Great marketers know that understanding the difference between goals and objectives can help clarify your marketing planning processes. Here’s a quick guide to setting more effective goals and objectives.
For starters, remember that objectives are specific and concrete, as opposed to goals, which are somewhat abstract and difficult to quantify.
When you’re setting your small business’ marketing objectives, there are five categories that will help your planning stay focused. They’re called SMART, and the system was first put forth by Peter Drucker in his classic volume The Practice of Management.
When creating your marketing plan, your objectives should be:
- Specific – Is the objective clearly defined? Will key players grasp it easily?
- Measurable – Can you track progress? Do you know when you’ve reached it?
- Attainable – Is this a realistic objective? Is it within the project’s scope?
- Relevant – Does it contribute to attaining the goal?
- Time-bound – Have you set a deadline?
Note that there are alternatives for a few of these letters, but I think those listed above offer the most well-rounded and relevant approach.
Examples of SMART Objectives
- To increase our average ticket by 10% by January 1, 2010.
- To grow our email database to 350,000 by the end of the second quarter 2010.
- To achieve 70% client awareness within our target market over the 12 months.
- To average 6 homes sold per month by the end of 2009.
While the Attainable and Relevant points will vary depending on various factors, these examples should give you a decent idea of what a SMART objective looks like.
Some have added another two points to the SMART planning system:
Any successful marketing plan will have budget and timeline allocations for evaluating the plan’s success. Build these mechanisms in from the beginning to ensure your small business’ marketing plan meets its goals every time.