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Live events – why consistent measurement matters

Following this week’s launch of the EMMC, its founder Dax Callner, Strategy Director at Smyle, highlights how an industry-wide consensus on what to measure will raise the credibility of event impact.

Over the last decade marketing officers have increasingly demanded better evaluation of the effectiveness of the live events they hosted. This is because events tend to be expensive compared to other elements of the marketing mix, and the value derived from them harder to quantify.

“It’s our job to help demonstrate that the investment in events is worthwhile,” says Dax Callner, Strategy Director at leading UK events agency Smyle. “The problem is that as an industry we are all measuring different things – and many of them are not important to the success of the client’s business.”

Creating consistency in the measurement of events lies at the heart of the Experiential Marketing Measurement Coalition (EMMC), which was launched on 15th February. The EMMC brings together events and marketing companies in a bid to promote a standardized core of measurement practices that can lead to industry benchmarks.

“With membership open globally, this is the biggest attempt yet to gather events data and use it to create a better overview of the business performance of live and virtual events,” says Callner. “People often think measurement is complicated. The aim of the EMMC is to make it accessible by keeping the approach simple and delivering data that is easily digestible, so that everyone can say, ‘I get it’ and the industry can support it.”

The EMMC is recommending that events should be measured on four standardized metrics, which are:


1. Impact on brand reputation

2. Impact on anticipated behaviour

3. Impact on loyalty

4. Did people value the experience?


“While the first three metrics are focused on the bottom-line impact of the event, the last one is more subjective,” says Callner. “We don’t want to waste client’s money or people’s time if the event didn’t add value.”

A longer-term ambition of the EMMC is to gather anonymized events data and use it to build benchmarks by which a range of live event types can be compared. The EMMC’s growing membership will create a deep pool of global data that gives greater scale and insight than any individual agency could achieve on its own. The EMMC has also established a certification process in conjunction with the UK Centre for Events Management that independently audits and certifies the credibility of event marketing efforts.

“Live and virtual events have one element that no other marketing channel can compete with – and that’s direct human interaction. And we all know that human relationships still drive business decisions. But we need to prove empirically that they are worth the effort,” says Callner.

“We are already doing this work at Smyle, and our in-house approach called Metric is giving us data that demonstrates hard evidence that client events really deliver. What’s missing is an industry-wide consensus of what are the key tools.

“The whole events industry needs to understand that we must get better at proving the value of our work. A standardized set of measurement metrics is an important step in the right direction.”