Marketing is changing, and it is changing fast. With new technologies available in the market, the rise of marketing automation and the increasing competition among brands in digital channels, marketers are facing more challenges than ever before.
This is why marketing strategies require a stronger focus on business objectives to drive growth and secure a place in tomorrow markets.
A way to create effective marketing strategies for your brand is to work closely with your salesforce and adopt the so called ‘SMART’ approach across your organisation.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-specific and it specifically relates to your marketing objectives.
So let’s have a look at each one individually.
When you set your marketing objectives, make sure that they are specific. For example, in your strategic marketing plan you might want to state that within the next business year you are looking to increase sales by 10% from previous year. This is a specific figure and sets a clear goal within your organisation.
Because your marketing objectives are specific, they are also measurable. Using the example above, you can measure at the end of the year whether your have achieved the increase in sales by 10%. Additionally, you can measure which marketing channels have performed better and what assets have helped your business grow the most. This is quite helpful going ahead as you can now focus on what worked best.
Be realistic in your plan. It is often useful to look at the external environment when drafting your strategy. You may look at the general economy, your competitors and customer research to make sure that your objectives are obtainable and in line with your strategy. For example, if you have experienced an average growth of 10% year on year, then it would be quite unrealistic to set a growth target of, say, 50%, unless, of course, there are extraordinary circumstances that can explain such an acceleration like an acquisition or an IPO.
Your marketing objectives need to be relevant and in line with your business objectives. If, for example, you are focusing on sales growth, both lead generation and improvement in customer service would be relevant objectives to include in your plan.
All objectives must have a time frame. This is usually a 12 month period where you are considering the starting point or benchmark position and the finish line where you can see the results of your marketing activities in terms of sales, brand awareness, customer acquisition and so on. A time frame is essential to make your objectives measurable and provide a relevant context.
A SMART approach to your marketing objectives can be a very helpful framework when setting your strategy both for your marketing and sales teams.