Feature Image depicting blueprint to set event goals

Blueprint to Set Event Goals and Objectives (With Examples)

Virgil Wadhwa
• May 11, 2023

(10 min read)

Last Updated: 2 May 2024

Planning an event without setting goals is like shooting arrows in the dark – relying on luck to land on your target. Here, you can learn how to set event goals to take charge of your event’s success.

Table of Content

Event planning begins with determining the most important outcomes for your audience, sponsors, and you – the event planners.

Once that’s done, you can fine-tune your roadmap to event success.

But how do we define the event goals that matter? 

Let’s find that out. In this article, we discuss examples of some common event goals and objectives for in-person, hybrid, and virtual events, and then we take a dive into specific event goals for virtual events. Moreover, we discuss a five-step blueprint to set your event goals with ease.

What are the event goals and objectives?

event goals and objectives

An event goal is a specific expected outcome from an event. Whether that’s engaging attendees, reaching a new audience, or propelling business growth.

Objectives are smaller, more snackable subtasks.

Think of it this way – if you need to travel from point A to B, you will reach there in steps. Likewise, to achieve a goal, you will first achieve your objectives.

For example, if the goal is to increase brand awareness, improving event registrations through promotion on social media can be objective.

Now that you know the definition of event goals, and how they differ from objectives, let’s see how you can set them.

Step-1: Start with gathering insights

When it comes to planning events, you can’t only rely on guesswork – you’re better off with solid answers. 

You need to know:

  • Priorities of your business
  • What are your competitors doing right, and whatnot
  • What’s the sponsorship atmosphere outside
  • Who are the speakers that can add value to your event
  • What are the themes that are working
  • What are the most liked event types, formats, or locations

Step 2: Ask five defining questions to find your event’s purpose

To establish solid event goals and objectives, you’ll need to know everything about your event, from soup to nuts – and the 5-W framework will help you with that.

The 5-W framework stands for Who, What, When, Where, and Why. 

This exercise will help you narrow it down to specifics of your event planning journey.

So, let’s dive right into it:

Who are the people that make your event?

1) Your Audience 

Your business exists to solve your audience’s problems. Ergo, your event goals must also align with their wants and needs.

However, there’s more to the story. Your audience might be a mix of your existing customers, first-time attendees, and people that are very important to your business. Each of them can serve a specific goal for your business.

Let’s take a more granular look at it:

2) Your team members

Once you know who you are working with, you set goals that align with their capabilities. As a result, your team achieves goals on time.

3) Your stakeholders

When you know who holds a stake in your event, you can plan things around their needs and expectations. 

Your stakeholders include your event sponsors, partners, suppliers, and even volunteers.

Now that you know your audience, team, and stakeholders, the next step is understanding their needs.

So let’s get down to it:

What elements make and define your event?

These elements include all the things that define your event on a granular level.

To identify them, you could ask questions like 

  1. What will my attendees like to learn/gain from the event?
  2. What type of event is it? Is it a conference, a festival, a holiday, or what?
  3. What will provide value to my stakeholders/sponsors?
  4. What are my marketing and business goals?

For example:

However, while planning a virtual event, you might want to look for a virtual event platform that streamlines your event production or allows you to engage your audience depending on your goal. 

When will I host my Event?

The day and month of your event can add or remove some priorities on your list.

For example: If you’re planning an event around Christmas or Thanksgiving, sending gifts can be one of your event objectives. 

Let’s take a deeper look at it:

Why am I hosting this event?

Answering this uncovers the overarching purpose behind your event, which streamlines your planning.

From there, you can build a robust event strategy.

Step-3: Use the BSQ framework to define event goals

Want to achieve big results with minimal time and effort? Try this goal-setting framework for event success.

It stands for “Thinking Big, Acting Small, and Moving Quickly.”

  • Start by thinking Big. (Set lofty targets)
  • Break it down into smaller and achievable milestones. (Act Small)
  • Set deadlines, and commit to them. (Move quickly)

Now, wasn’t that easy? 

Step-4: Leverage S.M.A.R.T Framework for setting event goals and objectives

event goals and objectives 1

S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

People who set smart goals find it easier to stay on track as they set measurable and achievable goals– which can be the key to event success.

So let’s learn more about setting smart goals for events below. 

S – Specific: 

Get into the specifics of your goal.

For example, ‘Inviting people from the IT industry with at least 15 years of experience’ is a specific goal. 

M – Measurable: 

Having a specific number associated with your goals makes them measurable.

