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How to properly set event marketing goals and objectives?

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How to properly set event marketing goals and objectives?

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A step-by-step guide to help you set and achieve your event marketing goals.

There’s no doubt, that every marketing activity works better if it has a clear set of goals and KPIs attached. They lead to getting a better grip on the whole marketing process. This rule applies as well to event marketing.

A set of well-defined goals for event marketing will:

  • help your business grow
  • help you achieve your marketing, sales, employer branding, and HR objectives
  • save time and energy of your team
  • help your employees better understand why they attend certain events
  • make it possible to track KPIs related to event marketing activities,
  • give your team a better picture of why they attend given event and thus lead to more efficient and conscious event attendance.

If you skip this part, there’s a chance you will end up spending some quality time during various conferences or wasting money to throw really expensive parties for the people in your industry. Setting event marketing strategy objectives and goals changes your perspective and approach towards events. If they serve a certain purpose, they can and they should be measured through a transparent set of KPIs and proven to bring a  good return on the investment.

(event) marketing goals and objectives

To properly set event marketing goals and objectives you have to run internal research on what you need the most to achieve as a company. Many hints you can find in a marketing strategy and yearly marketing plan. Next, check what goals you can accomplish through event marketing. Strategy objectives and goals for event marketing will be a common denominator of those two variables. Remember, however, that event marketing goals and objectives should be SMART, or even SMARTER to work in your favor.

This substantial knowledge will be of great help once you start to set your event marketing goals and objectives. The moment you gather them, you have to learn what role you can play during an event. It will definitely help you choose the right events and allocate marketing budget in an optimal way.

A quick reminder – what is event marketing?

According to Philip Kotler, the father of modern marketing, event marketing a tool in the process of communication between the seller and the customer. And I agree with this definition. Event marketing, commonly understood as promoting events, does not use even half of the potential of this tool.

A paradigm shift leading towards defining event marketing as promoting or advertising your brand or product by using events gives you a powerful tool to accomplish your company’s marketing goals.

Internal research: the root of setting event marketing goals and objectives

As it was mentioned, to properly set event marketing strategy objectives and goals, you must know what your company needs in the first place.

In the beginning, take a look at the strategy and at the objectives for the next period. It is good to review the goals in the perspective of the month, quarter, half year and year. Thanks to that you will know what is the general direction of the company’s development. Also, this will give you an idea of what goals were forecast for incoming months and are provided in the budget. It will reduce the struggle on how to find marketing dollars to pay for actions picked to achieve particular goals.

At the same time conduct an in-depth analysis of the needs of various departments. Talk to people, ask managers about their daily challenges and what they lack. It will allow you to collect information that is very important in the context of setting goals for event marketing. For instance, you’ll learn what areas need improvement first.

For example, you may learn that – according to the strategy – the IT department is to introduce a new, complex feature, and have a very high rotation and vacancies in teams. It will be a clear signal that you need to carry out activities that will boost the teams with “fresh blood”, but will also stabilize them.

Another problem that you can diagnose can be, for example, raising the annual target for the sales department. Resellers working on leads will need new contacts with whom they will be able to continue working.

Also look at the budgets available to individual departments to achieve these goals. Often they will show you the path to achieve your goals. Example? If the IT department has large integration budgets, a cool event for all teams can help raise the team spirit and reduce staff rotation.

Rank the collected goals in terms of validity and deadline. It is also necessary to describe them with numbers. Goals that are measurable are easily realized and you know exactly what you achieve success.

Remember that event marketing goals and objectives should be SMART:

Specific

Think about how specific your goal is. Express it in numbers. There is a difference between boosting the overall growth of a company and increasing its brand awareness. This first goal is too general and can not be determined when it will be implemented. The latter is a very clear direction indicator and a map to the destination.

Measurable

Each time, think about how will you know whether the goal has been achieved. Only in the case of measurable goals, you can determine 100% whether they have been completed. Ask yourself what KPIs will allow you to measure success or failure in your chosen area.

