When you are planning your marketing activities, are you absolutely clear about what you are trying to achieve? Have you considered how to determine whether your activities are working or not? After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure! Objectives can make or break a marketing campaign; now here’s how to set them.
What are marketing objectives?
Marketing objectives are goals set by businesses when promoting their products or services to consumers, which should be achieved in a specified time frame. A typical marketing plan will contain several SMART objectives.
A marketing objective typically includes a description of what it is you want to achieve, along with numerical targets (KPIs of Key Performance Indicators), within a specific timeline. Your marketing objectives also form part of your marketing strategy.
SMART marketing objectives
You’ve heard about setting SMART goals – and marketing objectives should receive the same treatment. SMART marketing objectives help you to create scalable and achievable goals for your marketing by focusing on five different criteria.
Your marketing objectives need to be specific: generalisations or vague outlines don’t hold anyone accountable for success, and results won’t be truly reliable indicators of effectiveness. Therefore, you have to set yourself concise objectives that clearly show what you want to achieve, how you will get there and by when.
It’s also important to make sure your goals are measurable, meaning they can actually be quantified in some way. Having a number in mind helps to give you something to work towards and focus on… and to know how far away you are from hitting it! Use Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs) and industry benchmarks to ensure what you’re measuring is recognisable as a standard.
Your marketing objectives should also be attainable. Setting an unrealistic goal might look impressive but will achieve nothing. In fact, by not reaching it, it’s likely you’ll feel as though you have failed. So, whilst it’s great to push your business and set yourself targets, they still have to be within in reasonable reach.
When creating your marketing objectives, you should consider if they would actively benefit your business. The Olympian-penned book on strategies for business success, ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’, teaches us about the goal-setting mindset required to win medals. When considering a potential improvement, goal or performance objective, Olympic rowers have only one question in mind: will it make the boat go faster? If not, then it doesn’t matter.
Focus your efforts on developing marketing objectives that are relevant to what you want to achieve. For example, a marketing objective for social media engagement and reach shouldn’t be centred around clicks to a website form.
Lastly, your marketing objectives should be given a deadline to work towards, and when you plan to review if they have been met or not. This could be at the end of every month, or even at the end of the year – whatever suits you. But remember the point about ‘achievable’. Objectives need a reasonable time in which to be achieved – to try to double your turnover in one month may be detrimental to your other business areas as well as being unrealistic as a marketing objective!
Examples of marketing objectives
A typical template for a marketing objective is as follows:
To do [x] by [x date or months from now], through [how you plan on doing it].
To increase sales by 15% by the end of the year, through highly targeted paid ad campaigns.
To increase brand awareness within the next 6 months, by creating a more active presence on social media platforms such as Twitter.
How to identify your marketing objectives:
- Revisit your business goals
Whilst you may think that your business goals and marketing objectives are similar, they are in fact very different as the purpose of marketing is to help you achieve your business goals. Reviewing what your business goals are helps you to then determine what your marketing objectives should be. For example, your business goal may be to increase your annual profits. Therefore, your marketing objectives may be to increase lead-driving activity to drive more prospective customers, or develop a strategy for lower cost per conversion (CPC).
2. Remember who you’re marketing to
Another way to identify what your marketing objectives are is to think carefully about the audience you are trying to attract. Marketing is all about motivating consumers to do something, whether that is to buy your product or request for more information, it’s important that it calls for action. Understanding who your target audience are, and what their buying habits are, can really help you to ensure your marketing objectives are effective.
3. Understand what you want your consumers to do
It’s essential that you understand what you are asking your consumers to do. This all depends on the nature of your business and your industry, but usually the aim should be to motivate consumers to take some sort of action; for example, a click through, a webform completion or add product to basket. Ultimately, your goal is for your consumers to make a purchase, but it’s how you lead them there that can help you to identify what your marketing objectives should be.
Identifying your marketing objectives doesn’t have to be difficult, but it can be time consuming to ensure they are realistic and aligned. By reminding yourself of your business goals, who your customers are, and what you want your customers to do, your marketing objectives should be quantifiable and achievable.
If you would like more helpful tips on planning your business, call the Focus7 team for a no obligation chat on 01462 262020, or simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.