Marketing Objectives: Why They’re Important and How to Align Them With Company Goals

 

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When striking out on an exciting road trip across the country, you always make sure to have a road map (or Google Maps) to make sure you are heading in the right direction. The same goes for developing a marketing plan. Before creating an effective plan, a company must first set clear and defined objectives to help keep the plan on track.

What are Objectives?

Objectives are clearly defined goals that a company seeks to achieve through its marketing plan.

Why They Matter?

Objectives are critical to keeping your marketing plan on track. They inform the key stakeholders of the plan and what is expected. Objectives can help keep the team motivated and on track as it gives everyone a specific goal to be working towards. It also helps the team utilize resources more efficiently by developing strategies and tactics that are aligned with the objectives (Chi, 2019).

SMART Objectives

No matter what the objectives are, they should follow the SMART guidelines.

S – Specific. The objective should include specific details about what is involved in the goal. Details could consist of a particular product, channel, market, metric, segment, etc.

M – Measurable. The objective should be relatively easy to measure. If you can’t measure the outcome, how will you know you’ve achieved the end goal?

A – Attainable. Your objective needs to be realistic. If it’s not feasible, it won’t have the same motivating and guiding effect.

R – Relevant. The objective should align with the company’s overall goals, mission, and values.

T – Time-bound. All objectives should include an expected timeframe. This helps keep team members motivated and determines an end date to evaluate achievement (Chi, 2019).

How to Align Objectives with the Company

To create objectives that align with the company, it’s important to consider the company’s SWOT and situational analysis. Objectives must complement a business’s strengths, needs, mission, values, and overarching goals. Considering these aspects will help to shape realistic objectives that complement the higher goals of the organization (Ranasinghe, 2012).

There are several types of objectives that a company may select based on their particular needs and goals.

  • Sales Objectives – Include goals related to increasing sales of a product or service. For example – Increase sales of dog grooming service by 15% by the end of Q4.
  • Awareness Objectives – Include goals related to generating interest in the brand or a particular good or service. For example – Generate 80% awareness of Stacy’s Car Wash by the end of the year.
  • Industry Objectives – Include goals related to capturing market share or establishing a presence within the industry. For example – Increase market share by 10% by Q2.
  • Brand Management Objectives – Include shaping or establishing a brand’s identity or perception within the public space. For example – Increase positive mentions of the brand on social media by 15% by the end of the next quarter.
  • Conversion Objectives – Includes goals related to customers taking a desired action. For example – Increase click-throughs to the website landing page by 20% by the end of the year (Kaho, 2019).

Ethical & Legal Considerations

No matter what objectives are selected, it’s critical that a company maintain legal and ethical standards when creating objectives and selecting marketing strategies. Safety should always be addressed. Objectives should support discussing any possible dangers or hazards of a good or service and how to reduce them. Likewise, Deception needs to be avoided. This includes false statements, exaggerated claims, or inflated pricing. Further, special care should be taken when advertising to childrenPrivacy should also always be considered. If marketing activities include collecting customer information, special care needs to be maintained in asking for consent and protecting sensitive information (Markgraf, n.d.).

Objectives are critical for guiding a company to an effective marketing plan. When creating objectives, follow the SMART guidelines, consider the company’s strengths, mission, values, and overarching goals, and follow all legal and ethical guidelines. Following these best practices will ensure your objectives complement the company and help to achieve the larger business goals.

Do you create SMART objectives?

 

 

 

References

Chi, Clifford. (2019). How to set & achieve marketing objectives in 2019. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/marketing-objectives

Kaho, M. (2019). Examples of marketing objectives. Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/examples-marketing-objectives-20231.html

Markgraf, B. (n.d.). Ethical marketing strategy. Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/ethical-marketing-strategy-61404.html

Ranasinghe, M. (2012). How to develop marketing objectives. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/maxwellranasinghe/how-to-develop-marketing-objectives

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Market Segmentation: Defining Your Target Market & Tools To Help

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One important decision that marketers must face is determining who they are going to direct their messaging to. Segmentation is a great way to narrow in on a target audience and define the right group of individuals.

What is Segmentation?

Segmentation focuses on breaking large audiences into smaller, more defined groups. By doing so, a business can better craft their marketing strategies to suit this specific group’s needs. Segmentation results in more efficient use of marketing resources and a more impactful message. A company is able to make their message more appealing, relatable, and meaningful when they know who exactly they are appealing to. Further, they aren’t wasting resources by serving their message to an irrelevant audience (Kokemuller, n.d.).

