Step 2: Outline Your Event Goals and KPIs

A common question I receive is “How do you measure the success of an event?” 

The answer is simple: It’s a mixture of hitting the mark on both qualitative and quantitative KPIs.

However, to know whether we hit them, we first need to define them. 

Qualitative Goals

Prior to the initial kickoff meeting for every event my team produces, we sit down with the client to outline the goals they’d like to achieve. On the qualitative side, that includes things like attendee feedback, testimonials, overheard onsite conversations and thoughts on programming, as well as the overall energy of the room. 

Quantitative KPIs

When it comes to quantitative KPIs, we are talking about elements like attendee growth or retention, sponsorship dollars, revenue targets, press hits, or overall attendee and stakeholder feedback. 

If exact targets (i.e. dollar figures or percentages of growth) had not previously been cited, this meeting is the perfect time to get specific and drill down until we’ve assigned numbers or percentages to each goal. 

This way, everyone knows from the get-go what we’re both trying to achieve AND exceed. 

When it comes to outlining your goals, remember to make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T.

S - Specific: Goals cannot be vague. In as few words as possible, you need to clearly state the exact result you’re aiming to create. 
M - Measurable: Wherever possible, use numerical data to allow for easy calculating and reporting.
A - Achievable: Aim high, but don’t create goals that are impossible to achieve. 
R - Relevant: Every goal should relate back to your event mission. 
T - Timebound: Assign a start and end date so you can measure whether you achieved your goal in the allocated time frame. 

While many results will be measured during post-show reporting, it’s important that you track your progress so you can pivot as needed and implement additional measures along the way to influence success. 

To me, the quantitative AND the qualitative are equally important. The statistics combined with the onsite energy is how I measure an event’s success.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the 7 Steps to Event Success!
 Step 3: Define the Scope of Your Event.

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