Now that events are going back to in person, how can meeting professionals deliver the same level of detailed success metrics to the executive team about the range of value delivered on the investment?

Two veteran meeting designers joined Smart Chat Live! Webinar to share their handy framework for putting competing goals in perspective and utilizing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Spoiler alert: It starts with understanding the purpose of the event and getting everyone to align behind that.   

Watch the entire webinar here.

Meet the Experts

Megan Finnell is director of meetings and conferences for Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and Timothy Simpson is brand and engagement chief strategist with Design Studio by Maritz Global Events. In a special webinar discussion hosted by Smart Meetings, Finnell and Simpson explained the importance of defining your event, how to measure Key performance Indicators (KPIs), and how meeting professionals can work with senior leaders to maximize event potential. 

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Simpson compared an event to a coin, which has two sides. On one side is the perspective of the board or C-suite, senior leaders, who have influence over budget and key decisions. On the other side of the coin is the perception of your communities, audience and guests you’re looking to engage. The meeting professional’s job is to bridge the gap between the two contrasting sides. 

Read More: 6 Ways to Measure Event Success

Simpson explained the progression of economic value from the bottom of the food change to the top. 


Graph showing progression of economic value. Goes from commodities to goods to services to experiences.

In the creating of things, businesses that take commodities and make goods add and receive more value. The next progression is a company that delivers a service and finally it progresses to a company that creates a full experience. “More value gets unlocked as you move up the ladder,” said Simpson. 

A Framework for Collaboration

“If you don’t have a clear purpose from your organization, why you’re doing this event, you can never prove value,” says Finnell. Her approach to get all departments in her medical association executive team on the same page is to use an event business model framework. Going through the exercise forces the team to define the event, project the revenue expected and agree on the KPIs that will be used to measure the success of the event. 

The event business model framework is a grid with the top being “purpose”, bottom being “product for profit”, left being” engagement” and right being “ticket sales.”


Graph explained in paragraph below and above. Showing examples of types of meetings and which quadrant they fit into.

Different types of events–trade shows, annual training, product launches/user events and awards galas–fit in different quadrants based on where they fall on the purpose/profit, engagement/revenue spectrum.

Read More: 8 Ways to Measure Virtual Event Performance and ROI 

For example, an event focused on engagement with a strong purpose, is likely going to have $0 revenue directly from the event as they are prioritizing different goals. On the other hand, an event focused on ticket sales and product for profit, makes the most revenue from an event, but may or may not engender as much good will.  Agreeing on where the event lands will determine the KPIs that will be measured and how you will make budget decisions and report results to improve the experience in future years. “Once you know clearly what is the purpose of my event, and why am I doing it, and what’s the return on investment and return on event my company is looking for, then you can track your KPIs directly to it, and track it, and then prove your value very easily,” said Finnell. 



Graph showing different KPIs needed for different quadrants.