The Event Maturity Model: Driving Engagement & Revenue through Events

Let’s be honest; it’s hard to get go-to-market teams aligned behind a common goal, especially when it comes to events.

It doesn’t matter what type of event it is either—a new product launch or a regional roundtable series with customers—the same challenges always seem to crop up. A disjointed process. Misalignment on goals. Confusion about how the event actually performed. 

There are a few possible reasons for this misalignment…

Maybe your CMO has been preoccupied with content and demand gen, which bumped events down the list (yet again).

Maybe it’s historically been difficult for event leaders at the company to get a seat at the leadership table.

Or maybe your event went off without a hitch; but there was no planned follow-up afterward, which got called out as a huge missed opportunity (hey, it happens more often than we’d like to admit).

Good news: there’s absolutely a way to solve these challenges. What if we could… 

  • Transform events into bona fide revenue drivers 
  • Elevate event leaders into true strategic partners (instead of idea executors)

And what if we could achieve both while finally giving event teams their (well-deserved) kudos?
The Event Maturity Model is a framework designed to help you articulate the value of your initiatives, drive revenue systematically from your events portfolio, and change the way events are run at your company— turning all those dreams into reality.

You can host as many events as you want. But there are certain things that need to happen pre-, during-, and post-event to effectively drive ROI and long-term gains. The Event Maturity Model covers all of those pieces.
Stefanie Ordoveza, Head of Events at Guild

The Event Maturity Model

The Event Maturity Model guides event leaders to evaluate the maturity of their event strategy and identify growth opportunities. You can use the model to plot how you’re measuring event ROI, the strength of your partnerships with sales and marketing, and how you’re thinking about your events’ data strategy to drive long-term business value. 

The model introduces five stages, running from increasing registration at stage 1, to increasing customer lifetime value at stage 5. The stages are broadly progressive; the model as it appears below represents an idealized growth path, but keep in mind your journey may not look as linear. It’s totally possible to find yourself in the upper left or bottom right quadrants, or in multiple stages at once (we’ll get to that part!)

For example, teams just starting out often need to focus on driving registration and improving the registration experience; teams that have been honing their event strategy longer may have registration nailed, but still struggle with connecting registration to leads.

It’s also possible to be in more than one stage at a time—you could be executing at one, two, or even all five stages. For example: “How can we improve our registration page (this would be stage 1) so that we can capture the right data to target specific customer segments (this would be stage 4)?”

On top of that (bear with us here!), your events team can be at a different adoption level within each of the five stages. The model identifies three adoption levels within each stage—activation, expansion, and mastery—which describe how events teams move through each stage to expertise. We’ll get into that in more detail in a moment, but for now all you need to know is that the maturity model is your ticket to increasing event-driven revenue.

How are you measuring ROI?


Direct: Primary event revenue
Ticket sales, sponsorships, donations

Event teams that are just starting to measure ROI typically look only at revenue earned directly at an event. For example, “It took $X to produce this event, and we made $Y dollars based on sponsorships, ticket sales, and donations.” If an organization is solely measuring this way, they are likely in the early stages of their ROI measurement journey.


Indirect: Secondary event revenue
New business, customer growth, product adoption, NPS

This view of revenue expands to include net-new business that was driven by inviting and engaging with prospects at an event. User conferences and customer-focused events are a great way to engage and retain customers. Beyond just looking at revenue sources like ticket sales, you’re now starting to consider how events impact revenue indirectly, like winning new business and growing and retaining existing customers.


Big picture: Big-picture revenue
Net revenue retention, customer lifetime value

Event teams at this level aren’t just tracking how events both directly and indirectly influence revenue. You’ve got a 360-degree view across the entire event portfolio as it relates to new business, account expansion, customer happiness, retention, and more.

How to use the Event Maturity Model

There are a few ways to leverage the model, depending on your role and goals. Here are the two most common use cases:

For event leaders

For leaders, the maturity model empowers you to articulate your vision to your executive counterparts and get them to see events as a business-driving channel. Equally importantly, to put the required systems in place to make your data actionable for other customer-facing teams like sales.

For event organizers

The model can help you understand how to create value through your event strategy. Use it to guide you through challenges like proving ROI and focusing on the right metrics, and partnering with sales and marketing to ask relevant questions during the registration process.

No matter where you sit within the event team, the model’s ultimate goal is to get you thinking more systematically about your strategy and goals, and uncover growth opportunities.

The 5 stages of the Event Maturity Model

Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at the stages in the Event Maturity Model, and what different levels of adoption look like in each one. We’ve included some examples of goals and outcomes for each stage to help you identify where your own team is.

