Businesses of all sizes set goals and objectives in some form or another to guide them in the right direction. Whether these are formal or informal, knowing when and where to set objectives is the key to successful marketing planning – Objectives form the foundation of your marketing plan and create the metrics for future control and evaluation of marketing activities.
Tip: Objectives should be used to put the detail behind
the forever vague corporate mission statement.
As the saying goes, success by the inch is a cinch, success by the yard is hard! Don;t tackle objectives in their entirety, break them down into multi-level objectives such as: corporate level objectives – these concern the business as a whole; divisional objectives which focus on specific areas or departments within the company; functional objectives such as the marketing mix, and lastly, campaign objectives.
Examples of Multilevel Objectives
Corporate objectives – these should come from your mission or vision statement:
• Market standing – total sales or market share
• Innovation – targets for product or service development, cost reduction, financing, operational Performance, human resource and management information
• Physical and financial resources – acquisition and use of resources
• Profitability – increase earnings per share or return on equity
• Manager performance and development
• Employee performance and attitude
• Public responsibility
• Increase new customers by 10%
• Increase retention levels from 50% to 75% within 18 months
• Acquire 15 new customers every month within 12 months.
Marketing Mix Objectives;
• Increase market share by 10%
• Aim to achieve 75% customer awareness of our brand in our target markets
• Improve profitability by 5%
• Generate 1,000 new leads for sales team
• Increase direct mail response rates by 10% through creative tests
External and Internal Influences
When setting objectives also consider the environmental factors, nature of the business and stakeholder influences that can have an overall effect on your company mission and objectives – such influences are sometimes overlooked in the planning stage.
• Corporate social responsibility
Nature of the business:
• Market situation
• History and age
• Leadership and management styles
• Structure and systems
• Mission and vision
Stakeholders (employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers, creditors);
• Who do you serve?
• Balance of power and influence of various Stakeholders
• Governance and accountability
And last but not least, don’t forget that all objectives need to be SMART. SMART objectives are more likely to be completed because by nature they are clear (specific) – this means that you know exactly the details of what needs to be achieved. Furthermore, you have an indication when it has been achieved (measurable) because you are measuring completion. In general, a SMART objective is likely to be completed because as a rule they must also be achievable.
Prior to setting a SMART objective, other factors such as resources and available should be taken into account. This will ensure that the objective is also realistic. Last but not least we need to consider our objectives against a timescale/deadline. This will helps employees to focus on the tasks required to achieve the objective. Having a timescale in place stops people postponing the completion of tasks.
• Measurable and expressed in quantifiable terms
• Acceptable to stakeholders
• Realistic and achievable
• Time bound