Need an example? In the case of goals related to business growth, the number of new leads in the database can be a great KPI.

Attainable

Never bite more than you can chew! Do not expect to generate 1000 leads on the event, where will be 300 attendees. The goals you set for yourself should be ambitious but still achievable.

Relevant

Goals must also be important. In the context of the overall marketing strategy, the objectives achieved with the help of events must significantly contribute to the company as a whole. Reaching one medium-sized partner won’t be a good goal. It won’t change your mid-year summary in any significant way. Reaching 100 of them, however, might make a difference.

Time-based

And finally, goals must have a time frame. For events that last a certain amount of time, this condition is quite easy to meet. However, it is worth remembering that the individual components of the goal (for example, KPI milestones) should also be implemented within a specified period. It gives much better control over the implementation of event marketing goals and objectives.

It applies as well to the goals that will be completed with a series of events. Each event should be described through partial marketing objectives and KPIs.

Or maybe they should be SMARTER?

We can go even further when it comes to event marketing goals and objectives. Some theorists, for the classic five SMART parameters, add two more.

Evaluated

The final summary of the goal should not fall on you like a bolt from the sky. In pursuing your objectives, you should evaluate the progress on a regular basis. This way you will know at what stage you are and what actions you should take to ensure 100% achievement of the goal by the end of the set time-frame.

Reviewed / Readjusted / Recorded

The last R in SMARTER is defined differently by various specialists. However, the three main trends point to the fact that the realization of the goal should result in some reflection and further action. It’s worth checking if it’s not your approach that blocks the goal. It is also worth documenting the various stages of its implementation, to be able to look at them later and draw valuable lessons from.

What marketing goals and objectives you can achieve through event marketing?

Event marketing, with its variability of options, allows you to pursue various marketing goals. Let’s have a look at marketing goals and objectives examples one by one.

Raising brand awareness

During selected events, you have one-time contact with a large number of people who may be interested in your company and its offer. Also, you have the opportunity to establish relationships and communicate personal values and brand philosophy.

Such exposure contributes to the growth of brand awareness. There are companies, especially among those who are just starting out, who instead of investing in marketing channels to increase brand awareness, opt for participation in events to achieve this goal. And the size of the company does not matter. The use of events, in this case, will work equally well in small, medium and large companies.

Driving growth in sales

marketing goals and objectives examples

Events are one of the most effective tools to fuel your business growth. Marketers value them as a lead generating machines. They are willing to invest in time and money because they see how quickly they allow building relationships and engagement of potential customers.

What’s more, thanks to technologies such as Eventory, offline events are more and more measurable. This means that marketers are able to realistically assess their lead generation potential, as well as return on investment in a given event. What’s more, those technologies help attendees to stay in touch with their new prospects and support post-event networking.

Recruitment goals

Nowadays, the recruitment of specialists in certain fields can be a gigantic challenge. This particularly applies to the recruitment of good specialists in areas related to IT and app development.

Some companies outsource this process by recruiting agencies. They give a lot of money for the external company to find ideal candidates for them. They usually pay a specific sum for 1 candidate. Other companies prefer to act on their own. They invest this part of HR dollars in the organization or participation in events.

With a one-time investment, they have access to many candidates who can enforce the ranks of the selected team. What’s more, the acquired CVs remain in the company and build a database of people who can be proposed to join the recruitment process in the future. What’s important is that targeted recruitment events oftentimes gather the top specialists in their fields. So if you are looking for the top Java developers, there’s a huge chance you will find them at the dedicated job fair. These companies also hold better control over the initial selection of candidates, the process itself and the people who join it.

Internal employer branding

marketing strategy objectives and goals

Internal communication between teams is still a problem in many companies. There is probably a no better way for people to talk to each other than to arrange a party for them. In-company events also provide very valuable feedback on the current problems in the company and on the challenges faced by individual departments.

Making such an event is also important from the point of view of employees. It gives them a chance to get to know each other and strengthen relationships. Such events are often intended to spoil employees a little bit, but also to strengthen team spirit and celebrate success together. They create space for tightening bonds and building a sense of shared goals.

