Your Questions Answered - How event technology can really start to deliver ROI

Hi Everyone

We are continuing the discussion from How event technology can really start to deliver ROI - 21 March, London:

At the event we had a number of questions form attendees that we didnt have time to answer, thefore we have posted these questions below and the panel will answer them in due course.

Whether you came along to the event or not, if you have any questions or comments, or just want to get stuck into the discussion please feel free to post below.

Should you wish to watch a recording of the event and the discussion please visit

Q1) Because of the word investment; does that put pressure on event tech to deliver a financial return? Do the panel agree that the objective should be sought first?

Q2) Is ROI even tangible all of the time? Surely some things like emotions are difficult to define or measure.

Q3) '@Alison, what are the must-have event tech solutions that guarantee ROI at your shows?

Q4) The panel refer to onsite and post show ROI but can the ROI journey start with engagement and metrics pre-show? Exhibitors and visitors are acquired months in advance so can the process start earlier?

Q5) Given the ability to accurately measure ROI from other marketing channels and the growing focus on data driven decision making, does the industry need to work more closely with the exhibitors to understand and improve the return from events?

Q6) Particularly on conversations and decision-making on new tech and innovation, how does the panel suggest we overcome the barrier of having no obvious/demonstrable ROI?

Q7) If exhibitions are ultimately about money and exhibitors are the ones paying, isn’t rebooking the only real measure of ROI from the show organiser’s viewpoint.

Q8) Technology can already allow a personalised agendas and checklists to make their visit as efficient as possible…but will visitors/delegates make use of this. Do you see 80% plan their day?

Q9) I understand the panel’s experience is exhibition heavy, but do they have an opinion on how event tech can be used in other events (launches/galas etc.) to measure ROI?

Q10) A lot of talk about revenue generation but not about things such as generating behavioral/cultural change through education, etc - more for internal comms events.

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Technology doesn’t have to deliver purely a financial return. But from the outset, the discussion about the technology needs to focus on what benefit it delivers to its end user. For example it could save an organiser time, so they can focus on their customers. Or, it could make the welcome experience easier for delegates. Or lead capture simplified for exhibitors…the list of examples could go on. If it’s just a nice to have, it’s going to prove harder to deliver long term value.

In answer to the question - Yes, objectives should be sought before deployment of anything around an event, let a lone technology.


In the first conversation that a sales person has with an exhibitor, they need to find out what the exhibitor is trying to achieve from being at your event. If that question is not asked, you cannot provide the answer in summary of your event outside of how many hundreds or thousands of people attended…

I’d add - that if the technology helps to capture data, the ROI can and should often be indirect. In other words - capturing more and better data, using that data to understand the event’s audience better, and using that insight to produce better future events and more targeted and effective marketing for those events.

Said another way, “event tech” is often interpreted as hardware - drones, VR, etc. But I’d argue that even more important is the data and insight that technology can create. And that is often where the ROI ultimately comes from.

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@mcoyne agree! How much of the issue do you think is exhibitors not having a clear enough objective/targets set for what they want to get from exhibiting? If you’re looking to get new leads, you can work out what your average lead to customer conversion rate is, and what your average customer lifetime value is and therefore work out whether there will be ROI from exhibiting at a certain event. How many exhibitors do this or similar processes do you think?

Q1) Call it ROO (Return on Objectives - can still me measured if the Objectives are S.M.A.R.T. and inline with a singular overall goal i.e. that participating in the event will, in combination with other sales and marketing activity have a positive impact on your bottom line.

Q2) It’s not an either or. Emotional or soft objectives work to support the more clinical SMART objectives. It all works together to build a feeling about your organisation. It could be the first impression, it could be to confirm a positive or correct a negative perception

I won’t go through it line by line but the overall fact is that, as I mentioned on Linkedin today, the floorspace is sold on habit, fear and panic - what will happen if you don’t exhibit, rather than adding value. The challenge for the sales people is that once you bring KPIs into the mix the client has a powerful weapon if it all goes belly up. Much safer to just throw exagerated visitor numbers around and tell folk there’s limited space available. Fear is a brilliant motivator.

ROI and ROO are easy enough to measure. We just need to throw off the blinkers and understand the exhibitors’ wider business objectives, sales cycles, order values etc. But that means a conversation and that in turn could complicate the process of walling up to the floorplan on the sales office wall and get the highlighter pen out,

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