Event marketing is part of most corporate growth playbooks. In 2021, companies spent almost 9% of their marketing budget on events.
If a corporation allocates $5,000,000 annually to fuel its marketing strategy, $450,000 will be dedicated to running events. Considering such a significant investment, the company leaders will obviously expect a positive ROI.
However, you can’t start planning an event expecting positive ROI without setting clear goals. Being careless about your goals may negatively impact your decision-making process, resulting in a weak, impactless event.
Why Does It Matter?
Without setting up clear goals for your corporate event, you won’t be able to:
- Identify the right audience
- Come up with a relevant topic
- Design an attractive agenda
- Define engagement experiences
- Know which KPIs to evaluate
- And more
Defining a goal for your corporate event is nothing other than determining the desired result you want to achieve by running an event, whether a product launch, conference, or workshop.
Having clear goals for your corporate events is crucial to designing and running a memorable event that will make a difference in your overall business goals.
A Brief Note About Objectives and Key Results
Some professionals may confuse goals with Objectives and Key Results (OKRs.) Compared to goals, OKRs is a popular management framework that allows teams to:
- Set out the direction by asking: What do we want to achieve?
- Define the metrics or the KPIs that will help teams measure the progress towards the objective.
According to Henrik-Jan van der Pol, founder and CEO at Perdoo, “An OKR is almost the same as a goal, with a few small differences.” As van der Pol explains, a natural way for people to come up with goals is to say, for example: “Grow revenue to $1 million.”
When it comes to OKRs, however, you have to split the goal into two parts:
- Objective: Grow revenue
- Key result: Get $1 million in revenue
It’s common for companies to set up quarterly or annual OKRs. It’s less common, though, to define OKRs for events. Usually, running events is part of a key result to specific marketing, sales, customer success, or company objective.
For example, a marketing team may have a clear objective to increase the number of qualified leads. And one key result for this objective can be attracting 10% of the overall leads by running eight events per year.
Envision Your Entire Event by Defining Your Goal
By deciding what your corporate goal is, you’ll be able to:
- Identify your target audience: Corporations have multiple stakeholders, such as customers, prospects, employees, investors, community members, and more. An event goal will help you identify the right audience for your event.
- Know the stage of your buyer’s journey: If you decide to run a marketing or sales event, your goal will clarify the buyer’s journey stage you want to engage in.
- Choose the correct type of event: As you know, there are different event types you can choose from. For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, you can plan a product launch. On the other hand, if you want to ensure better team cohesion, you can choose between various team-building events, such as retreats, dinners, parties, internal conferences, and more. In other words, your goal will determine the type of your event.
- Design the event program: If your goal is to increase brand awareness, you may add more networking sessions to your program, enabling attendees to schedule meetings with your sales representatives.
- Include suitable attendee engagement activities: Your event goal will help you decide how to design the engagement experience. For example, suppose your goal is to build a community within your industry. In that case, you may devise multiple co-creative activities, nudging attendees to engage and interact with each other.
It’s worth noting that the list isn’t exhaustive, as your goal may impact each decision you’re making while planning the event.
Types of Goals for Corporate Events
When it comes to corporate events, you can choose between two goal types:
- Internal goals: Planning events focused on strengthening and nurturing the community within your corporation.
- External goals: Running events to engage external stakeholders, nudging them to take a specific action. These external stakeholders can be your leads, prospects, brand community members, investors, and more.
→ Examples of internal goals
You may identify multiple internal goals, such as:
- Encourage communication and teamwork between departments
- Build trust and high-quality connections between your team members
- Foster innovation and creativity, encouraging employees to think out of the box
- Ensure knowledge transfer and communicate the strategy changes
- And more
→ Examples of external goals
You may identify countless external goals, such as:
- Increase brand awareness
- Acquire new customers
- Transform customers into brand ambassadors
- Cross-sell or up-sell to existing customers
- And more
How Many Goals Your Corporate Event Should Have?
Although you can define multiple goals per event, focusing on one goal only will help you increase the efficiency of your work. Let’s say, for example, your goals are to:
- Attract high-quality leads
- Transform customers into brand ambassadors
You can pursue different goals, designing an event for multiple audiences. However, you’ll see a decrease in efficiency.
Just think about it: When trying to attract leads, prospects, and customers at your corporate event, you’ll have to craft a generalized message. Usually, this type of one-size-fits-them-all message doesn’t have much impact. You have to launch personalized messages to attract more attendees.
In other words, you have to speak the language of your attendees. Yet, different audiences have different languages. Also, you have to design specific event experiences to nudge that target group into taking a particular action.
For example, you can run a VIP event for your existing customers, adding unique experiences that will strengthen their connection with your company. Subsequently, they’ll become more interested in becoming ambassadors of your brand.
If you run a general event for different audiences, you won’t be able to create exclusive experiences that will show your customers your further interest in strengthening the partnership.
It’s wise and more efficient to choose one goal per corporate event.
How To Define a Clear Goal for Your Next Event?
Your events can support the OKRs of your:
- Company / Business
- Each department (Marketing, Sales, Customer Success, HR, and more)
It all depends on your events strategy.
In some cases, companies run events mainly focused on increasing business revenue. In other cases, brands use events to support the goals and OKRs of different departments and teams.
Regardless of your company type, your events team can’t act alone. There should always be a clear alignment and constant communication between your events team and your company / other departments.
Having this in mind, start by scheduling a meeting with your company leadership to identify which company area needs support. Is it the HR? Is it the sales team? Or maybe it’s the marketing department? Perhaps, all of them require an events strategy to accomplish their goals?
- If the company leadership wants to focus on marketing only, book a meeting with the marketing department to identify their needs and see which type of events will help them achieve their goals.
- If the company leadership wants to use events to support different departments, prioritize and schedule a meeting with the team you’ll be working with first.
During these meetings, ask the following questions:
- What’s your primary objective for the next quarter, half a year, and year?
- What’s the goal you’re most struggling with?
- How will achieving this result (derived from the company/department objective) contribute to the overall business growth?
For example, let’s say that your marketing department has multiple goals, yet the team is struggling with increasing the number of high-quality leads.
However, growing this number will create more pipeline opportunities and result in a higher number of closed deals, contributing to the overall company growth. As a result, your event goal should focus on increasing brand awareness.
Subsequently, this goal will result in a:
- Clear event vision
- Target group
- Buyer persona’s stage
- Event program
- Engagement experiences
- Marketing campaign
- And more.
Defining a clear goal for your next event is quite straightforward.
You don’t have to come up with anything new. You must communicate well with the leadership and other teams, identifying the top priority in terms of business growth and company objectives.