Isn’t it always typical to have a brainwave on some idle morning? All of a sudden a brilliant idea for a new marketing ploy or a shiny new advertising campaign comes crashing in, prompting you to rush for the closest piece of paper to scrawl it down?
Of course, a constant stream of new thoughts is the fuel for small business. However, these new ideas are also one of the key barriers that keep you from achieving your ‘bigger picture’ goals.
It’s all in the planning, the logical planning that is. To really be successful in achieving your business goals, it’s essential to have a focused marketing plan with clearly defined marketing goals and objectives. Typically, goal setting is used across all aspects of the business, from operations and management to business development and HR. However, for a marketing plan, you need to adopt and extend upon the business goals, as these will provide you with the direction on how your marketing goals should take shape.
To begin with, it is critical to ensure your marketing goals support your business goals. The best place to begin is to take a look back at your business’ strategic documents. These include:
- Mission statements
- Financial goals
- Long-term business goals
- Short-term business goals
Your goals should be general statements about the direction you want to take your business in. These general statements should be based on two things – either improving your weaknesses or building upon your strengths.
For example, these goals might be to increase sales, grow market share or reach a new customer base. Essentially, you need to establish strong goals like this and then support them with logical objectives to help achieve your business outcomes.
Defining your Objectives
Your marketing objectives should clearly define what you want to accomplish with your marketing activities. When establishing effective marketing objectives, it’s important that they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time specific. This is considered the ‘SMART’ approach and enables you to place hard numbers and milestones against your objectives. This makes it easier and simpler to measure the success and streamline your thoughts.
Next, it’s time to make sure your objectives articulate the importance of your marketing. This is when you can show off to your peers how the organisation will benefit. Objectives offer benchmarks to measure progress and help determine future marketing efforts. Just make sure you’re ‘SMART’ about it!
- Specific – are your objectives precise enough to tell us exactly what you want to achieve?
- Measurable – are your objectives quantified? Do you have a number to work towards? For example, increase sales by 20% or increase average spend to $70
- Achievable – are your objectives reasonable? Can you and your team honestly achieve them?
- Realistic – do you have the right resources or correct facilities to actually achieve the objectives?
- Time Specific – when are you going to achieve these by? Set a timeframe for when each objective can be completed.
Mapping your goals and objectives to your business goals
A simple way to ensure your marketing goals and objectives line up with your business goals is to use a simple matrix. This clearly and visually lays your roadmap to achieving your business goals. For example, a local vet surgery wants to drive brand awareness, increase sales and grow market share so their objectives would be set out accordingly:
|Business Goals||Marketing Goals||Marketing Objectives|
|Introduce new range of services||Drive brand awareness||Increase brand awareness of new product offering by 20% by 30th June|
|Increase sales||Drive new enquiries||Increase new enquiries by 15% by 30th June with launch of new website|
|Increase market share||Increase customer retention||Increase repeat purchase of existing customers by 30% by 31st July with a loyalty program|
No matter what size the company, all businesses need to have clear marketing goals and objectives to ensure its success. A well thought out plan not only helps focus your goals, it can be the best tool to reign in, simplify and structure the hundreds of ideas that race through your mind. Defining SMART objectives allows you to define attainable and timely marketing activities that you can track and measure.