  • 20% increase in ticket sales
  • 10% increase in registrations
  • Gathering at least X amount in revenue
  • Boosting average time spent at your event by X minutes
  • Boosting event ROI by X%

A – Attainable:

A goal that is not achievable by your team would only bring disappointment and a subpar event experience. Thus, It’s important that you set realistic goals that make sense according to your timeline and resources.

An unachievable goal is: hoping for a 100% sit-through rate. Or a 2000% increase in event ROI.

Achievable goal: Our last event received 75 leads and a pipeline of $50,000. This time we will gather 100 leads and at least 72,000$ in the pipeline. 

R – Relevant: 

There’s no point in hosting an event if the outcomes are not relevant to your business goals or your attendees’ expectations.

However, If you do your homework right, you’ll be able to set clear event goals aligned with your business’s and your audience’s needs. 

T – Time-bound: 

Okay, we’re almost there. Adding a deadline to a goal keeps everyone on the team accountable.

Example: Increase registrations by 10% by the end of July. 

Executing and achieving goals in a time-bound manner is the driving force behind successful events.

Now that we know what SMART frameworks stand for, let’s look at some examples of SMART objectives and goal planning.

Example of SMART event goals and objectives

Step-5: Set milestones to track your event objectives 

Now everything is set in place, and you’re ready to roll. What’s next though? It’s time to track your progress.

Are you selling enough tickets? Are the arrangements to achieve the target revenue growth done? Would these goals be achieved in a time-bound manner? Do you need to correct the course or rework your event strategy?

These are common questions you might want to ask as an event planner. So you might want to keep a close eye on the progress bar. 

Here are a few KPIs(Key Performance Indicators) for measuring success

  1. Pre and post-event social media engagement 
  2. Number of mentions, tags, and shares
  3. Number of event registrations
  4. New vs. returning registrations
  5. Email marketing open rates
  6. Sponsor funding 

Examples of common event goals and objectives to get you started

We know event goals are essential, but what do they look like? Here are some event objective examples to help you get started:

Goal 1: Boost brand reach/awareness by Y%

Objectives for this goal: 

An objective for this goal could be to increase traction from social media and organic visits to the website.

Here’s a breakdown:

1) Have x numbers of shares on social media.

2) Have X signups from a particular demographic.

3) Have Y people attend the event.

4) Have X number of people engage with booths/branded-virtual booths at your in-person or virtual event.

Goal 2: Generate X% more revenue than the previous year

Objectives for this goal:

1) Selling X% more tickets to boost event attendance.

2) Raising Y amount of funds with the help of event sponsorship.

3) Generating X amount of revenue by selling post-event content access.

4) Generating a pipeline of X amount with the leads captured during the event. 

5) Generate X amount of pipeline with post-event lead nurturing and follow-up campaigns. 

Goal 3: Establishing Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is an approach to curating content that educates the audience in their niche or industry. Typically, the range provides unique ideologies, trends, frameworks, and valuable insights.

Objectives for this goal: 

1) Identify & onboard speakers capable of providing unique perspectives on the subject.

2) Research pain points and choose a theme that the audience would likely be finding solutions for. 

What are some common event goals for your virtual events?

Hosting an online event comes with a unique set of challenges and thus requires a slightly different approach than an in-person event. Here are some crucial virtual event goals. 

event goals for your virtual events

1) Improving Attendee Engagement

Due to the nature of an online event, attendees can get distracted due to their surrounding environment or screen fatigue. However, if you can engage attendees throughout your event, you can have multiple opportunities to build meaningful connections with them.

That’s why laying a special focus on engagement, and attendee experience makes sense, especially when your event is happening in a virtual environment.

2) Enabling Networking

In an in-person event, conversations happen spontaneously in the lobby, near the coffee machine, at the dinner tables, and during the session breaks. Sounds exciting? Well, you can embed networking in your virtual event as well, with some virtual event networking ideas.

However, it takes a little planning to help people network during a virtual event. Some virtual event platforms offer virtual lobbies, speed-networking tables, lounges, break-out rooms, and areas like fluid spaces that help spark spontaneous conversations.

Event objectives: 

a) Plan activities like QnA, polls, and speed networking to foster networking.

b) Find a virtual event platform like Airmeet with superior networking capabilities. 

3) Accurately measuring event performance

When you’re pouring down resources into hosting an event, it only makes sense to be able to measure how it performed.

With an online event, things get a little easier. You can get a complete picture of your event with an in-depth analytics dashboard. These reports can help you track metrics like attendee engagement, registration demographics, sponsor traction, and so much more.

4) Maximizing conversions with in-depth insights

Impacting sales, and retention are one of the biggest goals of any marketing activity. Events generate a ton of first-party data which can be used to personalize experiences, supercharge sales outreach, and enable customer-success teams to improve customer experience.

