S.M.A.R.T marketing objectives can both define and encourage your success.
Before you can target success, you need to first know what you’re aiming to achieve. Marketing objectives are a fundamental part of every company’s marketing plan that keeps you moving on the right track.
Individuals who set specific, challenging goals end up performing better 90% of the time. The same can go for businesses. When you do away with vagueness and make yourself accountable with clear marketing objectives, you can start prioritizing the actions that will really make a difference.
We’ll guide you through the definition of a marketing objective, why marketing objectives matter, and how to set your own.
What are marketing objectives?
Marketing objectives are a set of measurable goals that outline what the end results of your marketing strategy should be. Their main purpose is to guide your marketing efforts toward set milestones. The most effective marketing objectives should also align with your business plan and complement your overarching business goals.
When the terms “marketing objective” and “marketing goal” are used together, the biggest difference is the level of detail used for each one. Marketing goals tend to be high-level, offering a broad view of what a business hopes to achieve. Objectives are typically S.M.A.R.T. goals, meaning that they’re specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
If your marketing goal is simply to increase brand awareness, your objective should give some detail about how you’re going to do so.
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Why are marketing objectives important?
In a survey of over 3,000 marketers, results showed that goal-setters were 376% more likely to see successful outcomes. When you set marketing objectives, you send your business in the right direction and can consistently make decisions based on your company’s best interest.
Smart marketing objectives can also help you build your organization’s efficiency. With your employees all aligned behind the same, specific goals, your team will function like a complete unit organized toward a clear direction.
Objectives are also beneficial because they add a greater level of accountability for your marketing team. Because this type of goal is highly measurable, it naturally helps you produce key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell if you’re working effectively or if changes need to be made.
Examples of marketing objectives
Now that you understand what a marketing objective is meant to do, you may be wondering what an effective one actually looks like. Objectives can take many forms, aiming to impact anything from lead generation to conversion rates, but they should always check off each of the five S.M.A.R.T. guidelines.
Here are a few effective examples of marketing objectives to help you start brainstorming:
- To increase sales by 10% in one year by building relationships with current and new customers on social media
- To attain 3,000 pre-orders by our new product’s launch date using a three-month email marketing campaign
- To increase our customer acquisition rate by 5% in four months by adding a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to our content marketing efforts
- To decrease our customer turnover rate by 10% in six months by creating a loyalty program for our existing customer base
- To increase market share by 15% in 18 months by investing in quarterly market research about our target audience
A good rule of thumb is to have 2-3 marketing objectives for your company at any given time. This is enough to get your business rolling at a good pace but not too much to keep track of.
How to set marketing objectives
With the examples above serving as inspiration, you can start to build your own set of 2-3 results-producing objectives for your business. In this section, we’ll guide you through the questions you can ask yourself to ensure you’re creating marketing objectives that actually meet the S.M.A.R.T. criteria.
In order for your marketing objectives to be specific, it needs to clearly define what you’re setting out to do. As you’re brainstorming, ask yourself:
- What exactly do you want to achieve?
- Whose actions or behaviors are you trying to change?
- Are any stakeholders involved?
- Will your objective require digital marketing tactics or offline marketing techniques?
Once the foundation of your marketing objective becomes clear, you want to make sure you can track your progress. The success of a measurable objective can be supported by quantitative data, so you never have to second guess whether or not you’re on the right track. Here are some questions you can ask to set measurable marketing objectives:
- How do you know if you’ve completed your objective?
- What benchmarks do you need to meet to achieve your objective or your broader business goals?
- Are you currently tracking any KPIs that could help you measure your progress?
- Do you need to start tracking a new KPI to make your measurements accurate?
Just because you’d like to increase your profit margin by 3,000% in the course of one month doesn’t mean it should be your objective. Your marketing objective must be attainable, which means it must be feasible to achieve — even if you’re trying to challenge yourself. This is because a realistic objective will help you and your team members envision the path you need to take, whereas an idealistic one will end up hindering your commitment and accountability. To keep your marketing objectives attainable, ask:
- What resources do you need to achieve your objective?
- Do you have any budget or time constraints to work around?
- Do you have the proper equipment or software to reach your objective?
- Do your employees have enough training or experience to help you accomplish your objective?
Most objectives take at least a month to achieve, which means you’ll be putting in a significant amount of resources toward it. A strong marketing objective must be worth this effort. Otherwise, you may mistakenly set goals that end up pushing you backward instead of forward. Here are questions you can ask yourself to keep your objectives relevant:
- Does this marketing objective contribute to your overall business objectives?
- Will this objective help your business grow?
- Do you need to accomplish another large milestone before this one is possible?
- Can your resources be better used elsewhere?
Lastly, your marketing objectives should be tied to a specific time frame. Setting a deadline is the best way to keep yourself accountable and on track, as it puts a greater sense of urgency behind your goals. To set time-bound objectives, ask:
- Given the current status of your KPIs and resources, how long would it take you to achieve this objective?
- How fast could you achieve your objective if it were prioritized?
- Are there any business events or holidays that may slow you down?
Pave your path toward growth
Whether you’re aiming to convert new customers from your target market or hoping to increase customer loyalty, marketing objectives can help you pave a clear path forward. With just two or three objectives in place, your marketing team will have better guidance for their everyday decision-making, so they can help you reach major milestones faster. As a result, you may find yourself completing your overarching business goals faster, too.
When you break down your marketing efforts, going beyond your set of objectives, you can amplify your results even more. Our marketing plan template will help you flesh out your strategy so you can quickly start implementing it in your organization.