An audience can be segmented by three main differentiating factors.

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Geographics

Demographics include age and lifecycle, gender, generation, income level, education, and family life stage. Demographics group individuals by factors that can determine their specific wants and needs. It is also primarily based on statistical data (Eaton, 2018).

Psychographics include individual’s habits (including spending), hobbies, values, goals and aspirations, and personality traits. Psychographics help businesses gain more insight into their customers to better understand their behavior and needs. You can gather this data by analyzing your existing customers, your competitor’s customers, or website analytics (Meredith, 2013).

Geographics define an audience by a geographic group. These groups can be nations, regions, countries, states, cities, neighborhoods, or zipcodes. Geographic segmentation helps businesses serve their messaging to areas with a higher concentration of their defined audience (Eaton, 2018).

Tools to Define Target Market

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Ok, so now you know what segmentation is and why it matters, but how do you go about narrowing your audience?

Fortunately, there are tools available to help you define your target audience.

The first one is Claritas PRIZM Premier. This tool “combines demographic, consumer behavior, and geographic data to help marketers find and engage their customers and prospects” (Claritas, n.d., para 1). PRIZM Premier includes 68 distinct segments with different needs, behaviors, and lifestyles. This tool allows the user to search for segments based on age, income level, urbanization, life stage, and household composition. You can even use the Zip Code Look-Up to find detailed information about consumers in a particular geographic area (Claritas, n.d.).

Gathering more detailed insights about your target audience will help your company craft more detailed ads that will better appeal to your ideal customer. The information obtained from Claritas can be incorporated into your marketing plan to create a campaign with convincing messaging, that is served on the proper media channels, and is focused in the right geographic area.

The next tool is VALS Framework. This tool segments groups based on their primary motivations and resources. Groups are given a questionnaire and are then categorized into eight segments based on their answers (SRICBI, 2006).

Primary motivations provide insights into why consumers buy the products, experiences, and services they do. Motivations include ideals, achievements, and self-expression. This information can help businesses determine what motivates consumers to act (SRICBI, 2006).

Resources give insights into individuals’ urge to consume goods and services. This factor focuses more on aspects like innovativeness, impulsiveness, vanity, intellectualism, and self-confidence (SRICBI, 2006).

VALS can be incorporated into a marketing plan to create a more effective strategy. Based on the consumer characteristics, behaviors, and personality traits, a business can determine what motivates their target audience and incorporate that into their strategy.  VALS shows companies why consumers act the way they do. By learning this, a company can craft more appealing ads and messages that better suit their target audience’s needs (SRICBI, 2006).

Targeting too broad of an audience can result in weak messaging and wasted resources. Refining your audience by narrowing the demographic, psychographic, or geographic scope can result in a more effective marketing plan. Claritas PRIZM Premier and VALS Framework are two great resources to help you begin your segmentation.

Have you narrowed down your audience? Do you feel confident about it? If you haven’t, what’s causing your delay?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources

Claritas. (n.d.). PRIZM Premier. Retrieved from https://www.claritas.com/prizmr-premier

Eaton, M. (2018). Segmentation. Retrieved from  https://prezi.com/_tefmqctqvlq/segmentation/

Kokemuller, N. (n.d.). Purpose & Benefits of Segmentation. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/purpose-benefits-segmentation-64166.html

Meredith, A. (2013). How to use psychographics in your marketing: A beginners guide. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/marketing-psychographics

SRI Consulting Business Intelligence. (2006). The VALS Segments. Retrieved from https://www.nr.edu/itp195/classroom/vals-personality-types.pdf

Toyota’s Ethical Issues and the Impact on its Reputation

 

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Toyota’s Ethical Issues & Shattered Trust

On August 28th, 2009, a sunny San Diego day turned tragic when emergency responders received a terrifying call about a Toyota Lexus that was accelerating uncontrollably towards an intersection. All the passengers in the vehicle were killed. Toyota suddenly had a huge issue on its hands (Dietz & Gillespie, 2012).

Consumer trust, in the brand that was known for reliability and quality, was shaken. To make matters worse, the company put off addressing and correcting the issue. Two days after the initial incident, the company issued a statement expressing concern. They promised to investigate the matter, but never commented on possible causes of the accident. Finally, after being aware of the issue for a month, the company issued a recall of 3.8 million vehicles (which took another month to fully set into effect) (Dietz & Gillespie, 2012).