Benefits of Event Planning Goals and Objectives

According to research, The majority (60%) of executives say that events are the most significant marketing channel for reaching corporate goals and objectives. Whether you are planning to host a trade show or a conference, the goals and objectives of the event need to be clearly defined for your event to run smoothly and efficiently. In fact, the more specific the event’s goals and objectives, the higher the chances of event success. Let’s take a closer look at why it is important to establish your event planning goals and objectives and what benefits it provides you with:

  • Enhances Decision-Making Skills: Enhances Decision-Making Skills

When you are well aware of your event goals and objectives, you are able to execute the event properly and promptly. Well-defined goals and objectives let you make timely, informed decisions. From picking the event venue to promoting an event, everything gets planned and executed smoothly.

  • Better Resource Allocations:Better Resource Allocations 

Having clear event goals and objectives enables you to make more effective and efficient resource allocations. It helps you identify the tasks that are high on priority so you can tackle them first, and allocate and manage resources based on priority. Plus, you get regular updates on how resources are being used and how they are contributing to accomplishing your targeted event goals and objectives.

  • Improves Communication:Improves Communication 

Event planning objectives help create effective communication with stakeholders, sponsors, the event team, and event attendees. It ensures communication is transparent before, during, and after the event, allowing everyone to be on the same page, so far as the event’s objectives are concerned.

  • Helps Achieve Desired Outcomes: Helps Achieve Desired Outcomes

Well-defined goals and objectives play a crucial role in assessing the impact of the event. It helps understand some key aspects like – Did you reach your target attendance? Was the audience expectation met and how well was it met? Did it provide value to all parties involved?  

For example, if the goal of your event is to “increase brand awareness,” you can measure it by tracking metrics like social media engagement, website traffic, or lead generation. It also identifies areas for improvement in future events.

  • Improves Focus: Improves Focus

Time-bound goals and objectives help you stay on track with every aspect of the event, be it planning, execution, or promotion. It gives every stakeholder a clear direction of what they need to achieve. Every individual’s time and efforts are directed toward specific tasks. Additionally, event goals and objectives enable you to be productive and high-performing during the event-organizing process.

What are the Differences Between Event Goals and Objectives?

Event goals are the organization’s primary ambitions and purposes, that they plan to achieve in the future. On the other hand, event objectives are precise milestones that a company tries to accomplish in a limited period. In this section, we’ll explore some key points to understand the difference between event goals and event objectives:

Event Goals

Event Objectives

Event goals are the organization’s primary ambitions and purposes

Event objectives are known as sub-goals that are planned to achieve the final goal of the event

Goals are made for long-term

Objectives are made for short-term

Typically broader than the objectives

More specific

Not measurable

Easily Measurable

Event goals are broad intentions toward achieving something big 

Event objectives are precise actions aimed at accomplishing a specific task

For example, the company desires to generate 1000 leads in a month

For example, the company intends to acquire 250 leads in a week to accomplish the required goal.

 

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How are companies across the globe meeting their event goals?

Wondering how other event professionals are setting well-defined goals? Well, we’ve collated a list of these real-world examples that inspire.

A leading event management firm from the UK achieves growth goals 

First Event is a leading event management company offering event management services to its global partners since 1998. They specialize in organizing tailored in-person events that meet their client’s event goals and objectives. 

April 2020 was when they reworked their event strategy and shifted Online to host events.

Their Goal: Host events that could cater to a global audience while empowering attendees to network and take away meaningful connections with the event. 

Their solution:

  1. Find a virtual event platform that offers powerful networking features. In this case, it was Airmeet. 
  2. Leverage Airmeet’s features like the Social Lounge, Q&A, Invite to Stage, and tables to craft unique virtual networking environments. 

Exhibit Marketers Cafe accomplishing its revenue goals with Airmeet 

Exhibit Marketers Cafe, or EMC for short, is a training agency that trains exhibitors and show-managers to host stunning trade shows and online events. Let’s see how they set their goals and accomplished them.

Their Goal: 

  • Boost lead generation and sales by increasing productive interactions at virtual exhibit booths.
  • Offer their exhibitors the opportunity to measure success and performance. 

Their Solution:

1) Include virtual booths and tables in their event plan, in-booth live demos, and a social lounge to network and entertain guests in groups. 

2) Leverage 360-degree analytics reports generated by their virtual event platform to track event performance. 

Conclusion

Event goals and objectives play a vital role in aligning the organization’s vision and mission. Drawing detailed and contingency event planning goals and objectives lets you visualize your aims and gives you a clear idea of what you want to achieve. It also assists in making the best decisions when it comes to the event planning process. An event planner’s specific goals and objectives should be so clear and nuanced that their progress and impact can be easily measured and quantified.

