Event Management & Data

Event ROE: Is it More Important than ROI?

Victoria Rudi
July 29, 2023

Table of Contents

What is Return on Emotion? Why is it so crucial to understand and evaluate it? Is it more valuable than the ROI of an event? In this article, we’ll find out the answers to these and other questions.

Whenever we talk about events, we always obsess over the KPIs and ROI. We think there’s no other way to evaluate the success of our conference, seminar, or trade show. There’s nothing more relevant and trusted than numbers such as:

  • How many tickets did we sell?
  • How many people attended the event?
  • How many B2B meetings did attendees schedule?
  • How many likes did our event gather on Facebook?
  • How many people watched the event streaming?
  • How many attendees came to the cocktail dinner?
  • How much money did we invest in the event?
  • What was the profit?

These are just a few questions we try to answer when deciding the event KPIs. However, we fail to understand that we can’t measure the real success of our event in just numbers.

It’s like bragging about the traffic you get to your website, although people land on your site accidentally without taking the time to consume your content or decide it’s not interesting enough to read.

What’s important when evaluating the impact of your event is the emotional transformation your guests went through after attending your convention or fair.

In other words, apart from measuring your KPIs and ROI, you’ll also want to evaluate the Return on Emotion (ROE).

The real power of emotions at events

Why are you running the event? Is it because you want to attract more leads, increase brand awareness, or convince people to become your ambassadors? Don’t answer; that was a rhetorical question.

The answer doesn’t really matter anyway, because no matter what your goals are, you can’t achieve them if you’re not able to change the way your guests feel during the event.

Why do you think Tony Robbins can charge thousands of dollars per attendee for his “Unleash the Power Within”events?

Although not all people are very happy about Robbins’ methods during the three-day seminars, most of the attendees adore him, and claim his events have changed their lives. How is this possible?

The trick Tony Robbins and his team are using is to engage people emotionally. They dance like crazy, sing, and do silly things (such as looking at each other while touching their noses and jumping).

These things combined produce a wide range of emotions that somehow change the attendees’ perception of the event. They end up enjoying it, or in some rare cases, hating it.

Obviously, I’m not telling you to be just like Tony Robbins and dance around and sing at your events.

However, this shows the real power of emotions in transforming the way people feel, think, or behave. By emphasizing this aspect, you’ll be able to gain your attendees’ trust and full attention.

Moreover, you’ll make your event truly memorable. After all, what do you think people will remember: the boring speaker who was reading his speech from the slides or the surprise outdoor activity you prepared for them?

What is Return on Emotions?

Simple: It’s the ratio between the effort and resources you’ve put into designing the event and the emotional commitment and engagement of your attendees.

Here’s how it works: The more you focus and invest in providing an emotionally satisfying and compelling experience, the greater your chances are of achieving your goals.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re running the event to turn your guests into brand ambassadors. Will they feel compelled to become ambassadors if your event is just another boring gathering, like any other event that doesn’t meet their expectations?

Chances are they won’t give your brand a chance and will completely forget about your event (or write it off as a bad experience).

But what if you take their needs into consideration and design a conference that is:

  • Customizable (people can choose which sessions they want to attend)
  • Engaging (there are plenty of group activities)
  • Surprising (you’ve prepared an exciting social program)
  • Fun (the moderators and speakers you invited are extremely inspirational)
  • Considerate (you make sure the event is inclusive)
  • Entertaining (you incorporated storytelling techniques)
  • Energizing (through music and fun activities)

And all that, packaged as a high-level experience?

Then people will be excited to tell others about your event and share what they experienced, and that’s how they become your brand ambassadors.

Measuring the ROE

If you want to get really good at engineering positive emotions for your attendees, you should definitely start measuring the ROE. How can you do that? First, ask people how they felt during the event.

Yes, simply go into the crowd and talk to your attendees. Ask them how they are and what their impressions are of the event. Are they having fun? How are they perceiving your brand? Would they consider attending a second time?

You can also send online surveys.

Focus on the emotional aspect of your event and let people choose between the emotions they’ve experienced during the event. To make the surveys more perceptive, ask your attendees if they’d recommend this event or share their impressions with a friend.

Second, you can check out your guests’ social media actions. Did they comment about the event, or post any videos? Did they mention their friends who weren’t present at the event?

This information will give you see firsthand about how they felt about your event.

Finally, note that some companies, such as FC2events, went as far as to create a system that, via a video camera, read their attendees’ facial muscles. Subsequently, as they mentioned on their website, “A software collects the data, qualifies each emotion perceived and transforms it into emotional data.”

Invest in your attendees’ emotions

What defines impactful events? Is it the quality of your speakers? Or the number of audiovisual equipment you used? Maybe it’s the attendance rate, or how nice the venue is?

While all this matters when planning an event, there’s nothing more important than how your attendees feel during the event. So start investing everything you have in your guests’ emotions.

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Victoria Rudi
Senior Content Specialist
With a Master’s degree in Event Management and a keen follower of SaaS technologies, Victoria is an event content master, producing insightful and valuable for Eventtia’s blog and beyond

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