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November 9, 2023

Strategies to Maximize The ROI of Your Events and Activations

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Strategies to Maximize The ROI of Your Events and Activations

This blog is based on our webinar of the same title with the Director of Customer Strategy for Westfield. To watch the full video and learn more about these strategies, you can visit this page.

If you’re planning events or activations, maximizing your return on investment (ROI) should be at the top of your priority list. After all, it’s important to drive every dollar and hour spent towards achieving measurable results and the outcome you want.

Over time, event marketers have developed strategies for optimizing ROI, but it can be tricky to know which approaches are most effective in today’s ever-changing landscape. 

In this blog, we will discuss proven tips and techniques for making sure each event has the potential to deliver maximum returns! We break down four easy strategies:

  • What KPIs you should be measuring for different events and experiences
  • How to capture the right data
  • How to turn your captured data into actionable insights
  • And how to leverage those insights to optimize and scale your strategy

Measure Success with KPIs

When thinking about how to measure the success of your events and experiences, it's important to establish precise, quantifiable key performance indicators (KPIs) that are linked to your overarching business goals.

These KPIs can include:

  • Revenue growth
  • Increased business awareness
  • Increased loyalty

Establishing your KPIs in advance allows you better to understand the impact of your experiences as a whole.

FAQ: How should brands approach choosing the right KPIs for every experience?

A great way to approach choosing your KPIs is to start by looking at your year overall. From a brand and team perspective, review the next five or ten-year plans, plus your annual plan. How do you want to move the needle?

That could be capturing a new customer segment or driving sales in a specific category. From there, tailor each event under that umbrella to move that needle and put it on paper.

You’ll end up with a list of short and long-term goals and what you think will make a difference towards your larger objectives. Each event should be tailored into specific KPIs so no two events are the same, with one primary and a secondary goal.


  1. Link your short-term impacts and long-term impacts
  2. Pick the right move for that event goal
  3. Put it on paper 
  4. Be honest with yourself after the event. Was the average spend a little too high? Were you too aggressive on the goal? Were there any external factors like the weather?
  5. Benchmark for the next year, so every year, you can analyze the event to see growth in your goal

Capture the Right Data

By capturing data from your consumers before, during, and after events, you can surface important trends about what's working. However, it’s essential to capture the right data without overloading your systems to avoid overwhelming yourself and your team. You can go into analysis paralysis, making it hard to take away actionable insights.

So, what are some of the key data points that brands should be capturing and tracking to prove the value that their events have on their strategy? Take a look at some of our favorite active and passive datasets:

  • Collect zip codes for a broader picture of where people are coming from and how you’re influencing behavior with your advertising.
  • Collect anecdotal information like feedback, NPS, rating, and survey data instead of quantifiable numbers.  

FAQ: What are common mistakes brands make when deciding what data to collect?

Impact Correlation

One huge mistake brands make when deciding what data they can collect comes down to what the correlation is to your goals and brand impact, both directly and indirectly.

Let’s look at an example. If you were doing a one-day event and you're tracking sales, you can see the guests that come to your event and if they’re purchasing food and beverages or items.

But what does that actually impact? You're not going to affect the dollar per square foot of an asset for an entire year from one day alone.

So, ensure that you’re looking at the correlation by measuring and collecting information that has broader applications to your goals.

Asking the Right Questions

If you’re using a survey to gather information on an event, like a net promoter score rating or feedback, make sure you are asking the right questions that tie back to the event itself. Often, brands want to dive deeper into why they see a specific measurement, but they won’t have any of the answers. Their questions just weren’t tailored to what they wanted to know.

Aggregating Information

How are you aggregating all the data you’re collecting to tell one larger story and not bifurcating it into different platforms? When you silo data, you cut yourself off from the larger narrative of your impact and limit your visibility.

For example, if you're looking to correlate sales data, but your POS system isn’t tied to your event system, how are you ensuring that you're putting in the right fields? Even if you go back and run a post-event analysis, even if you’re not over-capturing data, you still don’t have any action ability coming out of it because there’s no link.

Unlock Better ROI Insights

So now you’ve captured your defined data! Now, you have to analyze it to unlock the insights that you need and know where to focus to improve your ROI. For example, how much are your consumers spending? Are they purchasing products post-event?

Turn Data into Action

So many brands think that there’s one precise answer across every event for ROI, that there should be a number to hit that can apply to everything. But unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that. 