Let us wrap up with this FAQ

An event goal is a specific expected outcome from an event. Whether that’s engaging attendees, reaching a new audience, or expanding your revenue pipeline.

SMART is a goal-setting framework. Simply put, It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Smart event objectives are specific, quantifiable, achievable, relevant to your business and attendees, and time-bound.

SMART goals and objectives are an integral part of good event planning.

A goal to have 15% more ticket sales than the previous event by the end of the month is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Start by asking these few questions like, why are you hosting the event, who are all the stakeholders, what do they want, and where would you host your event, and then research the atmosphere in the market. Once that’s done, you can start identifying the achievable goals, and use a goal-setting framework like SMART to set your priorities and goals for the event.

Over to you – the event planners

We think you are ready to plan meaningful goals for your future events.

Remember, every event is different, with its unique objectives and goals to achieve. However, offering attendee-centric experiences is key. You win when your attendees win.

P.S. The road to a successful event can be a bit bumpy at times. It’s an intricate combination of thoughtful planning and event execution. While your event goals would keep you on track, choosing the right event technology would set you up for success. (And also let you keep your calm.)

Indeed, numerous virtual event platforms, including Webex Events, Eventbrite, and Airmeet, often assist with event planning. 

They provide a range of features, including event registration, ticketing, attendee management, session scheduling, API Integrations, branding, and lead generation options, all designed to facilitate the planning and execution of successful virtual events. 

Moreover, these platforms offer seamless customer support and ample resources to assist organizers throughout the event planning journey.

Virtual event platforms commonly provide various functions, including screen sharing, API integration, live streaming, and more. 

They also offer virtual interaction features like networking lounges, breakout rooms, exhibitor booths, chat functionality, and audience engagement tools. 

Additionally, important features encompass event analytics, branding elements, lead generation capabilities, and virtual event registration.

Engagement features such as breakout rooms enhance attendee interaction by offering opportunities for smaller group discussions and collaboration. By segmenting attendees into focused and personalized discussions, breakout rooms encourage a more dynamic and engaging event experience.

Additionally, features like breakout rooms, networking lounges, and one-on-one sessions promote deeper engagement, encourage idea sharing, and contribute to a more inclusive and interactive event environment, bringing you closer to your event goals and objectives.

Yes, platforms like Hopin, Airmeet, and vFairs offer solutions for hybrid events, accommodating both virtual and in-person attendees.

Airmeet assists in organizing hybrid events by providing a seamless platform that integrates both in-person and virtual elements. 

The platform enables event organizers to facilitate simultaneous engagement between physical and virtual attendees, offering 

  • Unified registration and ticketing
  • Dynamic networking features
  • Device compatibility 
  • On-site capabilities
  • Live streaming options
  • Expert event support and more

With these comprehensive features, Airmeet guarantees a smooth and seamless hybrid event hosting experience for both organizers and attendees.

Implementing targeted marketing and promotional strategies can significantly increase ticket sales. 

Utilizing email marketing campaigns and social media outreach allows for effective reach to a broader audience. Offering discounts or promotional codes incentivizes audience participation and registration. 

The quality of content and speaker selection can potentially influence the decision-making process of the target audience. Providing compelling content and engaging speakers enhances the event’s value proposition, attracting more attendees and driving ticket sales.

The success of an event depends on multiple metrics, with ticket sales being a crucial indicator of its performance.

Ticket sales serve as a measurable metric to evaluate revenue generation and gauge audience interest and participation, offering valuable insights into the event’s overall success.

Yes, event goals and objectives are subject to change when the event format is altered. 

While the overall purpose of your event remains constant, the specific goals may need to be adjusted based on whether it’s a virtual event, a hybrid event, or an in-person event. 

The logistics, budget, and venue considerations vary across different formats, significantly highlighting the importance of building flexibility into your event plan to navigate unforeseen circumstances without compromising your goals and objectives.

Event management goals and objectives assist you in staying focused on achieving and accomplishing the desired goal. The most important benefit of event goals and objectives is that they keep you focused, minimizing distractions from your primary purpose. 

Some of the most common types of event goals and objectives revolve around brand awareness, attendee engagement, new pipeline creation (generating qualified leads), global reach, etc.

You can fully engage your attendees at the event using the virtual event platform’s attendee engagement features such as live chat, Q&A, polls, breakout rooms, and more. Additionally, you can incorporate gamification features such as points, badges, or leaderboards.

Yes. you can. Whether you are hosting large or small-scale events, setting multiple event goals and objectives allows you to focus on different aspects of your event and meet various needs and expectations.

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