The lack of corrective initiative negatively impacted the brand’s reputation, their customer’s trust, market share, sales, and consumer and investor confidence. Per a Consumer Reports survey, the brand’s reputation for quality fell by 11% following the San Diego incident. Failing to immediately address and fix the issue resulted in a public perception that the company was trying to ignore the problem until they were forced to fix it. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safty Administration fined the company $16.4 million for “failing to react in a timely manner” (Dietz & Gillespie, 2012).

The company maintained denial even after investigations determined that the floor mats were likely involved. Months later, the company admitted that there were issues with the gas pedal. The company issued additional, unrelated recalls, through early 2010 which increased customer confusion and damage to the brand’s reputation (Dietz & Gillespie, 2012).

The incident seemed to initiate further criticism of the brand, its policies, and its customer service. The brand was scrutinized for its aggressive growth strategy, and that customer satisfaction and safety took a backseat (Dietz & Gillespie, 2012).

In an attempt to revive stakeholder trust, the President issued many heartfelt, public apologies. He also wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal acknowledging the company’s failures, discussing his commitment to safety, and addressing how the company was correcting the situation. He apologized to the US Congress in person and explained the company’s new safety system and procedures (Dietz & Gillespie, 2012).

What Toyota Could’ve Done Differently

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Trust is something that must be earned. To build trust, a company must display the ability to reliably perform a task, have genuine motivations, and act with honesty, fairness, integrity, and in the interest of its stakeholders (Dietz, 2012).

This is where Toyota fell short. After they learned about issues with their safety standards, the company still drug their feet in informing the public or issuing recalls. This was not acting with integrity, nor was it in the best interest of the stakeholders. Not only was it a significant safety concern for customers, but the negative impact on the company’s reputation, sales, and market share also affected internal stakeholders, suppliers, retailers, and investors.

The Guardian writer, and co-author of “Building and Restoring Organisational Trust,” Graham Dietz, discusses the importance of action when faced with a crisis. “The depth and rigor of the response is critical at each stage, from the immediate official statements through the investigation into the failure’s causes to the systemic reforms designed to ensure it cannot happen again” (2012, para 9).

There are two approaches a company can take when addressing the issue. The first is what is called “legalistic.” This is where a company tries to reduce its financial risk and negative publicity by suppressing information. This is the route Toyota initially took. This tactic is often met with increased consumer criticism, which was indeed Toyota’s case (Dietz, 2012).

The second method is a “relationship approach.” This approach focuses on taking responsibility and owning up to the company’s failures, even if it means sacrificing financially. This action would have been the better option for Toyota to implement following the San Diego crisis. While immediately issuing a recall and investigation may have required more resources up front, it would have been more beneficial for the company in the long run. Taking this approach would have saved the company a costly fine, eased the loss of sales and market share, and helped to maintain stakeholder’s trust and confidence (Dietz, 2012).

Toyota has long been perceived as a brand associated with quality and reliability. However, failing to address safety concerns negatively impacted the brand’s reputation. Immediately addressing the issue, transparently, would’ve helped ease the impact on the brand’s image. Perhaps this is one area where Toyota shouldn’t have hit the breaks.

What would you have done in this situation? How should Toyota have handled the situation?

Read more about the ethics of marketing.

 

Resources

Dietz, G. (2012). How to rebuild trust in business. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/rebuild-restore-recover-trust-business

Dietz, G. & Gillespie, N. (2012). The recovery of trust: Case studies of organisational failures and trust repair. Retrieved from https://www.ibe.org.uk/userfiles/op_trustcasestudies.pdf

The Importance of Logos and Names in Brand Positioning

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                                                       (Bonigala, n.d.)

What does a yellow M make you think of? What about a black Swoosh? How about a blue bird? Did you think of McDonald’s, Nike, or Twitter? These are all examples of brands who have successfully used their logo to help position themselves.

What is positioning? According to Entrepreneur, “positioning helps establish your product’s or service’s identity within the eyes of the purchaser” (Entrepreneur, n.d., para 1). Positioning differentiates a brand within the minds of consumers. It helps them make choices in a world full of brands. A strong and relevant logo, and name, can help a brand communicate their identity and position themselves. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples!