For example, if you're hosting a free event to drive traffic and awareness, an ROI measurement option could be “What is my average event spend per customer” vs. “what are the average sales per customer.” If you spend $5,000 per person who comes in for brand production, but the average basket spend is $30, then the return on investment is in deep deficit. 

But if you’re doing a luxury event, and the average spend is in the $18k range, even as the lifetime customer value, then the long-term benefits outweigh that initial $5k spend.

Benchmarking As Insights

If you want your brand to grow and thrive, measuring your performance against industry standards should be part of your strategy. Benchmarking against events in your industry can help you identify areas where you excel, as well as areas where you could use some improvement. 

This info can be used to make data-driven decisions that will help you better understand your consumers and their needs, as well as adjust your marketing efforts accordingly. By keeping a close eye on industry benchmarks, you'll be better equipped to keep your brand experiences competitive, relevant, and top-of-mind among your target audience.

Leverage a Platform with Built-In Analytics

Many brands that run experiences regularly have realized that the analytics gathering and insight surfacing can be a huge manual time sink. Modern experience platforms act as automated analysis, freeing up resources to focus on how to improve the next set of experiences, not just find out the basics. 

For example, AnyRoad gathers all the captured data and creates an easy-to-use dashboard that pulls info and identifies trends on your behalf. That way, trying to calculate ROI isn’t a draining process with multiple reports and headaches. It’s a simple click that gets you the data you need to show your return on investment. 

Optimizing and Scaling Events & Activations

Armed with the right insights, brands can better understand which customer segments are engaging at the events, as well as how and where to promote future events. When you measure the impact of certain events and activation types on sales and brand perception, you can hone your choices and execution to be more effective and impactful. 

Customize Experiences

You’re not collecting data for your own health. Qualitative information like feedback is a vital part of improving and scaling your events in the long run. When you customize your experiences based on feedback and previous event insights, you can create events that resonate with your audience with more precision. 

Demographic Differentiation

Just like ROI isn’t one size fits all, neither are your events. Different consumer demographics have various needs, desires, and buying habits that can affect the success of your activations. For example, suppose a specific demographic doesn’t purchase products or attend events during weekdays. In that case, you immediately know that any event for them has to be on a weekend to get your maximum return. 

Gathering demographic info and using it to define events is a scaling strategy that increases growth and drives better results. 

Real-Time Feedback

There’s nothing worse than running an event and realizing after that one piece of the experience was a little off that could have easily been fixed. Real-time feedback empowers your team to make needed changes to your experience, correcting errors and reducing friction for better results. 

ROI Doesn’t Have to Be Rocket Science

While maximizing your event and activations ROI isn't rocket science, there are specific strategies you can use for success. From choosing the right KPIs for your particular event to leveraging data-backed insights, there's no shortage of tactics worth employing. 

Now that we know how to maximize our event and activations ROI with these recommendations, it's time to put them into practice – or you can always watch the full video to learn how Westfield puts these strategies into action!

Step 1: Evaluate Your Scheduling Software Needs

Before researching online booking systems, evaluating your business needs is essential. After all, you don’t want to overspend on bells and whistles when you only need an online form. For newer events looking to scale, a more sophisticated system might be the goal but not the starting point.

Consider the type and size of your business, the nature of your services, and the volume of transactions you handle. For instance, if you run tours and tastings, you should look at solutions meant for high-volume enterprises that can include add-on shirts, beer steins, and more.

Scheduling Software Flowchart

We made a helpful flowchart to help you decide if you’re ready to invest fully in online bookings or look into a free scheduling app, like Google Forms, as a better starting point.

As someone trying to make smart investment decisions, you don’t want to buy a booking and ticketing solution that doesn’t meet your needs. Use our guided questions to determine where you are in your investment journey.

Booking System flowchart
Use the flow to gauge where you are on your journey!

2. Compare Booking Page Features and Pricing

Booking Page Features

Once you have a clear idea of your business needs, you can compare online booking systems that meet your criteria. Have a list of your most essential needs and what would be nice for you to have. Some features you should consider including on your list include:

  • Website integration
  • Branded booking page
  • Configurability to match your brand
  • Payment processing and add-on sales
  • Automated reminders
  • Automatic data analysis
  • Feedback collection and analysis
  1. Website integration
  2. Branded booking page
  3. Configurability to match your brand
  4. Payment processing and add-on sales
  5. Automated reminders
  6. Automatic data analysis
  7. Feedback collection and analysis






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