There’s more to planning meetings than ordering food or putting up signage—we all know that. The easiest way to keep an eye on your goals is to make sure that your event strategy stays results-driven. And one of the easiest ways to stay on track is to use event tech.
Right alongside negotiating with multiple schedules, coordinating with sponsors, and managing your attendees’ experience, you have to make sure that the event will accomplish your objectives. This can be difficult because ROI for events is often hard to prove. If the event was successful, how do you know?
Tech such as social media analysis, event apps for attendee management, and beacon tracking have made analytics more accessible, but that’s not where the task begins—or ends. There are logistics to consider when you are making sure that your event and your tech are focused on driving results for you and your organization.
For the times when the results of your efforts get lost in the sheer effort of managing events, we present the 3 step plan to results-driven event strategy.
Step One: Define Your Goals
The crucial first step to accomplishing your goals is to define them. The question to ask is “Why am I holding this event?”
Some meetings have very clear goals, by virtue of what type of meeting they are. At a sales kickoff, for example, the goal is probably to let the sales team talk shop—trading competitive intel, team building, and getting motivated for the new sales period. Meanwhile, events like an annual general meeting can have varying objectives arising from a variety of long-term factors. It’s important to know those contextual details when defining your goals.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should brush off this first step for meetings that seem to have obvious goals. It’s important to define your goals in the context of each event: hence ‘event strategy’.
Even if your sales kickoff has “trading intel” as a major goal, you need to consider the context for that particular kickoff. If that sales team has a history of good communication, then your goal should be helping to facilitate that communication. But if they don’t, then your goal should be more focused on helping them to open and maintain those channels.
Step Two: Establish Your Method
Naturally, the next step involves laying out the approach that will lead you to accomplish the particular goals of your event.
Having a very clear idea of those goals is crucial to your ability to accurately and in detail establish your methods. You don’t have to invest in a whole new tool for each separate goal, but it is important to consider how to best use your existing tools in the context of that particular event and event strategy.
To provide ways for attendees to easily communicate with one another, for example, it might be as easy as setting up internal messaging, in-app discussion forums, or creating a hashtag so that attendees can easily find one another on social media. If your attendees are already inclined to interact with one another, you might only need to share information about those systems and then let your attendees take it from there.
However, if a goal of your event is to help attendees establish those communication channels, you may need to do a bit more prep work. The same systems will still work, but the way that you present them to attendees will be different. For example, ask presenters to post questions in the in-app discussion forums, to drive attendees to engage in discussion. Use gamification to drive attendees to use your event’s hashtag on social media. Doing the work to break the ice and get them started with using those channels will encourage them to continue as the event goes on.
Step 3: Evaluate Your Success
Setting up your goals and methods isn’t the end of the matter though. Once you’ve decided on your goals and how to achieve them, you have to establish ways to recognize that you have succeeded.
Event tech can provide us with the data we need to understand the impact of our event. Analytics on attendee behavior, what engaged them the most, and what they found most useful, give us incredible insight into what worked and what didn’t. In order to make use of this information, it’s important to set up your standards of evaluation pre-event, so that you can assess your success afterward.
If you measured social media activity last year, take a look at those numbers and use them to create a reasonable goal for this year’s event. If last year’s survey showed low satisfaction with amount of networking, set up ways for attendees to network more easily (profile matching comes to mind) and use a post-event survey to see if you achieved the goal.
Setting up measures of success before your event begins ensures that you have the means to keep track of your progress as well as makes sure before you begin that your goals are measurable, realistic, and aligned with your event strategy.
With this 3-step plan for results-driven event strategy, you can make sure that your event utilizes all of your existing tech tools to create, attain, and measure your success. When you know the results that you’re looking for are directly tied to fulfilling your goals, you can rest assured that your objectives will be met during the course of your events.