How to measure success of a B2B experiential marketing campaign

B2B physical events and experiences have typically been extremely difficult to pin down in terms of their impacts. This is true even if marketing has gotten more data-driven in recent years. How does one quantify the genuineness of a customer’s excitement or the warmth of a handshake?

You can’t exactly do that, but you can use technology that evaluates the return on investment of key performance indicators for physical events and experiential marketing campaigns at each juncture in the customer journey. There are many moments and actions before, during, and after the event that reveal the mindset and emotions of your attendees. It all boils down to recognizing the appropriate KPIs.

What you need to know before you get started

There are many different indicators that can be used to gauge an event’s overall success. Although the specific criteria used to evaluate the success of an experiential marketing campaign will vary depending on the nature of the organization and the goals it seeks to achieve, the following are some guidelines to consider as a basis.

First, you need to determine what you hope to achieve with your experiential marketing effort. They can be specific goals like:

Lead generation
To measure success in lead generation, you need to track more than just the number of emails you collected through examples such as:
  • Engagements for each sales representative – How many people does each representative talk to during the event?
  • The conversion ratio – Number of qualified leads/numbers of engagement points.

  • Depending on your target demographic, type of event, location, etc., you may have extra KPIs that you need to monitor.

    Brand awareness
    If your campaign’s goal is to get people to know about your company, you may want to consider how to raise brand recognition or even alter public perception about your company. Here are some goals you can consider:
  • Brand awareness before and after the event – In what ways did your event affect people’s perception of your brand? Surveys are typically used to understand this.
  • Online brand awareness – Number of people who used your branded event hashtag; the number of new followers; the number of social mentions of your brand or about the event.

  • Boost in sales
    Will there be a sales booth set up at the event? As soon as the event concludes, when will you begin tracking sales again?

    Once your goals have been defined, you can choose the KPIs that will help you get there such as:
  • The sales of products before and after the event
  • New customers / returning customers

  • Experiential marketing KPIs that you need to track

    It’s crucial to think outside the box when deciding which key performance indicators (KPIs) to track, beyond the obvious ones like attendance, sales, and email signups. While these metrics are still necessary to monitor, they won’t tell you much about the event’s performance on their own.

    Going deeper can give you far more insight into what worked, and what didn’t since large numbers of attendees don’t always correlate to higher sales or even brand awareness.

    KPIs for pre-event awareness
    Before the big day, make getting the word out your top priority by using any means you see fit to reach as many people as possible. A lack of awareness (online or otherwise) guarantees that no one will show up to your event.

    Event registration website’s unique visits
    Compare the event website’s unique visits to the total number of visits to see if the marketing content is effective on the first visit or if they revisit the sign-up page before RSVPing for the live event. The best time to deploy targeted ads can be determined by comparing the KPIs over time when the event website’s unique visits span a specific time period.

    Event registration website’s traffic source
    If you want to get your message across and motivate people to sign up for the live event, you need to know what channel they prefer to receive it on.

    KPIs for event consideration
    The number of people who showed up to an event was once the most direct indicator of its success. The quality of the customer’s experience during the event has become increasingly important in recent years. There are several ways to find this such as the engagement rate on the event registration website or by surveying the event staff on their interaction with the attendees or the attendees’ interactions with the event’s exhibits.

    Effective frequency for pre-event marketing collaterals
    Most people won’t act after hearing about your event for the first time. The effective frequency of communication is the number of times it must be presented before the intended response is made. Your event’s marketing success depends on the number of times potential attendees interact with it, therefore it’s important to identify and arrange multiple touchpoints where they can do so.

    Of course, there’s no guarantee of success, but you should aim to make more of an impression than is necessary to prompt them to take action. Get the word out so that people who might be interested in attending or exhibiting can find you and set up a system to remind those who are thinking about it but haven’t yet committed to attending.

    You may have to put in more effort to be heard in advance when organizing an event with expected attendance, as the potential attendees may not give it much thought until the day of the event. Before the event, you will need to plan ahead for the event by thinking about how you may attract interest or motivate people to think about taking some sort of action.

    Duration spent on the event registration website
    Spending a long time on the event website is great if people are deciding before signing up but leaving without making a ticket purchase could mean the navigation is confusing or the value proposition isn’t compelling enough.

    The website’s information must be easily accessible to visitors without requiring them to go too deeply into the site. You can persuade people to sign up for your events by providing more information such as the biographies of speakers, a description of the issue your product seeks to address, or links to relevant downloadable documents.

    KPIs for event decision
    A high turnout is still a good indicator of success, but only when it’s considered alongside the KPIs listed below. When the attendees have left the event, you would want them to leave with a positive impression of your event and company.

    Conversion rate
    Even if no-shows are more common for free events, the difference between registrations and actual attendance might still be informative. If you expect a lot of people to attend but many of them don’t, you might want to consider making the event’s value more exclusive or putting more effort into promoting the event.

    ROI for the overall event
    This is another of the most frequently requested KPIs from the C-Suite, yet there is no magic number that captures everything. Depending on your business objectives, you may want to track post-event sales, attendee participation, or total impressions across all platforms to determine your return on investment.

    KPIs for retention

    Event attendees
    Whether the event’s attendance was heavily concentrated at the beginning, or the majority of people just turned up for the primary attraction, this helps you understand your consumers’ priorities.

    Tips for an experiential marketing campaign

    Delegate KPIs ownership to crew/staff
    The team you recruit or rely on to execute your experiential campaign must be aligned with your definition of success and must understand the significance of tracking certain key metrics in order to calculate the ROI. For example, the team responsible for handing out product samples should maintain a tally of how many samples were distributed to whom.

    It may be more difficult to keep track of intangible KPIs like event sentiment, but it is possible. While the sentiment is subjective, you may get a fair sense of whether people feel better about your brand following the campaign by having the team pay attention to how people are engaging with them and what they’re saying about the company. Instruct the team to make note of any unique reactions or remarks made by the participants.

    Calculate ROI by gathering KPI data
    Finding your ROI will include a unique method for each campaign. Certain KPIs will be more significant than others; but, by considering all of them together, you will have a comprehensive view of how effective your experience campaign actually was.

    It can be challenging, especially when operating with a small team, to define and measure success for an experiential marketing campaign. At Convergence Concepts, we have extensive knowledge in the field of experiential marketing and can offer effective assistance in the development, implementation, and evaluation of such campaigns. Feel free to drop us an email at to inquire more!