This session empowers event professionals to go beyond vanity metrics and focus on measurable outcomes that align with business objectives. Here's the key takeaway:

Shift from event-centric goals to business-driven objectives:

  • Don't just focus on attendance: While important, aim for qualitative audience engagement that drives sales, brand awareness, or lead generation.
  • Set SMART goals: Clearly define Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound objectives before planning your event.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders: Partner with sales, marketing, and other teams to understand their needs and ensure your event contributes to their goals.
  • Measure success beyond registration: Use pre- and post-event surveys, attendee feedback, and engagement metrics to track progress towards your objectives.

By following these steps, you can transform events from isolated experiences into strategic initiatives that fuel business growth.

Hello. Hello, everybody. Thank you so much, Nick, and the Steph's. Wait, that'd be a great band name. Nick and the Steph's really wanna make that happen.

My name is Patrick. I do marketing here at Swoogo. You've probably seen me in your inbox, which is probably why you're here now. Before we get started, I wanna tell a quick story, before I joined Swoogo, I was working at a company where I was in charge of their big digital event.

He would ask me then what my goal for that event was. I'd take a thousand people there and we did end up doing that. We had about one point five thousand people attend, but two months later, my CMO came to me and said, hey, Patrick. How much money did we make off of that event?

And I did not have an answer. But I thought I brought so many people together. Of course, we made a boatload of money. Right?

Well, pulled the numbers and not really. What we learned is that when we set those goals of just saying I want a thousand people there, everything that we did leading up to that was towards that goal of getting people there, but we weren't getting the right people there. You know, we weren't thinking about content that would drive people to the next step. We weren't thinking about what action items we wanna take after the event to continue adding value for attendees.

Nicola Kastner Background

I really wish I had met Nicola Kastner. Before then, because she has some great thoughts all around setting goals for your events, Nicola do you mind, introducing yourself for everyone?

Yeah. Sure. Thanks. So, Nicola Kastner, I'm based in Toronto. Hey, Canadians that are watching.

I have my own company called The Event Strategist where I consult with brands to how to optimize their event marketing strategies, but prior to starting my consulting practice, I was the Global Vice President of Event Marketing Strategy for five and a half years at SAP. So large, large enterprise company, lot of large of events, the largest biggest of them, probably the most well known was Sapphire that fell under my purview. So I spent a lot of time walking in the trenches and walking in the shoes of a lot of people that are on the call today. Part of that, I had I consulted before, joining SAP, and I also worked on the agency side.

So I spent a lot of time working with my internal clients about how to define their event strategies up front. I believe in the power of events. I fell in love with the power of events through a session that I took at a conference and event strategy. So I always had this feel this need to pay it forward, but so I'm thrilled to be here.

Thanks for having me.

Awesome. Awesome. Thank you for joining.

The Business of Events Framework

Have to admit was a bit starstruck when we first had a meeting because, I've been following you on LinkedIn for a little while. And I wanna pull up one thing that you had mentioned, on LinkedIn somewhat recently. You had called it the business of events framework. Can you, explain this to folks? Real quick.

Yeah. Absolutely. So, you know, where this came from or where this started. This is a framework I've always used.

I didn't call it the business of events framework. Until recently until all of this discussion started happening about the C level event roles. And everybody wanting to have a seat the table. And my theory is in order to do that, we have to speak in the language of business, not in the language of events.

So we need to think about events as a business venture that are designed to to produce outcomes. So I started to write the series. I'm mid-way through the series. You can go back and look at it, but it basically takes this five step framework that I've talked about here and breaks down each step from my experience, my experience in my clients, and so forth throughout the years, to help others and just try to change the narrative around our industry.

Success Objectives and Diagnostic Metrics

And I love the model that you've built because we have if we want that seat at the table, we have to move beyond that level one and level two for sure. And so there was definitely an alignment about what you were doing here and what I'm trying talk about, so here I am. So thanks for having me.

For sure. For sure. Do you mind talking to a little bit about, the goals that folks should be setting beyond just like we mentioned, registration and attendance. Yeah. We had brought up this slide on that LinkedIn post as well, and I'd love if you could talk through about what each of those mean.

Yeah. Happy to. So there's there's two types of metrics that I talk about just for a little bit of context. There are success metrics and diagnostic metrics.

