As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” If you’re hoping to drive more results with your marketing this year, it’s important to determine your marketing objectives, and come up with an action plan that will help you achieve said objectives.
Not sure where to start? In this blog post, we walk you through all you need to know about marketing objectives. We’ll teach you how to use these objectives to skyrocket the effectiveness of your marketing team.
What are marketing objectives?
Simply put, marketing objectives are a set of objectives that detail what a business wants to achieve from its marketing and promotional activities.
Firms without marketing objectives are basically going into their marketing blind. These teams typically rely on ad-hoc promotions (as opposed to setting up pre-planned, well thought out campaigns). They might feel as though they’re constantly playing catch up.
Teams who are working with marketing objectives, however, tend to be more structured. This helps them to achieve better outcomes. Think about it: if you know what high-level objective you’re working towards, you can list the milestones that you’ll have to hit, and break down each milestone into smaller, more manageable tasks. This helps you to stay on track, and lets you achieve your goals more easily.
Setting SMART objectives
You’ve probably heard about setting SMART goals — this applies to your marketing objectives as well. In a nutshell, you should aim to set objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART). Doing this makes it easier for you to achieve success with your goals.
SMART: Setting specific objectives
First things first: your marketing objectives should be clear and unambiguous, not generic and vague. Here’s a handy sniff test: if you share your goal with your team members, and they have to clarify what you mean, then you could probably be more specific.
Negative example: Increase the number of marketing leads generated.
Positive example: Increase the number of marketing leads generated via the company website by 20%.
SMART: Setting measurable objectives
Moving on, it’s also important to set objectives that are measurable. With some marketing goals, this is fairly straightforward. If you want to increase the number of marketing leads generated by 20%, for instance, that’s a measurable goal, and you can easily look at your Google Analytics or customer relationship management (CRM) software to figure out whether you’re on track.
But in some cases, measuring your marketing objective might prove to be more difficult. If your goal is to increase brand awareness by 20%, for instance, how would you go about calculating brand awareness?
There’s no tried-and-tested rule here. Some companies choose to look at how much media coverage they get, and others might look at their Share of Voice (SOV) or the amount of direct traffic that they get on their site.
The bottom line? When you’re gunning for a marketing objective that’s less straightforward to measure (such as brand awareness), it’s important to sit down with your team, and determine your key metrics and KPIs.
SMART: Setting attainable objectives
Say your marketing team generated a total of 20,000 leads via their campaigns and paid ads last year. Now, it doesn’t make sense to tell them that the goal is to generate the same number of leads this year. You already know that your team is capable of doing this, and the goal won’t challenge them.
That said, don’t go to the other extreme, and set a marketing objective that’s unrealistic.
For instance, say you tell your marketing team that the CFO is halving their budget, and they’re expected to 5x their leads with this reduced budget. Obviously, this is pretty unattainable, and it might result in your team getting frustrated or disillusioned.
Bearing this in mind, set your objectives wisely, and don’t expect your team to do the impossible!
SMART: Setting relevant objectives
How do you set relevant objectives for your marketing team? Simple. Instead of diving straight into setting up your objectives, take some time to create your customer profiles first, and consider what your ideal customer looks like.
On a basic level, you’ll want to consider the demographics of your buyer.
- What age are they likely to be?
- Which gender are they likely to be?
- What job title do they hold?
- How familiar are they with the product/service that your company offers?
If you’re in the B2B space, firmographic information (industry, size of company, location, etc.), will come in handy as well.
To unpack this further: say you do some research, and you find that your customers tend to be in their late 40s to 50s. You also learn that they like attending events such as conferences and trade shows, and they’re not active on social media.
Now that you have this information, it’s obvious that you’ll want to steer clear of any social media-related marketing objectives because these aren’t relevant to your target audience.
SMART: Setting time-bound objectives
To help with accountability, your objectives should be time-bound. Basically, you’ll want to impose a deadline on each of your marketing objectives, so your team knows exactly how long they’ll have to achieve said objective.
Negative example: Build backlinks from websites with a minimum of 70 Domain Authority.
Positive example: Build 50 backlinks from websites with a minimum of 70 Domain Authority by the end of Q1.
Coming up with a marketing plan
Now that you know how to set your marketing objectives, let’s discuss how to use these objectives to come up with a marketing plan.
Step 1: Decide which channels you want to use.
Email, social media, or influencer marketing? Facebook ads, Google ads, or LinkedIn ads?
When in doubt, start off with one or two channels that you’re the most confident in, instead of spreading yourself too thin. You can always add more channels to the mix further on.
Step 2: Allocate your budget across those channels.
Crunch the numbers, and figure out how to allocate your marketing budget across the channels you’ve chosen. If you intend to run Google Ads, for example, the Google Ads Keyword Planner comes with a forecasting function you can use to gauge how much you’ll have to spend to hit a specific number of conversions.
Step 3: Plan out major campaigns.
With your budget allocated, the next step is to plan out your major campaigns across the year. If you want to set up campaigns that are relevant to different festivals and public holidays (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.), go ahead and do that.
If you know that your company will be launching a new product line in the middle of the year, start planning your launch promotion as well.
Step 4: Determine key metrics.
Here, think about what metrics you’ll use to assess the success of your campaigns. For digital ads, common measurement metrics include viewability, brand safety, and verification. For PPC ads, common metrics include Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and Click Through Rate (CTR). For growing your newsletter subscribers, tap into your email list building tool to see how many new emails you’ve acquired.
If you’re planning a PR campaign, you might want to look at Share of Voice (SOV) and Earned Media.
Step 5: Execute and measure.
Now, all that’s left for you to do is to execute your campaigns. Make sure you measure your results so that you can fine-tune and optimize your efforts. Then, rinse and repeat.
At the end of the day, if you don’t plan your marketing objectives, you’ll never be able to organize and execute your campaigns to maximize their effectiveness. Let us know in the comments section: have you already determined this year’s marketing objectives? How do you go about planning your objectives?
Max Benz is a writer and marketer at Filestage.
Last modified: October 10th, 2019