I’ve seen it in large companies, and I’ve seen it in one-person operations: A marketing plan with no clear direction affects all levels of business in many different industries. There are few things in this world that can be accomplished successfully without planning. Falling in love and chasing your dreams would be a couple that fall into that category. For most other things, though, having goals and objectives laid out beforehand will save you a lot of wasted time and money. The following suggestions may help you get your personal or organizational marketing goals and objectives in line.
Be Specific in Setting your Marketing Goals
There are two negative consequences of not setting specific objectives when it comes to marketing. The first is that when things get confusing, hard or just tiring, it’s easier to quit because there was no clear goal in the first place. The second is that if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll probably end up someplace else. That second negative consequence may not turn out negatively, but when you are spending your company’s money on marketing plans that don’t pan out, management tends to get pretty upset when they learn there was no real objective in the first place, or any plan to recoup an investment. So, when you set your goals, make sure you are as specific as possible. Here are a few tips:
- Use hard data whenever you can: This could be from your website, from market research, from information in company databases or whatever. Set your goals based on hard numbers wherever possible, and not on gut feelings (although there is something to be said for intuition in some cases).
- Write down your objectives: When you do this, it forces you to be specific. It’s much easier to think in your head, “Ahhh, I want to create awareness of our brand,” but when you write it down you start thinking, “Well, if I’m gonna check that off, I need it to be more specific.” You could go one step further by getting input for your objectives, typing them up and posting them where you and your team can see them all the time.
- Utilize S.M.A.R.T. goals: this is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-driven and Time-bound. Ideally, all your goals should be modeled in this way, but that isn’t always possible. For instance, you may really have a broad goal to build awareness of your brand; however, that isn’t always completely measurable. At any rate, you should strive to meet these criteria in all of your objectives for your marketing plans.
Get Organized with Project Management
One of the largest enemies to success is a lack of organization for broad goals and large tasks. If you have any experience working in a large organization, maybe you have been in a meeting where there are a lot of high-minded ideas. Perhaps even in the weeks after the meeting, some things get done, but eventually sight of overall goals gets lost. A clear strategy for managing a project not only moves an overall task along, but it holds members of the project accountable for their individual responsibilities. Here are some basic themes that you can follow:
- Identify your broad marketing goals: Examples might be launching a campaign, determining ROI, defining a value proposition or all of these things combined. What are the large tasks that you want to accomplish?
- Break large tasks up into smaller, manageable tasks: If someone told you to build a house in a day, you probably wouldn’t even try. You might feel the same way about some of the goals you thought about above. It’s ok — it’s natural to feel that way. When broken up into many small tasks, however, building a house can be completed rather quickly over a span of time. Approach your broad goals in the same way. Break up large tasks into small tasks and identify which ones you should be working on first based on importance or another task’s dependence on their completion.
- Assign tasks to people: Undoubtedly, you have at least one or two or maybe more people working in your marketing department. Assign tasks to them based on the skills they have and those required of the tasks. Have team members and project managers estimate how much time each task might take, and assign enough tasks to an individual or group to fill a work week or period of time during the week they will have available to work on tasks.
- Get visual: Create a visual representation of all the things outlined above. Write down tasks on note cards and create a calendar with all team members’ allotted work week time on it. Place the notecards on specific days when they are estimated to be finished. This way, everyone can see what everyone else is working on, and it also gives people a sense of their progress and what they have to do.
- Meet regularly: Another obstacle in the way of completing broader goals is lack of feedback and support. Team leaders and managers cannot give adequate support if they don’t know what is going on, and not all employees feel comfortable tracking down superiors when they are needed for whatever reason. Have weekly or bi monthly meetings to allow everyone to show what they have been working on in the previous time period. This gives people a chance to speak about any road blocks they have encountered, and it allows project managers to broadcast overall progress of broader goals. Another function of regular meetings is that problems can be brought to light in a timely manner instead of when it is inconvenient.
In case you haven’t noticed, these are all themes related to agile project management. There are tons of literature on the topic, and I have seen it work wonders for businesses tackling large projects or trying to implement broad goals with long timelines. If you are interested in more information on management practices like these, this page has tons of great resources on it.
How do you go about setting and meeting marketing goals and objectives in your organization? Do you have any additional tips that others might find helpful? Let us know what you think by sending us a message or commenting below.