Event Goals vs. Objectives: Planning Your Corporate Event
You can't determine success without being able to measure it.
When deciding to host an event, in your head you've usually got a pretty good idea of what your main purpose is and what you're trying to accomplish. However, until you outline some concrete goals and measurable objectives, it's impossible to know if the event or your process leading up to it is effective. But what's the difference between goals and objectives?
In everyday conversation, many of us use the terms goals and objectives interchangeably. However, there's a distinct difference between the two.
What is an event goal?
A goal is a desired outcome you want to achieve with your event. Goals are typically long-term, spanning the entire length of the event planning process. They usually are aligned with overall business or marketing goals of your organization. To figure out your event goals, ask yourself,
"Why am I hosting this event?"
Some typical event goals might be:
- To create a more inclusive culture
- To nurture client relationships
- To generate brand awareness
- To acquire new business leads
- To increase customer retention
How to Create Impact-Oriented Goals
When creating your goals, prioritize creating your list around the things that will make the biggest difference most quickly. In most cases, high-impact means focusing on the finances first. The most common high-impact goals include:
- Lowering costs
- Increasing profits
- Improving efficiency
- Accelerating time-to-profit
What is an event objective?
Objectives are the smaller, measurable action items that need to be accomplished in order to fulfill the high-level goals. If the goals are where you want to go, your objectives are the milestones in the process that allow you to measure that success. To find your objectives, ask yourself,
"How will I get to my goals? What does success look like?"
Let's take our list of goals from the section above and create some measurable objectives:
Goal: Create a more inclusive culture
Objective: Increase minority and female representation in keynote presentations by 20%
Goal: Nurture client relationships
Objective: Get an RSVP from 13% of organizations invited.
Goal: Generate brand awareness
Objective: Increase first-time attendees by 20%
Goal: Acquire new business leads
Objective: Get contact info from 150 new contacts.
Goal: Increase customer retention
Objective: Secure on-site contract renewals from 10% of event attendees
How to Create S.M.A.R.T. Objectives
As you create an objective list, be sure to keep it S.M.A.R.T.
- Specific: Ensure objectives are stated clearly. Leave no room for misinterpretation
- Measurable: Pick objectives with tangible KPIs that you can easily measure
- Achievable: Make sure your goals are realistic.
- Relevant: Keep your eye on the prize; all goals should align with overall business objectives.
- Time-Bound: Create a realistic timeline for completion.
At the end of the day, the biggest challenge is usually devoting time and putting thought into your plan. Though it may seem like a large investment with little to show for it initially, the additional planning will pay huge dividends when it comes to showing ROI, making a real business impact, and minimizing mistakes. If you're feeling overwhelmed, outsourcing your event planning could also be a great option for your organization.
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