How to define goals for your event

Event Goals and Objectives: The Foundation of Your Event

Learn the importance of defining the event goals and objectives. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set clear smart goals and objectives along with examples.
October 25, 2022

The primary step when planning an event, whether it be virtual, hybrid or in person, is to create objectives to discuss and goals to achieve. Being clear with your goals and objectives can help you stay on track as an organizer and avoid wasting resources. Before starting your planning process, take some time to consider its purpose. This will be the main scope of your event and can guide you when you’re ready to make decisions on behalf of your project. For instance, are you looking to educate, advocate or promote content to your audience?

What are Event Goals and Objectives?

Event goals are broad, long-term or short-term outcomes that you are expecting to accomplish. Compared to the purpose of the event, an event goal is more specific and should support your purpose. 

Event objectives on the other hand are measurable and specific actions to take in service of your long term goal. As you achieve your objects, you are then one step closer to accomplishing your overall goal. Objectives should be written in detail to clearly define the tangible results you are hoping your event will establish.

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Although they can be used interchangeably, goals are typically specific and measurable whereas objectives are strategies and steps taken to meet your goal. 

3 Common Event Goals and Objectives

No matter the type of event you are planning to host, there are goals and objectives that can be applied to benefit the implementation process of your event. Check out these event goals and objectives examples to help you get started with: 

Example #1

Goal: “Increase ticket sales or registration amongst new and returning attendees.”

Objective: Finalize an ideal ratio between new and existing guests and set this as your event objective. 

Example #2

Goal: “Create brand awareness for your event or organization.”

Objective: An objective you could create based on this goal is to promote engagement and aim to reach a certain number of posts made by your supporters. You could also keep track of how frequent information or content is shared about your event by creating a universal hashtag or searching posts that are using your event location. 

Example #3 

Goal: “Sell as many event tickets as possible.”

Objective: Establish a reasonable target amount of tickets you would like to sell before the launch of your event. Review the ticket sales data from a previous event and increase your expected ticket sales rate to a feasible number that can be achieved. 

5 Steps to Set Event Goals to Maximize the Event’s Impact

Step #1: Identify the Event Goals

A great starting point for when you are planning out your event is to conduct thorough research. Research such as attendees’ interests, marketing trends and a competitor analysis can give you a better idea of the people you will want to target, the concepts you want to discuss and strategies you’ll use to promote the event. 

Step #2: Create “SMART” Event Goals 

When setting goals on behalf of your event, you’ll want to make sure they are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based. It’s great to be optimistic about your goals so writing down ideas that relate to them and then later combining and narrowing down those ideas can help you establish a long term goal as an event planner. 

Step #3: Align Your Event Goals with Business KPIs

It’s best to align your goals with your brand’s marketing strategy, values and mission statement if possible. Once you have clearly defined your goals, you can then better communicate your expectations to your event planning staff. In addition, you’ll also want to measure your event goals with key performance indicators (KPIs) such as cost to revenue ratio, the total number of audience members acquired or the total number of social media mentions. 

Step 4: Define Your Event Objectives and Event Strategy

Now that you have decided on goals and KPIs for your event, you’ll want to define the event objectives next. KPIs play an important role when planning an event because they support your objectives and quantify your goals. It may have been easy to set event goals for yourself but now it's time to see how those goals will be achieved exactly. 

The key during step four is to put yourself in the perspective of yourself as well as your audience members. When developing your event strategy, you may find yourself creating milestones to accomplish which will help you closer achieve the overall goal. As you are brainstorming ideas, be sure to outline everything that comes to mind. Simply put, your project plan should highlight your central goal and the steps you’ll need to take to accomplish it.

Step 5: Ensure Your Event Goals Help People Make Connections

The main takeaway you want your audience to experience from your event is to make connections. As an event host, you’ll want your audience to resonate with the content presented, other people in attendance or the overall concept of the event. Once you have addressed the four W’s (who, what, when and where) regarding your event, you can then think of relevant content and guest speakers to include in your event plan.

How to determine event objectives

3 SMART Event Objectives Examples

Hosting a successful event that also progresses your company should be your main goal as an event organizer.  Researching real world case studies or event goals and objectives examples can give you a better understanding of what’s achievable and what to possibly expect during your event.

1. Marketing 360

General Event Goal

“Achieve 5% more event ticketing website visitor conversions than the previous year.”

SMART Event Goal


Marketing 360 knew they wanted to achieve a direct percentage and how they wanted to go about it.


Since their goal involved their website, it was simple to review analytics and track progress that was being made. 