Stage 1
Increase event registration

Getting people registered for your event is one of the most important components of success, especially in the introductory stages of your overarching events strategy. Your event website and registration experience are an opportunity to make a great first impression… or lose visitors thanks to a clunky experience. Here’s what stage 1 looks like across different levels: 

Activating

At this level, you’re focused on a clean and well-branded registration experience, but you haven’t started to incorporate any personalization yet.

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Sample Goals


Create a seamless registration flow


Design a clean event website experience

Outcomes


Easy attendee registration


Low abandon rates in the signup flow

Expanding

At this level, you’ve incorporated a multi-step approach to registration that allows you to gather more detailed attendee information, and started incorporating personalized registration experiences. You’re integrating questions or insights in the registration process that can be used to personalize the attendee experience later on.

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Sample Goals


Introduce multi-step registration workflows


Personalize registration experiences (i.e. by role, by company, by registration type)


Make smart in-event recommendations

Outcomes


More robust and detailed registrant data


Higher registration conversion through personalization 


Registration insights start informing event experience

Mastering

At this level, you’ve built solid partnerships with sales and marketing and are collaborating with them to ask questions that are important across teams. For example, maybe you discover that marketing wants to understand market trends or challenges that your C-level audience is facing. By introducing questions based on registrant persona, you can collect the right information to arm your sales counterparts. These responses could be weaved into event content and used throughout your marketing content strategy.  

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Sample Goals


Collaborate cross-departmentally to gather actionable insights during the registration process 


Deepen understanding of registrant segments

Outcomes


Actionable insights and intent signals delivered to sales and marketing


Registration insights can be used to inform and strengthen event content

💡 Swoogo Tip

Get aligned with sales, marketing, and C-level executives to implement conditional logic and ask specific questions based on attendee information. This will help you provide a personalized registration experience for different attendee types; you can also use this data to inform unique experiences on the day of the event.

How are other Event leaders doing it?

We created personalized registration paths where our attendees can submit all their information and also opt into specific programs at the event. For example, we might have a founders’ session for startups and investors. So if someone fills out ‘startup’ when they’re registering, we can then use Swoogo’s conditional logic to add a question later in the registration that says, ‘Hey, we noticed you said your company is a startup—you might find this session for startups interesting.’ It helps us create a much more tailored experience.
Matt Baum, Senior Manager, Product & Operations at HLTH

Stage 2
Capture attendee insights

Stage 2 is where the insights gathered in stage 1 inform how you engage with attendees before, during, and after the event. The big shift between stages 1 and 2 is the conversion from registrant data to attendee insights. Let’s use the insights we’ve collected in stage 1, implement them in stage 2, and continue to collect attendee insights along the way. Here’s how stage 2 plays out across adoption levels: 

Activating

At this level, you’re using the questions you asked during registration to craft your event experience based on attendee preferences. For example, what are they interested in learning about, and what problems are they currently facing?

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Sample Goals


Implement insights gathered during registration to inform event strategy 


Deliver personalized event website experiences based on registration insights

Outcomes


A good understanding of your audience personas


Attendee-led event experiences based on real data

Expanding

Now it’s time to expand your efforts to include gathering attendee insights on the day of the event. For example, you could track which topics attendees are especially engaged with, who they’re meeting with, and bubble up insights that allow your sales and customer-facing teams to have more meaningful conversations with attendees. This could look something like, “Hey, Dwight Schrute is attending lots of beets sessions. We should tell our sales team so they know to bring up beets with him.” 🤪

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Sample Goals


Gather insights on specific sessions your attendees are attending


Engage with attendees during sessions and track engagement data


Tailor content to known attendee preferences

Outcomes


“Always on” personalized attendee experience


Custom event content, informed by attendee data

Mastering

At this level, your attendee experience has been curated based on attendee persona, and these personas carry through to the day of event experience (insights continue to be gathered) as well as extending to post event experiences such as personalized on-demand content. These attendee preferences can be built upon for additional touch points and for your next event. 

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Sample Goals


Craft hyper-personalized communications


Present attendee-led content


Carry attendee personas through to day-of-event experiences and post event content


Leverage attendee intelligence to inform future event strategies

Outcomes


360º personalized event experiences 

💡 Swoogo Tip

Use registration data to personalize what your attendees see after signing up. It could be a custom event agenda, or an on-demand content hub built around their personal preferences—something that makes them think, “Wow! They actually used all that info I gave them while registering to send me content that I’m genuinely interested in!” 

How are other Event leaders doing it?

Because Swoogo lets you design for both web and mobile, we put QR codes throughout the event space, on badges, and just leverage that landing page as the hub for all event information. Sometimes you don’t necessarily need a mobile app, say for a half-day event, but we can push attendees to the landing page that they’ve been interacting with throughout the event to get them to engage easily.
Brendan Shuff, Director of Event Technology at Event Strategy Group

Stage 3
Create leads and pipeline

Now we’re getting to the exciting part: revenue. At this stage, your partnerships with marketing, operations, and customer success are critical to ensuring your event goals are tied to business metrics and can be successfully tracked. Yes, you’re tracking event specific metrics like registration count, but you’re also curating your attendee list based on prospects you’re hoping to engage with at the event to ultimately win new business, and customers you’re hoping to retain and grow business with. 

