Is Your Marketing Working? How to Know for Sure

Event marketing isn’t easy. You have to make a lot of decisions about what you’re going to do to get people showing up and paying to see your event. Some of the things you’ll try (Google AdWords, for example) will come complete with excellent data about exactly what happened in your campaign. Other things (a print ad in your local weekly, for example) will come with virtually no feedback to let you know what happened as a result of your (no doubt) brilliant marketing campaign.

But this isn’t a new problem. We can deal with this! Here are a few ways to do so:

  1. Just focus on revenue. Fine, as far as it goes. If you sell enough, obviously, you’ve succeeded, but that’s a little bit like a football coach saying his strategy is “to win.” Not very helpful, coach.
  2. Just stay within budget. You set a marketing budget, you don’t overspend it. Hmm. It feels like something’s missing, doesn’t it? This may be a way of avoiding a marketing disaster, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work!
  3. Just do things that I can definitely, definitely measure. You can avoid buying things that you can’t measure, sure, but what if they’re really effective? That janky weekly paper might be exactly where you need to be.

Or, how about (better) option 4:

Use a metric called Revenue Per Seat, or RPS. The idea is that each “seat” represents an opportunity to make money. As a marketer, your job is to make as much money as you can for each one of those opportunities. (BTW, it’s true a lot of event marketers don’t exactly have “seats,” so we’ll change it a little bit. We’ll call it Revenue Per Spot, meaning revenue per every available slot a customer could fill at your event. Even if it’s a street festival, there’s a maximum number of people the fire marshal will allow. That’s your number.)

Calculate it super easily by doing this:

How much money have I made?

Divided by

How many ‘spots’ or ‘seats’ do I have?

For example, you can sell 1,000 admissions to a conference you’re marketing. You’ve sold half of them at the early bird price of $500 and 400 more at the regular price of $750.

You’ve made $550,000 so far.

Divide that by 1,000 spots, and (drum roll) …

Your RPS so far is … $550!

Is that good? You’ll find out by tracking it. Is it going up? Is it going down? How does it compare to last time? You can easily start to benchmark how much punch your marketing campaigns really have with this one simple metric.

Why is it so valuable? Because unlike measuring Average Price Per Ticket Sold, you see the whole picture. You could sell 1 ticket for $2,000 and think you’re doing great, but you’re going to need to sell a LOT more than $2,000 on an event like this to be successful, I think you’d agree. It’s more useful than tracking just revenue because as things change, you can see the impact.

It also allows you to think more strategically about price and distribution because you can evaluate the impact of your revenue per seat before you change prices or work with a third party (like Goldstar, for example). Done right, price changes and third party distribution work like good marketing programs and raise your RPS.

Lastly, it’s super easy to do. Just track your total revenue (or revenue by performance/occurrence) and divide by your max capacity. Make a little graph in excel and plot it daily. Going up is good. Going down is bad. The Goldstar team can help you with this if Excel makes you feel like you’re in 10th grade again. You can contact us here.  

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