Defining the right objectives for your marketing

Stepping stonesThis morning we attended a session of a great business gathering we regularly frequent and the topic of objective-setting came up. The discussion prompted much food for thought and echoed a number of conversations we’ve had recently with clients about specific projects. Many of these stemmed from the need to measure the effectiveness of marketing projects.

 

SMART still does the trick

Without very clear objectives in the first place, it will always be hard to judge the success of a campaign. But what do we mean by clear objectives? Well the well-known acronym SMART still, in our mind, offers a good steer. If you want to create a project where the outcomes can be easily measured it helps if your objective is:

Specific – focused on a tangible output/ end result
Measurable – can be easily measured
Action-focused – focused on tangible inputs
Realistic – factors in the resources (time, money, people, skills) you can access
Timed – takes place within a given timeframe

 

Goals vs objectives

We’ve seen a lot of marketing campaigns built on broad aims or general goals – eg raise awareness of product X amongst the over 55 market. An aim or goal is great to work towards but you then need to define the stepping stones that will get you there. These stepping stones should be your objectives.

 

Think stepping stones

Just think of a stepping stone – it has a defined shape, weight and feel to it. It’s a tangible thing that you step on to move in a specific direction. Using a stepping stone is always easy to measure – either you do step on it or you don’t.

The best objectives aren’t necessarily the ones that try and bring about a seismic change as they’re often hard to accomplish. The ones which instead are more focused and which point to smaller more manageable steps often have a greater chance of being achieved – eg devise a direct mail campaign that generates Y number of enquiries from Z target market list for product X in the first 3 months.

 

Don’t lose sight of the why

Another point from this morning’s discussion was not to lose sight (or fail to communicate) the why of an objective. People are more likely to support or help to achieve a specific target if they understand what the purpose of it will be and understand the tangible change or improvement or outcome it will bring.