Whether in-person, virtual or hybrid, and whether it’s a summit, conference, webinar, forum, roadshow, round table, or something else, every B2B marketing event has an objective. For example, the objective might be to function as a sales enablement tool to drum up new leads, help sales close pipeline opportunities, or to train clients to reduce tech-support call volumes. In most cases, organizations have multiple event marketing goals.
Why event marketing goals matter.
Understanding why a marketing event exists and what an organization hopes to achieve is a strong mechanism to drive alignment and create an action plan focused on driving these outcomes forward. Without this alignment, the event may be fun, and attendees may cite it as something they would attend again, but it’s less likely that the event will actually drive the organization’s business objectives forward.
Event goals directly impact the following:
- Success. What measurements, KPIs, and metrics should be used to evaluate event success, and which should not be considered?
- Outreach. What are the marketing tactics that will be most impactful in securing your target audience?
- Content. What areas, styles, formats and level of detail does the content you create fall into?
- Engagements. What are the engagement opportunities during an event that will best resonate with attendees?
- Stakeholders. Who are the groups and specific individuals that need to be consulted with to determine the event strategy?
Also, keep in mind that event goals and objectives change.
As a marketing event—and an organization—matures, event goals and objectives may shift. New types of attendees, competitive and economic movements, changing business priorities, and changing the event from in-person to virtual (or back again) all contribute to this shift.
The most common event marketing goals and objectives.
From a broad perspective, there are eight goals and objectives frequently cited for virtual and in-person events. Does this mean that there are only eight event goals and event objectives an organization should consider? Of course not! However, based on our client engagements, these are the most common. They fit into three buckets: revenue enhancement, cost reduction and intangibles.
These event marketing goals focus on creating revenue for the sponsoring organization.
- Expansion. Retain existing clients and expand the total dollar amount clients spend with your organization.
- New logo sales. Drive net new client sales by providing a “closing activity” and venue where prospects can engage with existing clients.
- Profit center. Direct source of profit for the organization via ticket, training and sponsorship sales.
These event goals focus on reducing an organization’s expenses and mitigating the potential of customer churn.
- Education. Increase client and partner expertise, understanding, and comfort level with an offering to reduce future strain on the support and professional services organization.
- Retention & customer engagement. Interact with customers to strengthen and build relationships to reduce the potential of customer churn or the reduction of the Share of Wallet.
The event focus is on enhancing perceptions of the organization within a given segment or market.
- Brand. Create or maintain a recognizable identity and company ethos.
- Awareness/leadership. Become an industry leader or maintain industry leadership status.
- Community. Create camaraderie, make connections, and provide a source of advice, guidance, feedback, and market intelligence for a segment or market.
The Iron Horse insight.
If a company cannot easily articulate why it is holding a marketing event, they should not be doing it. There are multiple objectives in play at any given event, and often it’s unclear which should be made primary and which should be secondary. This prioritization, or lack thereof, directly impacts the strategy but also influences how a company can and should measure and track event success.