconnect between event leaders and their revenue teams. And so to us, it forms a disconnect between event professionals and the c suite.

It's a lack of the ability to communicate event success and event value in a way that translates to broader revenue goals.

Event Maturity Model Purpose

So that brings us to today. The event maturity model is designed to create that shared language. It's designed to open channels of communication between event teams and revenue leadership.

It frames events success, the success we're all going for every day. Around goals and metrics that translate across the business, not just in terms the event team understands.

We really hope this model will start a conversation. We hope it'll get revenue leaders to finally pay attention to events and their impact. And if we can't tie emotion directly to money, then let's tie the dollars back to events.

Lofty Goals and Hope for the Model

So with those very lofty goals in mind, I'm gonna pass the mic to our director of product marketing Katie Golland. Over to Katie.

Thanks so much, Chris. It's been so fun working on this new framework together. It's really been months in the making and what better way to launch something new than at an event.

We hope it spurs conversations and can be a tool to unlock opportunities to grow your events. Now, before we dive in, I'd loveexpand a little bit more on why we created it. If you could go to the next slide. As Chris mentioned, it's clear that while event leaders understand the value of their event strategy, there's not always clear alignment across marketing, sales, and the overall business objectives.

Key Goals of the Event Maturity Model

In that it's a clear opportunity to think about the way we measure the ROI of events, making sure that this ROI can be laddered back up to the overall business objectives.

And also, as you add more events to your event strategy, are you thinking about how you use registration and attend the insight to maximize your ROI story.

So our three key goals for this model are to one, create better alignment across marketing, sales, and the business.
Two, help event leaders get a seat at the revenue table by shifting the way we think about event driven revenue, and three, develop a tangible framework to mature your event strategy.

Poll on Measuring Event ROI

So I'd love to take a quick poll on how this group currently measures the ROI of their event strategy.

If you mind slipping to go into the next slide, you'll see the question how do you measure event ROI? On the right side of your screen, you'll see a poll, with this question. If you could go ahead and select the answer that resonates most with you and it's multi-select, so feel free to answer more than one.

A, ticket sales and sponsorship dollars, b, new business one from attendees that come to your events, c, customer upsells, retention and renewals, or d other. And if you're putting d other, please drop in the chat what that other is. We'd love to hear from you.

While we gather the results of the poll, I'll dive into how we've been looking at ROI, which is a key component of the model.

Measuring ROI for Events

Alright. We're commonly seeing three key buckets emerge as we look at how event leaders are measuring the return on investment from their events.

The first is event specific revenue.

This looks like total ticket sales, sponsorship revenue, total donations, if potentially that's if you're a nonprofit organization, that equation could look something like the total revenue from the event minus the total dollar amount you spent on the event.

The next two columns incorporate business focus metrics into your ROI measurement.

How are you helping to drive your overall business goals forward? Depending on the goal of your event, it could be focused on winning new business or growing and retaining current business or maybe a combination of both.

Depending on your industry and how you measure new business, you could be looking at leads, pipeline, bookings, memberships, or maybe new students driven directly from attendees that came to your event.

The key goal here though is measuring your event's influence on new business for your organization.

On the customer growth and retention side, you'd be incorporating goals and measurements around customer expansion, retention, product adoption, if you're launching a new product or overall happiness of the customers who attend your event.
Which could look like measuring Net Promoter Score or NPS.

Chris, I know this topic has come up quite a bit during our discovery sessions. I'm curious about your take on where you see the industry swaying in terms of measuring ROI.

Variety of Approaches to Measuring ROI

Katie, I think it's been a really interesting conversation.

I think what I've noticed in my conversation with customers is that really this is there's really no one clear answer from the folks that think about ROI. I think that's probably reflected in the results from the poll today. I think it also depends on the kind of business you're in and the the maturity of that business and the goals of the business. There are some folks probably who are on this digital event who, work at businesses where the event is the business. And that's day in day out what the business thinks about and is focused on. And in that case, you've got a really clear seat at the table, and you know exactly what it takes to be successful.

In other cases, I guess that I'm guessing people on this this digital event are in businesses where events are, a way of achieving other business objectives. And so in those cases, I think you start to see, a little more nuance around how you calculate ROI. Even the question of what you're gonna invest in your events program, you know, looking back at last year, thinking about increasing investment or decreasing investment, is a question that doesn't usually have a black and white answer.

And so my take on this is that there are a variety of different answers to it. I think over the course of this, this digital event and also in working with the model, we're gonna provide different answers that you can use to articulate the value of your events back to the business.