Teams that are strong in this stage are typically tracking those goals effectively with a CRM solution and creating a feedback loop with customer-facing teams.

Activating

At this level, you’re bringing marketing, sales, and customer success teams into the event goals conversation early on. They work alongside your event team to set lead and pipeline goals for new business opportunities, and growth and retention goals for current customers. Goals are set collaboratively and these teams are guiding the quality of attendees we want to invite.

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Sample Goals


Develop shared goals with sales and marketing focused on new business


Develop shared goals with customer success focused on growth, retention, and customer happiness 


Business metrics are shared and reported on regularly

Outcomes


Increased sales conversations from event leads


Increase in quality of attendees vs quantity 


Showing business value in revenue metrics

Expanding

Moving through this stage requires the use of a CRM solution. A CRM ensures that you can effectively track your leads, pipeline, customer growth and retention goals and attribution can be tracked leading up to and after the event. Event leaders want to get attribution credit for influencing business metrics. Incorporating your operations team and a CRM is fundamental to expanding in Stage 3.  We see organizations in Stage 3 also leaning into a Marketing Automation solution to set up email nurture campaigns for your event registrants, attendees, and even those who came to your event registration page but decided not to register. 

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Sample Goals


Set up a campaign ID or tracking solution for your event(s) to effectively track attribution 


Connect your event software with your CRM  


Connect your Marketing Automation solution and have automated email nurture campaigns 


Provide real-time data to sales, marketing, and customer success teams

Outcomes


Effectively track how events influence business metrics


Save time by enabling your event software to talk directly to your CRM and Marketing Automation solution

Mastering

At the mastering level, you’re designing your events specifically around the customers that you’re hoping to win, grow, or retain. You’ve established a strong collaborative process across the revenue-driving organization to provide attribution for how events achieve revenue goals. By now, your team is also super comfortable using your CRM solution to share real-time insights with Sales and other customer-facing teams. 

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Sample Goals


Develop sales-led invite lists


Engage in event-specific sales training 


Identify high-value leads early


Make attendee data easily actionable for Sales

Outcomes


Alignment between sales and event teams on event goals


A shift to a revenue mindset for events

💡 Swoogo Tip

Don’t have a good CRM integration yet? This is a good time to start. Integrating your CRM with your events platform will give you a full picture of your leads’ event interactions and drive sales conversations. Fun fact: Swoogo integrates with CRMs like Salesforce and HubSpot to automate the bulk of your data syncing.

How are other Event leaders doing it?

Some folks see ‘revenue’ and think solely of ticket sales, but it’s important to remember that ‘revenue’ can be all-encompassing. There’s the opportunity to engage with new leads, in-pipeline accounts as well as retain and expand existing deals too. This is where viewing events as a pivotal part of your GTM/sales strategy can really unlock revenue potential!
Stefanie Ordoveza, Head of Events at Guild

Stage 4
Grow revenue

The good news is, if you’ve done stages 1 to 3 well you’re already set up for success in stage 4. If you can prove the business value of events, you’ve earned a seat at the table. 

This stage is focused on building events directly into your integrated revenue campaigns. Events are a pillar of your go-to-market strategy, and when you launch new products or bring new areas of focus to market you lean heavily into how events help amplify your message and achieve your business goals.

Activating

Early on, you’re incorporating events into your GTM motion. When you’re launching a new product or your marketing team is pushing out a new campaign, events are seen as a way to amplify the messaging. In other words, you’ve got a seat at the revenue table, but you may still have a reactive approach. 

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Sample Goals


Annual and quarterly planning sessions with cross functional business leaders to discuss major marketing themes and how events will play a roll


Strategize event timing and content to map to larger revenue initiatives

Outcomes


Integration of event portfolio into revenue driving campaigns

Expanding

Next, you’re getting into strategically designing event content around your GTM strategy and leveraging that seat you’ve got at the table. At this stage, marketing and other business leaders are beginning to look at events as something bigger—a pillar for how they engage with the market every time a new product launch or campaign goes out. 

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Sample Goals


Design campaigns in conjunction with events


Craft content designed for multi-channel use


Participate in post-event content distribution 

Outcomes


A prominent impact on demand generation 

Mastering

If you’re mastering this stage, your events are indispensable to revenue efforts. They drive business decisions and roadmap prioritization, and are integrated into every GTM campaign with clearly defined business goals. Your business executives use your events as a forcing function for new business innovation to be launched to the market. 

