When you want to find the quickest route to your destination you put a destination into Google Maps. We often use this analogy when talking to businesses about their marketing strategy.
If you have no idea of where you are going, how can we figure out the best way for you to get there? This doesn’t always have to be the quickest route, it could be the route without tolls, or it could be a route via another destination. Essentially, having a destination set means that you are on your way somewhere. In business, this can mean having a five year plan, or a view to change the world in some way. How do you know if you’re on your way to reach your destination? This is where objectives and SMART goals come in.
You may remember SMART goals from school or, if like me, it’s been a long time since you’ve been at school, you may have heard them in a business sense before. So, what are SMART goals? SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Specific means that it is focused on exactly what you want to achieve. Measurable means you can measure it with metrics or criteria such as marketing KPIs. Attainable means that it is realistic for you and your team to achieve. Relevant means that it means something for you and your business. Finally, timely means that you have an expected time by which you will complete the goal.
Knowing your marketing objectives, say to increase the number of successful purpose-driven businesses (this is ours) or to create a national community of nice people, then attributing a SMART goal to measure your success in reaching your objective, increases your chance of reaching it. Those that invest time in setting their goals also demonstrate persistence, creativity and risk-taking in their achievement of those goals. You want to end the financial year closer to your destination - your business objectives. Make sure you have set some SMART goals to help you reach your objective.
Step 1 – Understand your Objectives (business and marketing, with marketing aligning to your business objectives)
What are you trying to achieve? What are you trying to change? What is it you do?
Set your objectives for the business (we have an overarching vision – the change we want to see – and 16 main business objectives). We then create marketing objectives to meet those business objectives.
Step 2 – Understand how you can measure that success by setting SMART marketing goals
These will depend on your business and it’s objectives; our goal might be to help the success of one social enterprise per month for instance (to help reach our objective of a world of purpose-driven business). We then want to make sure that our goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. To know that you have a good SMART goal is when there is only one way for you to measure its success.
Here are a couple of SMART marketing goal examples:
Goal 1: Increase the number of returning visitors to our website by 50% in six months (we can only measure that by the number of returning visitors)
Goal 2: Increase the sales of product X by 30% by the end of May (we can only measure that by the number of sales of product X)
Goal 3: Increase awareness of product Y online to encourage 30% more online purchases over the next quarter (we can only measure that by the number of online purchases)
Goal 4: Add 1500 new subscribers to the newsletter in twelve months (we can only measure that by the number of new subscribers)
Goal 5: Increase brand loyalty on social media by encouraging fans to give at least 1 message of positive feedback per day (we can only measure that by the number of positive feedback per day)
Step 3 – Design the tactics you are going to use to reach your goals
What will you do to reach your goals? Will you advertise your company, create a customer experience, or come up with an innovative solution? This is where smart marketing comes in. Understanding your target audience/customers/users in detail will help you decide which is the best channel for you to engage with them, and how they like to be engaged with. Create a plan based on your understanding and get everything ready to execute it (the creative or copy or landing page for example).
Step 4 – Execute your campaign
Once you know your goal, how you will measure your success, and how you will reach that goal, it's time to execute your campaign. Ensure you keep things organised and label everything with your campaign name. Ensure you are tracking your campaign wherever possible, in your emails, in your ads, or with a system such as HubSpot. Then click the go live button!
Step 5 – Measure and Analyse
There is no silver bullet in marketing (and be careful of those that promise it) so our next step is to watch what happens and analyse the data. For me, this is the fun part, but I am a bit of a nerd! The data that we collect gives us real insights into what engages our customers and what might not. We collect this data and use it to further strengthen our customer personas and to better personalise our customer experiences. This data also serves as an understanding of whether we're on our way to meeting our SMART goal.
Step 6 - Refine
Marketing isn't a static process. We are constantly refining our offering communications with our customers to ensure we are providing real value. Based on our insights from our analysis, we may tweak our campaign to better resonate with our customers. We may focus on doing more of what works and doing less or stopping what doesn't work. This is a constant process on our path towards our goals. We may also refine our SMART goals if necessary and review our overall marketing strategy to make sure we're always on the road to our destination.
Marketing has evolved and places more demands on businesses, business owners or marketing managers to constantly create value for their customers. If you need a helping hand, we've developed a unique subscription model where you pay a monthly fee to access a team of digital and creative professionals who can work on your business for the fraction of the cost of hiring additional staff. We'd love to chat to you about how we can help your business. Give us a call today on 1300 171 363 or Contact Us Here.
If you want an easy template to help you set your own SMART goals, we've developed one just for you. Click on the link below to get the template.
by Samantha Hurley
Written by Samantha Hurley
Sam co-founded Marketing Entourage after spending 18 years in senior sales & marketing positions for companies such as Lonely Planet and The Press Association in Melbourne, New York and London. Sam started out in a design agency and used design thinking to help develop a product that went on to revolutionise the media industry in 2002. Sam also teaches Digital Marketing and Data Driven Marketing at General Assembly. The daughter of an engineer and a designer, she learned to code and design at a young age. She feels she has the mind of a scientist and the heart of an artist and likes to sit in the space where creativity, technology and business converge.