What’s Your Definition of a Marketing Goal?

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I once saw an interesting definition of the word ‘goal’. It was defined as the destination of a journey. That definition applies very much to marketing. The journey between the start of your marketing efforts and your destination—your company’s overall goal of revenue growth—can seem like a very long one. Thankfully, the journey can be broken down into sections.

Instead of focusing solely on the company’s overall goal, you can create mile-markers that indicate your progress along the way. Smaller journeys, if you will. These smaller journeys are your marketing goals. Goal-setting marketers are 376% more likely to report success.

All I’ve said so far may seem like common knowledge. Set marketing goals to reach your company’s overall goal. You know this already, right? But many tend to get lost on their journey in defining what a good marketing goal is. “Our goal is to generate x number of leads.” Alright. But what are you doing to tie those leads to your overall goal? “Our goal is to get our brand in front of everyone online.” Okay. But your brand doesn’t apply to everyone online, which will result in a percentage of wasted effort. If your marketing goal isn’t propelling you forward, it isn’t a strong goal. You need to set goals that effectively move you toward your business’s main objective.

So let’s take a look at some of the most important attributes of effective goals:

  • Clarity
  • Attainability
  • Measurability

Clarity

 
ClarityEveryone for the most part knows their business’s overall goal. In your case, it’s grow revenue by selling more equipment, products, services, etc. It’s easy to take that and call it your marketing goal. But that will put you in a rut simply because it doesn’t tell you exactly what you need to do. How can marketing grow revenue? You may not directly make sales, but you do play a huge part in setting up a sale. So what are the marketing tasks that directly affect sales? Set goals associated with those tasks that you can tie directly to revenue.

For instance, in an earlier example, I mentioned having a goal of generating x number of leads. Generating leads is one of the main ways marketing affect sales, but simply producing leads doesn’t ensure a sale. What type of leads are you generating? Are they qualified? Are they closable? A stronger goal here would be to close 10% of the leads you generate. Since you don’t directly close leads, how can you ensure this? By generating enough qualified leads to have at least 10% close.

This goes for more than lead generation. For example, consider brand awareness. You can set the goal of “increase brand awareness,” but this leads to the question of “how will you increase brand awareness?” Set your goals around the how i.e. increase website traffic or video views, etc.

Attainability

 
When setting your goals, it’s important to know your market. How many potential accounts are in your area of responsibility? How much of the market share do your control? These are the kinds of questions that determine a reasonable goal. Even with smaller goals such as website traffic, you need to know the search volume of the keywords that bring users to your website. Knowing your market is key. Seasonality, buying cycles, audience sizes, and economic outlook are all key factors.

Another key component is past performance. If your emails generally see a 10% open rate, it’s unlikely that you will bump that up to 50%. It’s important to create a baseline for past campaign performance to set an attainable goal in the future.

Measurability

 
MeasurabilityYou need to be able to measure your goal accurately. This is where metrics come in. You may be tempted to look at every metric your campaign is creating when in actuality, the most important metrics are the ones that align with your goals. The key to finding the right metrics to focus on is to consider these three things:

     
     

  • Does the metric correlate with your overall goal?
  • What metric most clearly indicates movement toward (or away from) your goals?
  • Is the metric in your control?

So let’s take a close look at an example of a strong marketing metric:

Goal

Close 10% of the leads you generate.

Metric

Percentage of leads closed.

Does the metric correlate with your overall goal?

Yes, because closed leads means revenue growth.

Does this metric most clearly indicate movement toward (or away from) your goals?

Yes, because a shift in the percentage tells you where you are, relative to your goal.

Is the metric in your control (to some extent)?

It is, because you can work to generate enough quality leads to hit your goal.

The journey toward reaching the overall goal of your company—revenue growth—isn’t as direct for marketers as it may be for other teams within the business, e.g. sales team. Your marketing goals can act as mile-markers along the way, but they need to be strong and effective to steer you in the right direction.

Clarity within your goals lays out the part you play; attainability allows you to create reachable goals; and measurability tells you how close or how far away you are from the overall goal. Tying these three together is the key to creating success for your business.
 

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