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    Skot Waldron
    By Skot Waldron

    Do You Have "Good" Marketing Goals? Maybe. Read On, My Friend.

    aptopix_brazil_soccer_wcup_england_italy_216487908.jpg Without goals, we are all doomed. Goals are what drive us, what give us purpose, and what keep us on track. Think of it as baking a cake.

    If you know you’re going to bake a cake, then you have an idea of what ingredients you’ll need to accomplish that task. If you don't know you want to make a cake, you'll spend unnecessary hours meandering around the grocery store and end up wasting time and money buying ingredients you don't need. Without the end result in mind, you don’t even know where to start. Goals, they’re good for cake baking, and they’re good for digital marketing. 


    Defining Your Goals

    As the marketing department, chances are your goals are a part of a bigger picture. It would be counterproductive to try and set up your specific marketing goals without carefully considering your company’s overall business goals first.

    So what’s a business goal, and how do marketing goals help support them? Well, we’re glad you hypothetically asked. An example of a business goal would be a goal to increase company profits by 15% in 2017. Now, knowing that’s your company’s business goal, your marketing goals would support it by brainstorming which marketing efforts could contribute to that profit increase. If you know that your social media leads are converting at high rates, you could focus your marketing goals on growing your social media lead conversion by 10%, including how much those leads will contribute to that overall 15% profit increase.  

    KPIs (key performance indicators) can help measure your progress towards your marketing goals, and this will help you align them with the larger business goals by giving you a consistent means to measure your tangible progress between the two goals. What’s that? You’d like some examples as well? Then you may want to check out the table below. (These are just examples! Modify as needed.)


    Business Goal

    Brand Awareness

    Traffic, Impressions, Shares, Reach, Community (Followers), Visits, Downloads, Mentions, Media Coverage

    Lead Generation

    Average # Generated on Daily, Weekly, Monthly Basis, Click- Through Rate, Conversion Rate

    Lead Nurturing

    Number of Follow-Up Touches/Engagement, Percentage to Sales, Time to Sales, Close Rate

    Customer Retention

    Retention Rate, Lifetime Value, Customer Acquisition Cost, Percentage of Revenue from Current Customers, Churn Rate

    Customer Acquisition

    Average Lead Close Rate, Customer Acquisition Cost, Time to Customer, Average Sale Value


    Raw Monthly and Quarterly Numbers, Revenue Fluctuations


    Setting SMART Goals

    What are SMART goals? Well, in case you’ve been craving a good acronym, we’ve got one for you. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Let’s break these down.

    Specific – A specific objective describes in detail what you want to occur and answers the questions “Who, what, and how?” If your goal is simply to “raise revenue” for your company, it will be really hard to pinpoint who on the team is responsible for what tasks and how to make that goal a reality. A better goal would be, “Increase event planning departments revenue 15% by cutting spending on annual fundraiser and increasing volunteer sign up efforts.” With this specific goal, it is clear who is responsible (the event planning team), what they need to do (raise revenue), where they need to do it (event planning and volunteer efforts) and how they need to do it (increase volunteer involvement, cut spending.) If you make your goals specific, they become more tangible and real. It will also be easier to measure them, which (segue time!) brings us to point number two.   

    Measurable – For an objective to be measurable, you need to be able to assign it a number, a deadline, a frequency, or some other measurable standard. If your goal is simply to “bring in more customers” how are you going to measure if you actually achieved this? A basic rule for making a measured goal is to stick a number in there, such as "bring in 20% more customers by the end of the year using social media marketing". This way, your team will know what to look for when measuring their progress and can successfully employ some KPI’s to track the goal.

    Achievable – It's great to have big ambitions for your company, but having unrealistic, unattainable goals can end up discouraging your team if they can't visualize a realistic path towards reaching them. Stick to one that everyone can see being reachable, then another one we like to call a “stretch goal.” A stretch goal will keep your team motivated without losing steam on a pipe dream. As the famous poet Robert Browning says, a man’s reach should exceed his grasp! 

    So how do you determine if a goal is achievable? Well, some questions to consider would be:

    • Do you have enough resources to accomplish the goal? If not, can you acquire them?
    • Is the goal based on numbers from previous time periods?
    • Have you conducted research that leads you to believe this goal is tangible?
    • Does this goal align with the values, ideas, and efforts of your company?

    Relevant As mentioned above, it’s important to make your goals relevant to the overall progress of your company. It's great to have marketing goals, but if you are not linking those marketing goals to the business goals of the C-suite peeps, you might be wasting energy on things that aren't helping the company move in the direction it's aiming for. 

    An example of this would be getting too caught up in a goal to increase brand awareness for your product when another department is desperately trying to improve the retention rate of customers. In this case, your marketing energy might be better spent trying to think of a really great customer outreach program. We know that marketing strategies can sometimes help improve the bottom line of a company in indirect ways, and that's fine, just make sure that whatever you're working on, it's linked to other departments and moves the entire company forward.

    Time-oriented – Does your objective have a defined beginning and a defined end? Sometimes your objective’s endpoint isn’t the end of the activity, but it provides a point for you to stop and measure your project and can act as a motivator. A good time oriented goal would be, “Get at least 100 new blog comments by Dec. 31.” Because the goal is measurable and can be decided as complete by December 31st. Just in time for you to make your New Year’s Resolution to get even more blog comments.

    However, this does not and should not mean that all efforts to get blog comments would stop after December 31st, and this is something to be careful of with time oriented goals. Being time oriented should not lead to having tunnel vision to the point of restricting future success of your company. In fact, try to never have tunnel vision. Well, unless you’re going through a tunnel.

    Keeping all this in mind, a good SMART goal example would be:

    Achieve a 15% lead conversion rate before December 31st by employing a new email campaign that includes a new blog series for awareness stage buyer personas.

    This example includes a specific goal (Increase lead conversion) that is measurable (15%), attainable (realistic percentage increase for time frame), relevant (helps with company profit overall), and time-oriented (by December 31st).

    On the other hand, a NOTSOSMART goal (OK, yes, we made up that much less catchy acronym) would be:

    Expand our network of industry contacts in order to have more influence in the industry and open the door to partnering with potential collaborators.

    Though it appears detailed, there is no way of measuring the success of the above goal. The goal, in this instance, is really just an idea. And an idea is merely a chocolate chip on a cookie in the grand cookie jar of life. 


    All done.

    At the end of the day, marketing goals and objectives don't just keep you motivated, they hold you accountable. Making sure your marketing department has solid goals is one of the most important steps to being a leader. Work as a team to establish consistent, ambitious goals for your department, and don’t be afraid to instate some form of reward system for achieving them. Once you get a solid system in place in your department, you’ll be amazed as you watch your teammates rise to the occasion. Your workplace will be like the Avengers, minus all the alien and robot attacks. 


    Want to learn more about creating a solid marketing strategy that will give you more overall structure and piece of mind? You can read The 5 Step Process For a More Structured Marketing Strategy eBook for a more in-depth discussion of these concepts and how you can begin to implement them.   


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