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).
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 children. Privacy 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?
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