Successful use of a Logo

Image result for amazon arrow

Can you identify the brand behind this logo? If you said Amazon, you are correct. But do you know why the company chose to represent itself through a curved arrow? Turner Duckworth, the creator of the logo, provides some insight on the meaning behind the design.

According to Duckworth, he was approached by Bezos when the company shifted from selling only books, to offering a more extensive product selection. Bezos wanted a logo that humanized the brand while reflecting the wide product selection. Also, they wanted something to reflect the happiness customers felt when receiving their Amazon deliveries. And thus, the Amazon arrow was born (Duckworth, n.d.).

Per Duckworth, “since everything Amazon sells is delivered, we started with a simple arrow, but curved it into the shape of a smile: Happy deliveries!” (Duckworth, n.d., para 4). They took it a step further and placed the arrow under the A and Z in Amazon to reflect that the company sells everything “from A to Z.” This concept also helped to reinforce the brand’s image and their commitment to offering their customers a vast selection (Duckworth, n.d.).

Not only did the logo reflect the company’s services, but it also reflected their vision. The company’s vision is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online” (Amazon, n.d.). So, there is so much more to Amazon’s logo besides just a “cool design.” It is this genuine representation in their logo that makes it so successful in positioning the brand. 

Missed the Mark

Back in 2008, Pepsi decided it was time to re-brand the company and released this new logo. The new logo was said to be the beverage manufacturer’s attempt to portray an updated, simplistic, and youthful image. However, after the logo was released to the public, many stakeholders found the redesign to be bland, vague, and failed to portray the youthful presence the company was seeking. Pepsi tried to put a modern spin on their classic symmetrical logo. The new white swoop was meant to resemble a smile (McWade, 2009). But perhaps the company strayed a little too far from the logo that their customers were already familiar with?

interactivepepsilogos
(McWade, 2009)

In addition, this new logo also failed to portray the company’s mission and vision. Per PepsiCo, the company “is focused on delivering sustainable long-term growth while leaving a positive imprint on society and the environment – what we call Performance with Purpose” (PepsiCo, n.d.). The design agency behind the redesign created a 27-page strategy as to why they chose this new logo. Among many aspects, they claimed it was inspired by the Renaissance, Mona Lisa, Earth’s gravitational pull, and the Parthenon (McWade, 2009).

Their strategy was scattered and unaligned with the brand’s desired image. What’s worse, is that consumers, and other shareholders, failed to see what the brand was attempting to portray, hindering the company’s positioning with the new logo (McWade, 2009).

Importance of the Name

In addition to a logo, a name can be just as important when a brand seeks to position themselves. Let’s go back to the Amazon example. Amazon was originally founded as “Cadabra.” However, Bezos decided to change it after repeatedly being mistaken for “cadaver” (yikes). The founder wanted a name that started with A, and contained a Z, to reflect the wide range of books carried (at the time). He landed on Amazon. Bezos also liked that it was in reference to the worlds largest river, reflecting the breadth of the product selection the retailer carried (History of Amazon, n.d.).

So, what made this name so successful? According to Alina Wheeler, author of Designing Brand Identity, there are a few critical aspects to selecting an effective name. The name must be meaningful, distinctive, positive, visual, and protectable. It must allow for future extensions and growth. Amazon was able to achieve all of these factors with their name. Additionally, connecting the name with a story or myth can be an effective strategy for positioning the name. Amazon has a genuine story behind their name, that also reflects what differentiates the brand, combining for powerful positioning (2013)!

To learn more about effective branding strategies, check out my blog Top Dog vs. Underdog to see who is the top dog and discover how they got there!

What brand name or logo is most memorable for you? Why?

 

 

 

References

Bonigala, M. (n.d.). Brand Positioning Strategy: How To Gain Mindshare [image]. Retrieved from https://www.spellbrand.com/brand-positioning-strategy

Duckworth, T. (n.d.). Amazon. Retrieved from http://www.turnerduckworth.com/work/amazon/

Entrepreneur. (n.d.) Positioning. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/positioning

History of the Amazon Logo. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fineprintart.com/art/history-of-the-amazon-logo

PepsiCo. (n.d.). Mission & Vision. Retrieved from https://www.pepsico.com/about/mission-and-vision

Wheeler, A. (2013). Designing brand identity: An essential guide for the whole branding team (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons P&T. VitalBook file.