Thanks, Chris. Yeah. I've now that we're seeing the results come through, it looks like split about thirty-three percent ticket sales, thirty-one percent new business, twenty-three percent customer upsells and twelve percent other, which I'm really interested in digging into that other category and seeing how else organizations are measuring the ROI, but, really clear that we're seeing kind of a lot within majority within bucket one event specific revenue, and then we're seeing second place is really in that new business, which is, you know, it makes sense. And I think part of why we develop this model is to start thinking about that shift of event specific revenue is so important to measure.

Importance of New Business and Customer Growth

Right? We we have to know how many people are coming to the event. What is that direct attribution revenue coming from your event? But if we're not really looking at the new business or customer growth and retention, really how we're moving the business forward, we might be not really painting the full picture of our revenue potential for events.

So thank you all for participating in the poll, and super excited to go through the chat later and see some of the other responses that came through for other. So now without further ado, let's take a look at the event maturity model.

Clarification on Model Applicability

Before we dive in, I do wanna clarify that maybe this doesn't hit home for everyone.

If you're an organization that is solely focused on internal events, This might not be for you. But if you have a focus on using events as a way to drive new business for your organization, or make your customers happy and want to do more with you, then this is for you.

Overview of the Event Maturity Model Stages

There are five key stages within the model that we'll talk through today. There are also three levels within each stage that go from activating to mastering.

This morning, we emailed everyone here a guide that we launched today that digs deep into each stage and the levels within them. So today, I'm gonna try to keep it high level and walk through the stages and the big shifts that happen between the stages.

It's also important to note that this is not necessarily binary.

You can be in multiple stages at once and at different levels of maturity or adoption within each stage. We see this quite often actually.

You'll also notice a familiar metric that we just discussed on the y axis, which is event ROI.

The way we see ROI playing into this model is as you shift from being primarily focused on event-based metrics, and lean more into business driving metrics like new business acquired and customer growth and retention, you start to move up the model.

On the x or bottom axis, you'll see number of events. As you grow your events portfolio, you can move to the right on the model, But your data strategy, how you measure ROI, how you partner across marketing, sales, operations, and key business partners, across your organization plays a role in moving you really up to that three through five stage.

Okay. Now let's move through the model.

Stage One: Increasing Registration

Stage one is all about increasing registration.

The baseline for this stage is focusing on seamless, branded, and friction free registration experience.

The goal is to have a high registration conversion As you mature through this stage, you introduce personalization.

You could have a personalized registration experience based on attendee title, company or registration type. Let's say you wanna know the biggest challenges CROs are facing. So you add a question to your registration form specifically for guests who register with that title.

Organizations that are mastering this stage are partnering with other teams like sales and customer success to align on questions to surface in the registration flow to add value to future conversations.

Stage Two builds off of stage one. You're asking the right questions in your registration process to apply those insights in stage two to your attendee experience.

Stage Two: Personalization and Attendee Insights

What are the predominant titles of attendees attending your event? How do they answer questions you asked during registration to create content and experiences during your event that are relevant to them.

Your insights don't stop at registration either. You gather data on the sessions your attendees went to. Whether they're in person or digital sessions like we are today, what they engage with and you pass that data back to your sales and customer success teams to have meaningful conversations.

Chris, I know stage one and stage two is often an area we see many organizations sit Any good examples come to mind to you for an organization that fits within one of these stages?


Stage one stage two. Swoogo comes to mind. Especially circa 2023.

There are many people in this event who who may have been may have joined us at our last Uncon which is short for unconventional, our customer event, which happened last year in Portland. I would put us somewhere between stage one and stage two in terms of the maturity of that event. We were dusting off the cobwebs after COVID. We hadn't been in person for three years.

And we were really focused on number of people in the room, getting a really seamless registration experience, capturing insights from those attendees, and then we measured the success of that event.

Based a lot on NPS, some on revenue driven metrics, but also, really talking to people in the room and seeing what the feedback was.

Awesome. Thanks, Chris. Yeah. It's kinda fun to plot our own organization on this model. And also, it's not bad to be in one or two.

It's actually really great. And having those different levels of adoption gives you room to grow within those stages. So, thanks for that example.

Stage Three: Business Focused ROI Metrics

Now as we shift to stage three, this is where we really start to focus on two big things. The first is a shift towards business focused ROI metrics. How are you using your events to drive new business for your organization or retain and grow current business?

It's about having a strong relationship and you'll hear me say this over and over and over again. Strong relationship with marketing, demand generation, sales, operations, and customer success, to make sure you are setting goals collaboratively.

This is also where quality of attendees starts to weigh more heavily than quantity of attendees. Don't get me wrong.

