Strengthening your marketing plan through clear marketing objectivesSunday, June 13, 2021
AS a marketer your value is linked to your results and in order for your marketing to be meaningful, it must drive key business objectives. Beneath every great marketing plan is a clear set of strategic marketing objectives.
One of the most important requirements for developing your marketing strategy is identifying your objectives. Before you start working on your marketing strategy, you must consider what you want as an end result. Once you identify the end result, you can then move to developing your plan.
As the adage remind us — if you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there! Therefore, it is critical that you take time to figure out what you want to achieve and successfully define objectives with a view to being clear on what success will look like.
Oftentimes marketing execution is prioritised, however by clearly articulating your marketing objectives you will be better able to determine the marketing initiatives required to meet your goal. Without objectives you will have no way of knowing whether your programme is working.
Marketing objectives revolve around a wide range of themes such as increasing sales, building brand awareness, growing market share, increasing social media reach, enhancing customer relationships.
Three useful tips for building your marketing objectives are:
1. Ensure that your objectives meet the SMART (acronym) criteria. This serves as a test to assess the quality of measures you are identifying and will ensure that you are very clear on the strength of the objectives you are developing.
Specific: Objectives are clearly defined and can be easily understood.
Measurable: Objectives must have key performance indicators (KPI) that allow for the measurement of success.
Achievable: Objectives must be attainable and realistic, thus not serving as a set-up for failure.
Relevant: Objectives must be relevant to the marketing programme and there should be a good reason for them.
Time-Bound: Objectives must have a timeline.
Using this principle, your objective may simply be to increase brand awareness by 15 per cent within 2 years, or to increase product sales by 25 per cent by December 2021. You may also want to expand into a new market segment and if you are in the food delivery market, for example, you may want to diversify your offerings to include document delivery.
2. Identify benchmarks with which you want to compare your objectives. This is another important consideration as any goal you set should be compared to a benchmark for your industry or a relevant baseline that has been set. For example, if you are aiming to increase brand awareness, it must be a specific increase over what it was before, and in cases where the brand is new to the market the baseline would be 0 per cent. If no benchmark is identified, then how will you know if there is true success?
3. Be sure to share the objectives with all relevant stakeholders to ensure all parties are aware of what you are trying to achieve and will enable alignment towards the goals set. It is critical for your team (especially the team working on the marketing plan to drive the objectives) to be clear on the objectives that have been identified so they can be clear on what they will need to do to drive the outcomes.
Do not forget that setting objectives is one of the most important steps in building out your marketing strategy. For many, it is after the plan is executed and when success is being measured that it is discovered that the objectives were weak or flawed. At that point, it will be impossible to correct. Take the time to properly set your objectives so you will be working on driving the right outcomes. With this done, your next step is to ensure that you are measuring what you set out to measure and so your focus will be on being clear about your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Nichole Brackett Walters is a certified professional marketer (PCM®) with over 20 years' experience in strategic marketing development and application. Brackett Walters is a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA). Follow her blog at marketingmoves.net or on LinkedIn.
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