How to properly set event marketing goals and objectives?

Event marketing goals should be aligned with the overall marketing objectives of the company.

Step #1 – Collect the data

For your first step, collect the data. Check what goals you need to accomplish in the coming year, half-year and quarter. Schedule these goals on the timeline.

Step #2 – Pick the goals that you can implement using events

From among the selected goals, pick the ones that you can implement using events (improve the brand awareness – yes, optimize the costs of the FB campaign – no). Look at the list you find in this article. It will give you some idea of what you are looking for.

Step #3 – Check your budget

The next step will be to check what budget you have. The choice of role in events and the intensity of using this tool will depend on this.

Step #4 – Run a SWOT analysis

If at this moment you hesitate, you can conduct a simple analysis, for example, SWOT regarding the use of events to achieve a given goal. List the strong and weak points of the event as a mean of achieving a given goal. Then describe the opportunities and threats that it brings. This will allow you to calmly assess the profitability of such a solution.

Step #5 – Estimate results and ROI

Then look at the data. If you have already participated in a similar event and in a similar role, look how much you paid for it in the context of the chosen goal. Check what results you had during the previous edition and what ROI you achieved. If you do not have access to historical data, look at the numbers published by the organizer of the event you are interested in  (or check the market data if you want to organize the event yourself).

Step #6 – Assess your resources

Then find out what non-financial resources you have. Do you have people who can and want to go to the event? Will your team take care of the organization of the event? Do you have materials and a unique idea to make your presence at the event meaningful and relevant? Remember! It all also adds up to your costs!

Step #7 – Check the event calendar for the upcoming months

Then open the event calendar for the upcoming months. See what options they offer. Look at the audience they will gather and what costs they will generate. Then compare this with selected goals and your budget. On this basis, you will pick the events in which you will take part and assign to them the chosen role and goal that you will pursue.

Step #8 – Pick your KPIs

Finally, choose a set of KPIs to measure the progress of the chosen goal on an ongoing basis. Divide them into groups. There will be a separate table of KPI for the marketing manager, marketing specialist, employer branding manager and so on.

Event marketing goals and objectives will help you pick the role you can play during an event in order to maximize your profit

When it comes to events and participation in them, you can choose different roles for yourself. There is an organizer, sponsor or simply a participant. Each role requires different preparation and brings various benefits. Thanks to the fact that you can participate in the event on different levels, it helps you to achieve different marketing goals and objectives.

Event organizer

The organization of an event, for comprehensible reasons, is associated with the largest financial, and not only financial, investments. However, it is the organizers who derive the most benefits from this endeavor. From the return from the tickets, through a full set of data about participants, to a controlled display of a brand and all promoted items.

Many companies that have been cooperating for years in the field of organizing their own events value tangible benefits they bring. One of the more well-known event organizers is Red Bull, which we referred to in the previous articles. Events organized by the company base on strong experiences and authentic emotions help build a community around the brand for years. They also strengthen brand awareness.

Red Bull is one of the better-recognized energy drinks in the world. Numerous sports-related events create strong user-generated content for the brand. It is later used to provide the brand with a very authentic media coverage that is appealing to many, especially Millennials customers.

Another company that has perfected the use of events to build communities and business growth is Salesforce, the organizer of Dreamforce. Thanks to wisely run events, Salesforce has jumped from the software development company to Ohana, that builds the future.

Speaker

As a speaker, you have the undivided attention of your listeners – people who voluntarily chose to participate in your lecture. It’s a bit like you got a package of warmed up leads and started your sales pitch. In front of you who you have a whole room of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. This is the main advantage of being a speaker. You can easily convey the values and philosophy of the brand to people who will be happy to listen to what you have to say. This is particularly important in the case of today’s recipients who effectively ignore the advertising and are developed something we call banner blindness.

