By: First Union | Date:
Is It Time to Reevaluate Your Marketing Objectives?
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Marketing can mean a lot of things to your business. As the business owner, you probably have a hand in certain aspects of your company's marketing. Perhaps you have a team dedicated to getting initiatives off the ground. Maybe you even outsource some of your marketing to specializing firms. It is important to understand exactly where your marketing dollars are being spent and to what end. In other words, however, your company handles its marketing, is it working? Are you getting the most bang for your marketing buck? If not, or if you are unsure, then perhaps it's time to change course in terms of those marketing objectives.
The key is to have a plan in place moving forward. Randomly approaching marketing efforts simply aren't going to get it done. In this article, we examine the concept of marketing objectives and see if it's time for you to implement a different strategy.
Understanding Marketing Objectives
A marketing objective, unlike a marketing goal, is an indicator of how your marketing is doing. You set your marketing goals first and then establish the marketing objectives which serve as milestones that once achieved, demonstrate your success in moving toward your goals. It is more specific and more definitive than a marketing goal. So, for example, your marketing goal might be something like - generate more leads, your marketing objective, in turn, maybe something like, collect 500 new email subscribers within the next week. Simply put, your marketing objective sets out the terms for success concerning the marketing goals.
Why Set Marketing Objectives?
Why set such objectives in the first place? There are a few critical reasons that your company should be doing this.
- Your marketing objectives lay out the path that you need to follow to realize those goals.
- The objectives help you narrow down the playing field, so for instance, which channels you'll use, which tactics will work best.
- The objectives prevent you from following dead-end paths that prove fruitless and often, expensive.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. Marketing Objectives
When you do sit down with your team to create your marketing objectives, you want to take a SMART approach. What does this mean? SMART objectives just make it so that the objectives you do end up setting are clear, concise and demonstrate exactly what needs to get done to achieve success in terms of a particular milestone.
SMART is broken down as follows:
Specific - Clarity and conciseness count. Specificity in objective setting certainly counts. It's far easier to reach a goal if the terms of it are spelled out. For example, rather than state something, like we want to increase sales, set a number, set a time to achieve the said number. Throwing out a blanket and rather a generic statement will do nothing for your company. Employees are more motivated when they have something concrete toward which they're working. Increase sales are fine, but by how much and during what sort of time frame.
Measurable - This takes us back to the goal versus objectives scenario. Goals can be a bit vaguer. Objectives are the clearly defined benchmarks that put you on the path toward success. To that end, they must be measurable. Another example: Let's say you want to increase your brand awareness. This isn't necessarily tangible; thus, how can it be measured?
You may have thousands of social media followers or people who go to your landing page and become aware of your brand that way. Maybe you have followers who in passing pay attention but then immediately forget about your company. To increase brand awareness and do so effectively, you want to set a measurable objective here. Such an objective could be something along the lines of increase our Twitter followers by fifty percent. Or, boost FB likes to our weekly posts by twenty-five percent. Have a measurable number attached to your objective.
Achievable - You want to be ambitious with your goals and objectives certainly, but going over the top is only going to hinder your efforts. If you're establishing objectives that your team just cannot meet, what do you think that is going to do for morale?
Setting any unreachable goals can only be disastrous in the end. So keep this in mind as you approach your marketing objectives. When outlining objectives that are challenging but achievable, you give employees something real to work toward. And when they do reach that milestone, the resulting feeling of success is that much sweeter, not to mention a great motivator for moving further forward.
Relevant - By relevant we mean that the objectives you determine will lead to the type of success that makes sense for your small business.
For example, you can establish that the objective is to increase FB followers within the next month by fifty percent; however, you want to show that by doing this you are gaining something of value specific to your company, be it brand awareness or increased sales revenue. Just saying you are striving for more followers is fine, but there has to be more to it. How does it impact your company? What do you gain by it? Make it mean something.
Time-Bound - Details matter. And perhaps one of the most important is that of time. Setting objectives is important but you need to do so within a specified time frame, otherwise, it can turn into an endless cycle of irrelevance.
Also, without putting a cap on an objective by way of a period, you're giving that objective less urgency. Given limitless amounts of time, practically anything can be achieved. But saying instead that we have a month or week, for example, helps propel your team into action. They are overall more productive and more focused on attaining that next milestone.
Yes, just about every small business out there has some sort of marketing platform in place—but is it the right one? Is it getting results? Is it increasing revenue? These are crucial questions that you need to ask and evaluate your company based on those answers. Then go back and revisit your goals and also those marketing objectives—how might you re-strategize and thus make them more meaningful for your business…