With website conversions, a single digit goal is considered to be “modest.” Because the website for their event influenced the goals they set, Marketing 360 chose to start off with low numbers.


Hiring a third party marketer to oversee any changes that were made ensured the results are guaranteed. 


Since event ticket sales end at a specified time and date, the goal was determined by these parameters.

2. GreekWire Magazine

General Event Goal

“Find a solution to help attendees network with one another while also measuring event effectiveness.”

SMART Event Goal


Straightforward, the goal was to find and implement a solution for this event engagement.


GreekWire Magazine was able to track the relative success of the solution because their software was linked to a platform.


Out of the many options that are available, it should have been easy to decide on a method for guests to engage. 


Because they limited their goal to a single solution, it helped keep this goal feasible.


Keeping in mind that they needed to find, purchase, and test out software before the event ensured that they needed a deadline far out in advance

3. Maritz Travel

General Event Goal

Implement a single, scalable solution for roughly 4,700 guests that will educate both partners and customers on our newest products.

SMART Event Goal


They are only in need of one product to assist with their objective


With the help of event management software, Maritz Travel was able to collect data on the attendee’s event activity and booth interactions.


Securing reliable technology and equipment may be tedious but is certainly possible


Because most solutions are able to handle and address large crowds, it is realistic to present information to a crowd of 4,700.


Since the solution is to be used at the event, the deadline is clear and achievable.

The Impact of Event Objectives

Once you have outlined your event goals and objectives, the rest of the planning process should come together quite easily. The budget, theme, key speakers and entertainment for the event will all be aligned and should share a common factor with your event goals and objectives.

Adjust Future Objectives Based on Your Results

After hosting a successful event, you’ll then want to replicate that turnout, figure out ways to be even more innovative and learn from any mistakes or challenges that were made. Once things have wrapped up, take some time to analyze your event in its entirety and reach out for feedback from stakeholders on how you can improve the overall experience.

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To help ensure your next event is going towards the path of success, refer to the framework below as a reference: 

  1. Were the objectives you had outlined accomplished? What made it successful and what made it challenging when trying to accomplish them?
  2. Which elements worked and didn’t work for your event? Were these elements in or out of your control?
  3. Did the event strategy cater to stakeholders as intended? 
  4. Did you pre-determine any measurements of success? Were they achieved?
  5. Were your brand goals aligned throughout the event?  
  6. Did the audience take action that was  intended? Why or why not?
  7. Was your estimated budget met?  Was that budget adequate?
  8. Which factors of the event planning process were successful vs. challenging? Are there any adjustments you need to make for the future?
  9. How and where could you be more efficient for your next event?

5 Crucial Goals for Your Live and Virtual Events

There are several different goals you could create to accomplish on behalf of your event. Here you will find a list of five crucial goals to consider having as you are planning and organizing the launch of your live or virtual event:

1. Generate Immediate Revenue

You’ll want to set this as a goal because this declares that you want to earn income based on the amount of tickets that are sold for your event. The more successful your event turns out, the more revenue you will generate.

2. New Product Awareness

Depending on the occasion of your event, you may want to get the word out about a new product you are launching.  This type of goal can be helpful because people will become more aware and interested in not only your new product but potentially other products you have to offer. This goal can also be ideal if you are launching a new service as well.

3. Increase Brand Awareness

Along with building awareness for your new product, you’ll also want to build awareness for your overall brand. This event goal will allow the public to get familiar with what your company stands for and what all you have to offer. The more people who are introduced to your brand, the more likely your business sales will increase. 

4. Acquire New Customers

Solidifying new customers is an ideal event goal because they (and loyal consumers) are what keeps your brand strong and thriving. New customers also demonstrate that your promotion tactics may be effective because it has caught the attention of someone new.  Lastly, if satisfied with your service or product; new customers can unintentionally help with promotion by spreading the word and informing others about what you have to offer. 

5. Reinforce Customer Relationships

Reinforcing customer relationships is a key event goal because it leaves the impression that you care and value your customers.  Customer relationships can potentially make or break your business so you want to ensure they feel complete and satisfied with your services, the products you have to offer and brand reputation. 

Create goals for virtual events


Thorough event planning requires you to be upfront and “SMART” with the goals and objectives you want to achieve.  Communicating your goals and objectives to any involved stakeholders is a good way to prove yourself as reliable, dependable and ultimately a leader. Now that you understand the steps it takes to create effective event goals and have credible examples to follow, your event should be on the right path to success! 

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