The diagnostic metrics allow you to answer the why. Those are where I see things like registration, number of people, those type of things, sitting in. For success objectives, they need to be set upfront. You need to have conversations with stakeholders, your internal stakeholders to align on what success looks like.

Mean, think about it. You're blindfolded. Otherwise, what we if you don't know what you're working towards, how can you communicate success at the outset. So to your your story, Patrick, about well, I thought my goal was to have a thousand people register.

Well, if you hadn't asked the question. How would you know that there were other expectations around that?

So I really encourage people to think about asking the questions upfront.

And so I categorize success objectives. There's a whole other layer on this, as well in the model, which talks about the diagnostic, which are a lot of the event input metrics in into these four categories, brand perception. So those are objectives that are, you know, looking at did the did the event change the mindset and influence the audience in the way that we intended their sales impact, which obviously has is a direct alignment to the revenue model that we're talking about today, but you can't create sales impact without having positive brand and perception objectives as well. There's engagement. Did people engage with your content in the right way. And then there's financial performance. And traditionally, I actually put financial performance as a diagnostic metric, not a success metric, but I knew that if I posted something on LinkedIn and didn't talk about the financial performance of the event, the revenue and sponsorship and ticket revenue, I would be crucified.

So I put it in in here. So understanding and having conversations with your stakeholders about which of these objectives are important, and there's multiple. I would say probably a large flagship of event. You're gonna have probably five at minimum, sometimes up to ten to distinct objectives that you are designing the event to achieve.

Understanding Stakeholder Needs

So once you understand these, this is step one, Once you understand all of your stakeholder needs and those are your attendee needs and really diving into what your attendees need, not just what the company or the person paying for the event wants the event to do. Once you understand those two things, then you can actually start think about designing the right experience. So my recommendation to people is really back up understand the business impact that you're trying to create before you jump into actually planning the event.

Designing the Right Experience

Absolutely. Absolutely. I love what you mentioned there about there's these diagnostic metrics and then there's success metrics. Because, of course, increasing registrations and, getting people at the event is important. Right? We don't wanna knock that.

Maturity Model and Stage Three Goals

So thinking about that as like how good are we at events, right, and then how good are we at making the most of these events?

When we're thinking about this maturity model, the previous session, we talked a lot about stage one and stage two. How do you increase registrations and how do you capture those attendee insights? But I'm curious, do you have any advice for folks online of what are some of the goals that you should be setting for that stage three creating leads and pipeline.
And who should you be working with?

Yeah, absolutely. And, I have some visuals, but they're just too complicated to show here. So if anybody wants to read deeper on this, they can find them on my on my LinkedIn profile, but Ultimately, it's it's A) about understanding what you're trying to achieve and then partnering with the right organizations to achieve it.

Partnering with Organizations for Goal Achievement

So just because an event, you know, say a goal was set that we want to accelerate pipeline. And an accelerating pipeline in order to accelerate pipeline, that means you need to have the right accounts there. You have to partner with your internal stakeholders to identify who are the right accounts. How are we going to get them there?

How are we going to hold teams accountable for getting them there? And I'll use an example of how you have to flip the conversation. I was working with a client recently, and they said, well, fifty percent of our registrations are from prospect. From top top pipeline relevant accounts.

I said, okay. Well, what does that fifty percent of your registrations represent of your top pipeline account? You might have the bottom, you know, like their scales of pipeline relevant account built out a model where you scale them and you make sure you need to focus on your top one, two, three, four You need to create a value proposition.

You have to work with your internal sales teams and or customer success teams depending on how the organization is structured to build a strategy to get those people there and a way to deliver value to them. Understanding that upfront allows you to say, okay, these are the things that we need to identify through the registration process. These are the actions that we need to put in place in order to achieve getting x amount of people or the desired people to the event. And these are the tactics we need to put into the event a meetings program, for example, is the number one tactic.

Creating Conversations and Infrastructure for Pipeline Acceleration

If you're looking to accelerate pipeline, you need to create conversations between customer to customer, customer or prospect to, to sales, to executives, You have to facilitate that so you need to build the infrastructure to do that, but you also need to bring to the early conversation.

You have to bring these teams along in the journey with you, and you do that by sharing data, sharing success, sharing impact, and driving shared accountability across the organization.

Absolutely love that. I got one question here from the direct chat. By the way, don't be shy. Feel free to throw it in the q and a. Other people can upvote it. One of the questions here was around brand and perception. How do you create metrics around brand and perception?

