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Defining event goals

Defining event goals and their importance


Clear objectives not only make a confident and serious impression on event participants, but they also highlight the event's added value, set expectations, and make success something measurable and comprehensible. Clear objectives set the framework for the event and facilitate decision-making during the planning process.

Find out in detail how to define the goals for your event here.


Defining your event goals

Events can be defined by their core goals. For example, an event should: 

  • inform 
  • motivate 
  • promote sales 
  • prompt decisions 
  • foster innovation
  • encourage personal interaction

Event goals can therefore be defined according to one of these core objectives. All the subsequent event design and planning processes derive from the event's respective goal – from the overarching theme to the event's format and the specific technical implementation, through to its decoration.


The advantages of having clearly defined event goals

Clarity creates certainty of action – one of the greatest success factors in event planning.

Further advantages of having clear event goals are:

  • Plannability: Once the goals have been set, all further planning steps can be derived from them. This ensures the planning and implementation process runs smoothly.
  • A strong concept: By setting clear objectives, a coherent event concept can be developed, which in turn makes it easier to attract partners and sponsors.
  • Seriousness: A tangible common thread conveys security and seriousness to all participants.
  • Accountability: All employees behind and in front of the scenes know exactly what to do, when, how and why.
  • Satisfaction: If the event is geared towards its objectives, expectations are clear – and no participant has to go home disappointed.


Types of event goals

In the following, we would like to briefly break down the different types of potential event goals.

Business objectives 

Business event objectives serve the economic added value of your company and its visible positioning in the market segment. These include: 

  • Increased revenue
  • Presentation of a product
  • Customer loyalty
  • Customer acquisition
  • Strengthening the brand 
  • Sustainable growth

Organizational objectives

Organizational event objectives include all those aspects that relate to the actual implementation of your event. They can be: 

  • Efficient use of resources
  • Clear internal and external communication
  • Time management 
  • Speed of action 
  • Employee leadership
  • Teamwork 
  • Participant management 
  • (Technically) smooth process


Participant-focussed goals

What do you want your participants to take away from your event? Participant-focussed event goals can be: 

  • Networking
  • Education/knowledge transfer
  • Motivation/emotionalization 
  • Inspiration 
  • Integration 
  • Promoting potential 
  • Team cohesion 
  • Improved corporate culture


How to define your event objectives

The added value of event goals is obvious – but how do you define the right goal for you?

Research and analysis

The following analysis procedures can help you to find the right goal for your event: 

  • Market analysis provides you with a pinpoint overview of which target groups and competitors exist in your target market, how the market is currently developing and what potential it offers.
  • Target group analysis tells you what expectations and wishes a certain group of consumers has towards your product and what purchasing behaviour is derived from this.
  • Competitive analysis breaks down which strategies competitors in your target market use to acquire customers, which weaknesses, and strengths they reveal and whether they are direct or indirect competitors.


Create SMART goals

The SMART method will help you to review your previous event ideas in terms of clarity and unambiguity. SMART stands for:

  • Specific (clarity of content, simple and easy-to-understand formulation of tangible objectives)
  • Measurable (express your objective in measurable units, such as the number of participants) 
  • Attractive (the objective specific user benefit, such as spreading the brand message) 
  • Realistic (the objective should be ambitious but realistic) 
  • Time-bound (clear timeframes act as an incentive and make it possible to measure success)

You can assign your (SMART) goals to one of two categories:

Quantitative event goals can be, for example, the number of contacts with potential new customers, the number of participants and the resulting turnover. In contrast, qualitative event objectives do not touch on the economic dimension. Rather, this is about the (subjective) perception of your event by participants and the media:

  • Did you increase brand awareness?
  • Were your participants satisfied? 
  • How were the new products received? 
  • How did the competition react?


Realizing your event goals

Have you set your event goals? Then let's take a look at how you can make it a success!

Strategies and actions for achieving goals

Whether and how effectively you have been able to realize your goals is indicated on a goal achievement scale. In project management, 5 steps are often used. Some of them will probably be familiar to you by now:

  1. Goal definition: Where do I want to go? 
  2. Strategy: Which measures do I use in the implementation? 
  3. Planning: Which sub-steps are required, when, and how?
  4. Implementation: Act and evaluate – how much does the real state deviate from the target state? What level of correction is required?
  5. Result: What has actually been achieved?


Monitoring the success of your event objectives

The continuous comparison between actual and target status provides you with an honest picture of your planning progress, your implementation, and your event success. 

The following tools are available to you:

  • A pre-test takes place before the implementation of an event. At this point you can, for example, evaluate how your target group reacts to advertising measures – and deduce whether further advertising measures are necessary to achieve your goals.
  • With an in-between test, you can obtain feedback during implementation and thus are able to make timely adjustments. 
  • A post-test is carried out after an event. In practice, digital surveys or email feedback are the go-to.

Feedback and honest reflection are important at every stage of your event planning process – from setting objectives to implementation and evaluating success. Were you and your team sufficiently focused and motivated? Did you realistically assess your goals and their feasibility? If not, how can this be adapted and improved for the next event?


Continue with step 2: Creating an event concept.

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Download our checklist for event planning

Do you need a precise and detailed checklist so that you have all the important points of your event planning at a glance? 

No problem! The Cologne Convention Bureau is at your side to help you plan your event successfully and confidently. Our checklist is available for you to download - so that your event is guaranteed to be an enriching experience.