I was recently reading a blog post about actually achieving your New Year’s resolutions (so I’ve got to lose 10 pounds, is that a crime?), and it got me to thinking that many businesses set marketing goals for themselves each year, but not all achieve them.
Why is it that achieving business goals can seem like an even bigger challenge than losing weight and quitting smoking? What is the right method for setting goals that will actually challenge and grow the company but that are actually realistic? It’s a bit like weightlifting (another goal of mine). You need to find that sweet spot where your muscles are challenged just enough but where the weight being lifted (or attempted to be lifted) is realistic.
How many goals are too few and too many to set and how do you know which one you should focus on first? How do you keep the organization focused on the same goal? How much budget should be allocated for each goal? The amount of questions are enough to make you begin smoking again!
While every enterprise is different, there are some basic goal setting and achieving guidelines you can follow to ensure your biggest growth and success in the coming year:
In order to set marketing goals that are just challenging enough but realistic, you’ve got to first known your current position. You’ll want to really sit down with other team members to determine your growth levels to date. For instance, if you know traffic to your website has grown steadily by 5% over the last 6 months, you feel certain that a goal of 7% will be challenging but totally do-able.
Don’t be Vague
Vagueness is a real marketing killer. Setting a goal like “make more sales this year” is not really quantifiable and therefor, it’s not a good goal to have. Sure, everyone wants to sell more but your goals should be S.M.A.R.T. goals, as in: specific, measurable, achievable, result-focused, and time-bound.
- We want to raise revenue for next quarter by X%
- We want to generate X leads in the next 3 months
- We want to gain X Twitter followers each month
Map Out Milestones
Often it’s simple to state a goal, but then challenging knowing the exact steps to achieve it. This is why it’s a good idea to work backwards; start with your end goal in mind and ask yourself why that particular goal matters to your business. Once you know why it’s important to achieve this goal, think of the tasks that are necessary to achieving your goal and put them in order of priority. Finally, set milestones so you and your team can work together to reach these deadlines and continue forward movement.
Easier said than done, right?
Here’s how to do it: Choose no more than one to two core goals for the year (these will directly impact your revenue), and no more than three supporting goals. This will help everyone focus on the tasks at hand.
Have Fun Reaching Your Goals
You’ve no doubt heard it said before it’s not about the destination but the journey. And while this sentiment often causes instant eye-rolling among the business crowd, the thing is, it’s really true.
It’s entirely too easy to get lost in budgets and spreadsheets and metrics and quarterly reporting and forget why you started your business to begin with. As soon as the fun goes out the window, employee performance takes a hit, ad campaigns flounder, and sales drop.
Successful businesses are the ones who never let marketing goals overtake the fun of being in business in the first place.
While failing is never a goal, it’s going to happen. When it does, embrace it because failure often teaches us more than success. Failure will lead to speculation, introspection and above all else (hopefully) experimentation. These three things combined usually lead to better outcomes!
When you know how to set the right marketing goals and how to achieve them, success is assured.