Metrics for Brand and Perception

So really these focus on sort of two categories, brand perception of the company and perception of the event.

And so if your if your goal is to, you know, and sometimes these are somewhat nebulous and but somewhat if their your goal is to say that position your company as an innovative thought leader, let me tell you. I've heard that a thousand times in my career. What the heck does that mean? Well, that's where you start to dive back and say, okay.
How do we know that we've done that? And that's traditionally through an NPS score or, I believe this company is a thought leader. I mean, I'm oversimplifying it here. Right?
But I it's through the through the survey, through through whatever measurement metrics you're gonna use. And I have this whole framework that I use on on pre-post, that that I'm I'm happy to share if anyone wants to reach out, or like I said, you can find it But so you have to find a way to measure what it was coming in that starts at your level one. That's through your registration data. You ask that question.

How innovative do you think we are? Right? Then you measure that in your post-survey. You measure that on-site through feedback. You measure that through QR codes at the end of your keynote because that's traditionally the thing that moves the needle quite significantly. You put in measurement metrics to capture that. It's a pre post, and you can see that the event has done how the event has supported that or not. I hope that answers the question.

Oh, that's perfect. I love the leaning on that survey data.

Capturing Attendee Insights and Stakeholder Accountability

And the information you're getting directly from your attendees, let them tell you what they think. Your registration is so important to capture the right insights. When I was at SAP, we we put three to four questions.

I think it was four. Actually, my somewhere three or four. I haven't looked back at it. In a long time that we built into our registration platform so we could understand half the right data to do our post event follow-up.

And one of the most important was why are you coming? What do you need out of this event? And in many cases, certainly for a large flagship event, like Sapphire is twenty four thousand people of the last year that I was responsible for it, I couldn't move the needle that quick with registrations coming so late, but I had those insights. I could see year-over-year trends.

So when I was able to take those into the next planning cycle as well.

Absolutely. Absolutely. It's amazing how many folks don't ask questions like that on registration. Right? It was a huge unlock for us. With event different, where just a little drop down that said, would you like to add some additional questions, or answers?

I'll ask the right questions though. Right? If you ask too much, you are gonna and especially if it's a free event, you are gonna people will be like, forget it. It's not worth.
So there's there's a fine line balance when it's a paid event. It's completely different.

That's a really good point. That's a really good point. Love that concept of good friction. Right? If you're asking questions that you think will help elevate the experience, go ahead and ask if that's data you already have, don't ask it.


Alright. Perfect. There's one last question that I'd love to ask, which is how do you keep your stakeholders accountable for the goals. So if this is a large event and you have ten goals, you might not necessarily be the one who's really driving. All of those goals as an individual event planner. How do you keep the rest of your team accountable?

So there's two teams. There's your own events team. And then there's your internal stakeholders. So let's use sales as an example. I will work with sales leadership to put in if you have told me that this is critical and I have results, especially if you have the data that shows the impact that an event can have on accelerating mind going back to that same example, you put I I always talk about putting in control mechanisms and accountability mechanisms with them so that We have regular check ins. They hold their teams accountable for driving the right people to the event because there is a benefit.

You have to be able to articulate the value proposition of the why. Right? But once you've done that, you have to make those teams your partners. In terms of your events teams, having clear objectives and allows you to map clear tactics of things that are important and are not important, which is actually probably one of the more important thing.

You know, when you're in a large enterprise organization like I came from, every flavor of the week is a priority and you're expected to include it in your event. But if you've got these objectives that are really clearly defined, what the events expected to achieve, it gives you an ability to actually say no. Which is really powerful as well.

For sure. For sure. I bet there's a lot of folks in this call who really wanna level up to the ability to say no.

Awesome. Well, thank you so much. So much knowledge packed into that fifteen-minute segment.

I think this is also a great transition because as you're thinking of these goals, you can't do it alone. You have to have such strong partnerships, like you mentioned, with your go to market team that's through sales and marketing. So I'm really excited to bring up Mark Kilens to the stage for the session, events, and go to market teams. They're gonna walk through ways that you can partner with your sales and marketing teams to make the most of your event because events are a team sport. Thank you so much, Nicola, and encourage everybody to go follow you on LinkedIn.

It's like a breath of fresh air every time I see a new post.

Thank you so much for having me.

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