Do You Know How To Set Goals For Your Event?

Do You Know How to Set Goals for Your Event?

Events are one of the most best ways to market your business. In fact, one report found that in-person events are the most effective marketing tactic you can use. Events were ranked higher than blogs, social media, and infographics. But, while you know how to set goals for digital and traditional marketing initiatives, do you know how to set goals for your experiential marketing event?

Successfully navigating traditional marketing promotions and creating an effective experiential event are two completely different beasts. Too often, companies provide talking points, logistics and their target audience to their brand ambassadors, then set them loose to engage with event attendees. When executing, street teams sometimes the talent receive less. While giving the talent specifics related to their responsibilities, it’s unusual that the event team is provided with the event’s goals and how to work towards achieving them.

Even if you set goals for the event, that doesn’t necessarily mean you did things right. An unrealistic goal will rarely be achieved, and will only lead to an unmotivated team. The wrong goals can spell failure for an event.

To plan an event well, you need to know how to set goals that are clear and actionable.

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What’s the Right Goal for My Event?

First,  figure out whether you are setting the right goals or not. For example, one event goal that is often associated with event marketing is “to build goodwill and brand awareness”. While this is a nice goal,  is it something that your business can measure? This is a example of a vague goal, because it is not something you can readily grasp and create actions around. You can’t gather definitive data surrounding this goal, or then measure it’s subsequent impact.

To create the right goals, first match your objectives to your company’s overarching marketing goals. Next, determine what data will help you prove success, and add event staff responsibilities that correspond to these goals so that your team can work effectively towards them.

Fortunately, these two steps can both be realized with just one technique.

How to set event goals

How to Set Goals the SMART Way

Goals need to be SMART to work intelligently for your event. The goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.


Simply saying that “we want to engage with our audience” won’t be enough. What does successful “engagement” entail? Do you want to form a long-term network with the majority of the visitors? Do you want to generate leads for your sales team? Create media buzz? Perhaps you want people to try your product. List down exactly what you want to accomplish with the event.


How would you know if you’ve hit your goals? Are you going to measure your increase in sales? Perhaps you’re tuning into the number of mentions you get in social media? Work on the numbers and list those data points that would be most meaningful as it relates to identifying if your specfic goal has been achieved. If there is no way to measure it, go back and make it more specific until you find a data point that can be gathered.


This point keeps your “specific” and “measurable” goals in check. Based on marketing events you’ve executed in the past, are the numbers you want to hit realistic? If you haven’t done this types of event before, do research to identify the numbers that you would be able to hit. Look for successful events in the past from companies similar to your own. Ask your event staff as well, as they might have some insight into a good number to aim for. Asking their advice can also give them a good morale boost.


Your event goals should mesh well with your marketing strategy and the company’s overall goals. Which specific marketing objective does this event fit into? How will this event’s success impact the success of that objective? If your goals are not relevant to your company’s current trajectory, you might have to reconsider them.


Many event goals are not expected to be achieved immediately following the event. A lift in sales or an increase in social media engagement might not be visible until days, weeks or months down the line. However, even with some leeway, it’s important to set a deadline for your goals. Do you want to see a positive outcome in a week? Two months? A year? Make sure that your measurement can be specifically attributed back to that event (unique lead identifiers, event-specific hashtags for social media engagement, etc.).  That way, you will have clarity as to if objectives were met due to the event or to another campaign.

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The success of your experiential event hinges upon having a SMART goal that you and your team can achieve. And if your event staff see that your goals are clear and achievable, you’ll have a highly-motivated team that you can count on.

Since 1999, EventPro Strategies has provided the best brand staff in the nation for some of the biggest brands in the world. If you have questions surrounding your next event, let our experts help! Please request a free event staffing assessment and let us set you up for success.

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