The SMART goals methodology is a commonly utilized tool to set effective goals for marketing. It allows marketers to set up actionable objectives in line with the organizational goals, as well as aligning them to the personal and professional development of an individual.
As we've previously covered, the SMART goal acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. The SMART methodology allows individuals to set objectives for achieving individual success and organizational growth.
Setting effective SMART goals for marketing starts with the larger, long-term strategic goals. What is the main objective for your business? Is it customer acquisition, conversion or retention? How can marketing support these broader organizational objectives? How can you align your Sales & Marketing strategy? Or think even bigger: how can the marketing department contribute to the overall business mission?
Do you need to increase brand awareness, leads or sales? It's key to identify the long-term strategic objectives so that you can set specific, relevant goals for the tactics you are using.
Setting up SMART goals for marketing is also essential for your team to help them understand how they can contribute to the overall organizational performance.
In order to be able to set SMART goals you should be asking yourself these questions:
Specific - What exactly do I want to achieve?
Measurable – How will I know when I’ve reached my goal?
Achievable – How can I achieve this goal? How realistic is this goal?
Relevant – Why is this goal worthwhile? How does it align to the organizational goals?
Timely – When do I want to achieve this goal?
With that in mind, setting a goal to increase the number of paying customers is not going to help you get anywhere. You need to define not only what you want to achieve but also how are you going to get there.
To be able to see the impact of your strategy and tactics you need to choose the right metrics to measure. There are a myriad of tools that will help you to do so if you feel uncertain where to start.
Research shows that most effective goals are those that are challenging but achievable. Don't set goals you know you won't be able to reach before you start. Try to avoid setting goals you think your supervisor wants to hear. Set marketing goals that are in line with what your team wants to achieve but which are still realistic for you.
When setting marketing objectives make sure they are aligned to the company objectives as well as the strategy for your department. Are you focusing on digital marketing or events marketing? Which tactics support the strategy?
Last but not least, setting a realistic deadline for your goal is key to actually achieving it. It will also enable you to track your progress and reflect on the process once you reach your goals.
Your marketing objective should be your guide to make strategic decisions that will help you to reach higher. Refer back to it when you are questioning what your next steps should be. So, let’s assume the organizational objective is to grow the overall business revenue. The organizational goal can be:
Increase the business revenue in the UK by 50% by April 2021.
You should set up a marketing objective directly aligned to the organizational goal such as:
Increase the online business revenue in the UK by 25% by April 2021.
Therefore, you need to acquire new customers. In line with that, your marketing strategy objective can be:
Grow the small business customer segment by 20% in 2021 utilizing the new digital channels in the organization.
Of course, you can choose a different strategy to increase the organizational revenue such as increasing profitability, changing the pricing strategy or increasing customer lifetime value, amongst others. This example is just illustrative to help you understand the SMART goal methodology. You can find more examples here.
Once you have established your long-term marketing objective you need to develop a number of objectives relevant to each of the tactics that will support it. Think about the specific tactics and activities you use. These may include SEO, email marketing, social media, content marketing, PPC or traditional tactics such as direct mail.
Need more inspiration for your marketing goals? You can find a few examples for some of the most commonly used digital marketing tactics:
PeopleGoal allows you to set organizational, departmental, team and individual goals that can help you to define your marketing strategy and objectives. Furthermore, you can easily share your objectives with your team and hold the employees accountable for their responsibilities.
Yet, potentially the most important part of setting up SMART goals for Marketing is to review them, analyze the performance and optimize for the future. Therefore, make sure to revisit them and you'll continue to improve.
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