The moment after the speech is also important for the speakers in terms of working toward determined goals. Whether at a coffee break or during networking – they have the opportunity to talk to the members of the audience face to face. This role is often used by companies who want to strengthen employer branding. Google uses this mechanism very often. Effect? Most people on the market are aware that working on Google is a bit like winning a lottery. In their offices, you can find a great atmosphere and excellent working conditions. And in this is how the legend of ‘working for Google’ grows stronger.

Partner / exhibitor

marketing goals and objectives examples

Another option to join the event is to take on the role of partner or exhibitor. This is a very comfortable role. You invest in the event and receive your share. As a partner or exhibitor – a person who pays for the opportunity to show up at an event and/or participate in its creation, you have quite a lot of rights. You can show up with your product. Your logo will brand an event, which is not necessarily related to your industry, but it has great associations with it. By co-creating certain initiatives, you show your customers what values your brand supports.

As an example of such use of events, it is worth mentioning the Heineken Open’er Festival. Until 2013 Heineken was the title sponsor of the festival. After this time, Heineken remained the partner of the event. Over the years, Open’er has grown from a local event to an international event on a large scale.

Even up to now, Open’er is closely associated with the Heineken. Associations built over the years have been permanently imprinted in the minds of recipients. Positive emotions, promotion of culture, something that connects people from different environments – all these things are still associated with the festival, but also with the brand that allowed it to grow. Moreover, it is exposed to its potential customers. This kind of actions is great for building brand awareness and PR.

Companies also decide to partner events for HR purposes. Especially those associated with IT, or those who are looking for new talents in their IT departments. Modern martech allows companies to gather loads of information on the other participants of the event they can check who is approaching their booth, compare its popularity to the other’s companies booths, collect and organize prospects and check the general feedback on their appearance. And all this information can be found in the data held by the organizer.

Attendee

Participation in events gives the opportunity to expand knowledge thanks to the numerous lectures that take place during them. It also allows for unrestricted research activities of business competition. Above all, however, participation in events can lead to creating new business opportunities. Everyone can be a participant in the event. Those who have a specific goal in front of their eyes will know that during the networking session they should start several conversations simply to generate leads and collect a sizeable file of business cards.

Tristan Every, Director of Business Development & Strategy, CR38TE, once said:

The way I approach attending any conference is to first of all set a goal (or goals). Focusing on my goal(s) helps me to take the appropriate actions, either it is attending a keynote, participating in a workshop, or signing up for a networking event. This way I can anticipate what type of crowd I will be in and also have an idea of who’s in the room.
[Source]

Wrap up

What can you do with knowing how to set event marketing goals and objectives? Make it actionable! Use this information to pick the right events. To do this, use the short checklist:

  1. Choose your goal. It will determine what events you focus on, what role you will want to play on them and what part of the marketing event budget you will spend on them.
  2. Pick the right event activity. Knowing what you want to achieve, you can calmly choose your role at the event. For example, if you want to expand your network, choose the role of the participant at the networking event. If you want to pursue your HR goals, become a partner or exhibitor at an event with the right profile.
  3. Look for your target group. As with all marketing activities, reaching a proper target group can determine the success or failure of an activity. Think about who you should look for in order to achieve a specific goal. For business growth, decision-makers from the selected industry will be important. For HR and recruitment goals, you should search for talents that will bring new energy to the team.
  4. Check if the time and place are good for your goal. A simple example: if you want to recruit talents for your office in India, do not focus on European events.
  5. Make sure that the event gives you the opportunity to achieve your goal. The event without networking sessions won’t be a good choice if you want to expand your network. isn’t the greatest if you want to share the knowledge – it doesn’t grant time nor space for a keynote speech.
  6. Check if the overall cost sticks to your budget. At the end of the day, money and profitability is everything. Pick those events, you can afford to attend and those that will bring the highest ROI. Remember, that the cost is not only the price of the ticket, or the sum of the costs of venue, catering, key-note speakers and insurance. There are many hidden costs, like for example time of your specialists, the backup plan, your know-how and so on.

And enjoy! Events are so much fun once you realize you did your best to secure goals realization. Dive in and do what you do best and watch how your goals are leading you towards great success.

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