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Sample Goals


Track event influence on lead conversion from integrated revenue campaigns 


Use events as cornerstone pieces of a larger revenue campaign strategy


Event content is developed with business innovation in mind 

Outcomes


The events team is credited for driving pipeline and bookings associated with integrated revenue campaigns

💡 Swoogo Tip

Having a great event platform is crucial here, because collecting data isn’t usually the problem— consolidating that data into a clear story is where it’s easy to get stuck. For a quick pulse on event program health, Swoogo’s highly customizable dashboard gives you a session summary that includes KPIs like the number of registrants, registration by session, revenue, and more.

How are other Event leaders doing it?

We’ve successfully been able to get executive buy-in on the value of our events strategy by showing the pipeline data attributed to events, and getting executives to show up and engage at the event. This year, leadership tasked marketing with building a proposal for what we want to launch on stage at our annual conference, Collaborative. This plan then drove the product roadmap. Product was asked to deliver based on our event timeline. Our messaging and content will also ladder up to this major market launch.
Laura Kaiden, Senior Manager of Events at Classy

Stage 5
Increase customer lifetime value

At this last stage, you’re running events at scale and maximizing event ROI. To do this, you need an annual event strategy that drives continuous buyer and customer engagement, which ultimately increases customer lifetime value (CLV). But there’s also more to this stage. You’re starting to show up as a strategic partner, as a community builder, as a thought leader in your market.

Activating

Early on, events are included in the annual planning process as a strategic driver for business growth. Budgets are allocated for bringing staff members onsite to represent your organization and established ROI metrics are solidified up front. The business is starting to shift to not only a leads/pipeline mentality, but how your organization shows up as a thought leader in your market. 

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Sample Goals


The events teams own a piece of the overarching business goals and objectives  


Community-led programs are established surrounding your events

Outcomes


Event leaders are included in annual strategic planning

Expanding

At this stage, strategic initiatives and goals are brought to life through events, and create a sense of focus for the organization.

Read More

Sample Goals


Bring C-Suite in on event strategy 


Have executives participate in planning for flagship events

Outcomes


Events are a cornerstone of company revenue strategy


Events are aligned with annual goals 

Mastering

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve developed a branded event portfolio that’s integrated into every GTM team and is positively impacting revenue, retention, and customer loyalty.  

Read More

Sample Goals


Develop a robust branded event portfolio 


Integrate events into every GTM team


Develop a sense of community and strategic partnership through events

Outcomes


Events are actively driving revenue, retention, and customer loyalty

Remember, you can have a variety of events in your portfolio—there might be field marketing events, webinars, roundtables, trade shows, and more. The important thing is to understand how to measure the value of your portfolio of events and show the pipeline and revenue that each one is driving. For example, if you see that roundtable dinners are actually driving more enterprise-quality leads, you might shift your strategy to include more roundtables.

Atlassian is a great example of this—they have an annual event called Team, as well as a series of smaller regional events all over the country that ladder up to the larger Team event. It’s a cohesive event strategy that speaks to their core personas and helps drive the right prospects and customers to their events.

As you go up the maturity model in stage 5, you should be getting a better grasp of how to maximize—and articulate—your return on investment from events. For example, maybe webinars are cheaper to run, but they have a lower conversion rate, so you’ll blend a few webinars with a few executive roundtables to cover your bases. 

As you’re trying out different levers to increase your CLV, being able to use and manipulate data is crucial, especially for proving to the executive leadership team that you’re making informed data-driven decisions based on historical event performance.

💡 Swoogo Tip

Did you know Swoogo has a calendar widget where you can aggregate all of your events on one calendar to promote to your prospective attendees? Also, with Swoogo’s open API, you can plug your data from Swoogo into a business intelligence tool like Looker or Domo to make that data more actionable. 

How are other Event leaders doing it?

You never leave a stage behind. You continue to build on the foundation you’ve established. The jump to stage 5 involves making a shift away from solely product/sales focus, and more into industry and thought leadership. It’s creating lifelong relationships at the highest decision making levels that establish us as a trusted partner. We also see our events as a way to establish and nurture community. We use our events to push to the next step that continues to add value for the customer; webinars, group forums, engaging in Atlassian Community, and Atlassian University.
Josh Shepherd, Head of Event Technology at Atlassian

How mature is your event model?

If you’re running a large number of events (or planning to expand your portfolio), the Event Maturity Model gives you a strategic roadmap to shift from event based metrics to revenue-driven success. 

From refining your registration process to gathering more meaningful insights—and telling a meaningful revenue story— there’s a huge variety of ways in which this model can guide your events team to successfully integrate events into broader revenue campaigns and increase customer lifetime value. 
Learn how Swoogo’s unique event management platform lets you personalize attendee experiences, integrate data with your CRM, and measure event impact.

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