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Conference Marketing: How To Create A Post-Event Analysis

The Economist’s Ideas Economy: Innovation Forum 2013, Berkeley, CA

The Economist’s Ideas Economy: Innovation Forum 2013 took place on March 28th in Berkeley, CA.

You’ve worked hard for months to produce your conference, put in long hours on site, and now you’re ready for a 3-day nap. But wait! You’re not done yet. Before you put an event to bed, it’s vital to capture all of the data, lessons learned and recap notes you’ll need when planning the next one.

A post-event recap meeting is a given, with the entire team contributing while they’re fresh. But so often, the summary of revenue, profit & loss, program, operations and all else it takes to produce an event leaves marketing out in the cold. Consider that this call is often called the “post-mortem,” and you may understand why the whole approach was leaving us frozen.

This year, we decided to fire up marketing’s role in these calls, to make sure that the meeting also includes a recap of what produced success—with an eye to not only repeat that success for the next event, but to build on it.

The process has allowed us to delve into data proving the worth of each marketing effort. It forces the team to shed assumptions and discover surprising stats that were not clear until the end of the event cycle.

A simple PowerPoint presentation allows us to present each effort with summary statements and recommendations and to “pop in” everything from spreadsheets to graphics, press and even samples of the “buzz.”

Here’s what we include:

  • Attendee revenue, and historical revenue stats
  • Alumni participation: as a percentage of the total audience, with historical stats
  • Total on site attendees (paid and guests) plus speakers
  • Attendee demographics (industry, company size, title type, etc.)
  • Event website traffic over the event cycle
  • Overview of marketing activities, including:
    – Postal mailings
    – Emails
    – Telemarketing
    – Print ads
    – Banner ad campaigns
    – Social media ad campaigns
    – Social media engagement across platforms
    – Media and other outreach partner efforts
  • Registrations and revenue directly tracked to—or indirectly linked to—each marketing effort

The main challenge is producing the presentation quickly after an event. It’s hard, but worth it.

Highlights, surprising successes and recommendations will warm up that “post-mortem” meeting. And when it’s time to start marketing the next event, everyone has solid data on where to allocate budget and time—and forecast even greater success.