Quantity is extremely important, but I let just last week sorry. Just last week, I met with an event operations leader that talked about how their webinars are seeing a high volume of sign ups, but they aren't converting to pipeline.

They aren't winning any new business from their webinars.

Now, not every event is going to convert new business immediately, but stage three is about setting goals collaboratively and having the tools and technology in place to measure these goals and measure event attribution.

Having a CRM strategy and marketing automation solution is a strong signal of moving to a mastery level at this stage.

If you've moved to stage four, you've been able to prove the business value of your events. You've shown event leaders and other leaders at your organization.

Stage Four: Proving Business Value of Events

How events can help you grow the business and you've gotten a seat at the revenue table?

Events are now a strategic pillar in your integrated revenue campaigns. Now this might be a new term for some integrated revenue campaigns I'm used to integrated marketing campaigns, but this is a fun spin on how you can focus your marketing campaigns to really drive revenue for your organization.

For instance, if you're launching a new product, your marketing team will run an integrated revenue campaign to launch that product and drive multiple offers or tactics around that launch.

If events are a key pillar in your integrated revenue campaigns, you've made it to stage four.

Organizations who make it to stage five are looking at their events as a portfolio.

Stage Five: Events as a Portfolio

They have different levels or different events for different audiences.

And can measure the overall effectiveness of their event strategy.

They understand the goals and outcomes associated with different event types and they may have a branded event portfolio, and they're making the shift to truly drive community and customer lifetime value through their events.

Chris, I know Atlassian is a customer that comes to mind for stage five. What's your perspective on what makes them a stage five organization?

Examples of Organizations at Different Stages

It's a great question. I think they one of the things that stands up to me about Atlassian's approach to events is just how closely integrated events are to overall company strategy.

Atlassian's mission is to unleash the potential of every team. And so teamwork and collaboration is really foundational to to the company.

Their stock ticker symbol is actually Team. And so when they think about teamwork and collaboration and in person and digital collaboration events are so central to the company's overall strategy, that they've got their their annual flagship event, which is which is called Team in, in Vegas in April, and then a portfolio of events around that that really support different pillars of their strategy. So it's a great example of where the company's whole strategy is connected and tied into their events.

Yeah. Absolutely. I think one of the things that stands out to me about Atlassian too is just their focus on building community and really building that kind of strategic partnership with the attendees that come to their events. And I know Christ you and I have talked about kind of how do you measure community. Right? If anyone has a great kind of way to measure the ROI of community, This is an opportunity for us to absolutely dig in deeper. Because this is one I think, you know, if you get that right, like, that would be incredible.

The goal is to really, you know, use events to create a community.

Key Shifts Between the Model Stages

So great. Thanks for sharing that, Chris. And now that we've made it through the model, I wanna hone in on some of the big shifts that we see between the stages.

I always love the acronym KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. So I'm trying to keep it simple and make sure we're kind of honing in on some of those key shifts that we see within the model. So moving from stage one to stage two is all about personalization.
Personalizing the registration experience to capture insights that can then inform your event content and attendee experience.

Moving from stage two to stage three is a shift in measuring ROI. There's a focus on quality of registrations over quantity of registrations.

And this involves a strong partnership with marketing, sales, customer success, operations, business leaders, and a data strategy that helps you back into showing that quality.

Moving from stage three to stage four is about having a seat at the integrated revenue table.

Events are seen as a strategic pillar in the go to market function at stage four, and you have a clear picture of how events influence business and revenue goals.

And then a leap from stage four to stage five is about having an event portfolio and using your events as a way to build community and become a strategic partner.

So we're super excited to keep this conversation going.

Announcement of Maturity Model Guide

If you wanna go to the next slide, we do have, a QR code here for you to be able to, scan and access that maturity model guide we launched today. It also should be in all of your inboxes if you've registered.

Encouraging Discussion and Poll

We really wanna encourage the discussion We know we don't have all the answers here, but we're hoping that this maturity model guide helps to create some really thoughtful and meaningful discussions amongst our community.

So we're really excited to continue that. There's also a poll, in the kind of Q and A area. Where you can choose to sign up for a kind of personalized overview of the maturity model. So if you're interested in learning more, feel free to let us know, and I will do a person a little call with you, to go over it in more detail. So thank you so much for your time today, Chris. Thanks for joining as well.

Introduction of Next Session

And let's give it up for Nick Bennett who runs field marketing events at some of your favorite brands and is joined by our Steph duo today. They'll be talking about giving your attendees a voice, which is kind of ironic because I can't hear any of your voices today. But without further ado, the next session is give your attendees a voice.

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