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Purpose-driven planning: 3 Tips for setting clear event objectives

It’s time for an event, but before diving into the world of event planning, it's crucial to centre your decisions and actions around clear event objectives. Ask yourself questions like why are you holding this event? What are your main objectives? 

Answering these questions and having a clear roadmap from the very start not only provides direction and helps you to optimise your event strategy but also ensures a memorable, impactful and successful event. 

In this blog post, we'll introduce you to three top tips for setting clear event objectives and refining your event planning approach.

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1. Define Your Event’s Purpose

Begin your event planning process by defining your event's purpose. Dive deep into foundational questions: Why are you holding this event? Who is your target audience? Who are the primary stakeholders? What outcomes are you aiming for?  Establishing these answers early will help guide you throughout your event planning journey.

Once the overarching purpose is clear, then defining event goals and objectives becomes straightforward. For instance, having a mission of 'hosting the best conference' is commendable, but it's the tangible goals and event objectives – like increasing ticket sales or securing keynote speakers – that bring the vision to life.

Remember, while aspiration is commendable, quantifiable objectives set a clear path to success.

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2. Set SMART Objectives 

When organizing an event, it is important to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. This is where SMART objectives come in handy.

SMART stands for:

S (Specific):  Define a clear outcome and what success looks like. Success needs to be obtainable not just aspirational.
M (Measurable):  Use numerical values to quantify your targets. This will enable you to monitor performance and validate success.
A (Achievable):  Set realistic objectives that also inspire and drive success.
R (Relevant):  Purpose is key. Ensure all your objectives are relevant and resonate with your event's overarching purpose.
T (Time Bound):  Objectives need to be time-bound, meaning they have a defined start and end. This enables accountability.

By setting objectives that meet these criteria, you can ensure that your goals are clear and well-defined. Which in turn helps you to stay focused, prioritize your resources, and achieve your goals in a timely and efficient manner.

SMART Event Objectives Examples:    

The event objective 'increase ticket sales for the next scheduled event by 25% compared to the last event' is an exemplary SMART objective, as it's precise, quantifiable, and time-sensitive.

S: This goal is to increase ticket sales by 25% from the last event
M: Compare ticket sales from this event to the previous event
A: This could be possible due to increased marketing
R: Increasing ticket sales increases profit
T: This goal is time-bound as sales need to be met by the next event

Similarly the event goal 'achieve a 20% Return on Investment (ROI) for the annual tech conference compared to the expenditure' is another great goal.

S: The goal is to achieve a 20% event ROI from the annual event.
M: Calculate the ROI by comparing the net profit from the conference to its total expenses.
A: This can be achieved by streamlining costs, securing high-value sponsors, and offering ticket pricing tiers to attract a broader audience.
R: Achieving a positive ROI ensures that the event is profitable and justifies its recurrence in future years.
T: This goal is time-bound, as the ROI needs to be determined within a month after the conference concludes to assist in planning for subsequent events.

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3. Prioritise Event Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are essential indicators to the success of your event. They serve as key benchmarks against which outcomes can be measured.

Event KPIs can help in a number of key areas:

  • Goal Setting & Adjustments: KPIs enable you to track progress and fine-tune your overarching event objectives.
  • Informing Future Planning: KPIs offer valuable insights from current events, which can then inform future event planning.
  • Showcasing Value: Showcasing data from KPIs can validate the tangible success and ROI of an event, making it easier to secure support and resources for future events. 
  • Elevating Attendee Experience: By consistently monitoring metrics like engagement, satisfaction, and feedback, you can improve the overall experience of your attendees

Essential event KPIs include metrics like total registrations, attendee turnout ratio, a detailed breakdown of ticket sales categories, and insights gathered from event surveys.

Bonus tip!

You may be asking what is the difference between Event Objectives and KIPs?

Event Objectives are the high-level goals or outcomes that you want to achieve through your event, such as increasing brand awareness, launching a new product, or engaging with the community. They provide a broad picture of what the event aims to accomplish and set the direction. On the other hand, Event KPIs are tangible metrics used to measure how well these objectives are being met during and after the event.

In short, they both serve different but equally important purposes. While event objectives define the vision for what the event wants to achieve, KPIs provide a measurable way to track the event's progress and impact.

In summary, embarking on your event planning with well-defined event objectives ensures that you and your team maintain alignment and strive towards the same goals. Using the above tips for setting clear event objectives not only guarantees a logical and structured planning phase but also ensures measurable outcomes.  

It’s important to remember, however, that purpose-driven planning can be applied to a range of scenarios and is not just limited to event planning!

We hope you now feel confident to go out and create memorable events but If you need any help have a look at our event services.

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Event case study

Making Audi the can’t-miss launch event year after year!
As a luxury German automobile manufacturer, Audi launches need to reflect their passion, technology and quality being showcased, even if it’s a sponsored event. It was our job to make sure they were first class to stop the press.

Read Audi's case study.