Building Your Marketing Foundation: Determine Marketing Goals
In my last article, I discussed the first step in building your foundation for a successful marketing plan. Establishing the high level strategic goals for your company will help you be more intentional about the marketing tactics you choose and maximize your spend. Read here if you missed my last article.
Once your strategic goals are established, it is time to translate those strategic business goals into marketing goals. The foundation was started with your business goals and now you can start framing your marketing plan around those goals.
By setting goals specific to marketing, you are setting yourself up for success. According to research by CoSchedule,
“Marketers who set goals are 376% more likely to report success than those who don’t. And 70% of those successful, goal-setting marketers achieve them.”
Achieving your marketing goals will help you achieve those strategic business goals you set earlier on, which is what you ultimately want for yourself and your business.
Considerations for your marketing goals
Before taking the time to set your marketing goals, there are a few things to consider. You want to make sure your marketing goals are relevant to your business and where it is today. Consider these aspects below before setting your marketing goals:
Where you are in the lifecycle of your business matters when setting your marketing goals. It informs the resources you have available for marketing and the bandwidth your team has to execute your plan. Your goals should be risky but relevant, as I discussed in the last article. That means you want to make them attainable, even if they are a little hard to reach. Setting goals that are unattainable for your business will discourage you and your team from setting goals and reaching for them in the future.
What time do you have available to work towards these marketing goals? If you do not have much time, what about your team? Are you trying to add marketing to a team member’s plate without removing other responsibilities? In order for your marketing goals to be reached, you need team member time and talents that are available to reach them. That may mean delegating some of your other work, freeing up a team members time or outsourcing your marketing to a trusted partner.
Consider the short AND long term
One of my favorite tips from this article by Neil Patel is to consider the long term results of the ways you are implementing towards your short term goals. When you think through the strategies and tactics you will use to reach each of your marketing goals, you will want to consider those in terms of your longer term plans and make sure you are not creating more work for yourself in the future.
Goals are not the same as strategies, objectives and tactics
If you do any of your own research on setting marketing goals, you will see the words goal and objective used interchangeably. They are not the same thing. When outlining your goals, you will also want to consider the strategy, objectives and tactics you will use to reach each goal. We will talk about this more in depth in another article. Until then, if you are interested in more clearly understanding the difference, this article by Thomas Publishing Company gives a good explanation.
Another consideration with setting goals is thinking about how you will measure each goal. Do you have the tools you need to track your progress? Will you have access to the data needed to really measure what you are trying to accomplish? Creating a simple spreadsheet could help you track your progress against each goal if you do not already have the tools or systems in place to do so.
Building your marketing goals
Now that you have thought through the kind of marketing goals that will be a good fit for your organization, it’s time to build your marketing goals for the year.
Similar to your business goals, as discussed in my last article, your goals need to be well defined. Avoid creating vague marketing goals like “obtain more leads” and instead be specific in regards to what you want to achieve and by when. I like the SMARTER framework, an adapted version of SMART goals by Michael Hyatt. With this framework your goals should be:
- Specific: what, exactly, are you trying to achieve
- Measurable: you want to know if you hit your goal, so make it measurable
- Actionable: use action verbs
- Risky: stretch yourself and your team a little bit
- Time-keyed: have a deadline
- Exciting: it is more motivating to have a goal you and your team are excited about achieving
- Relevant: does it align with your culture and stage of your business?
An alternative goal to “obtain more leads” that meets the SMARTER framework might be, “Generate 10% more leads in each quarter by December 31, 2021.”
Let’s apply this to the example of ABC Accounting from the last article. As a refresher, ABC Accounting is a small, CPA firm committed to providing high quality business planning and tax services to its customers. With over 25 years in business, ABC has found it works best with business owners who have more complicated tax needs and require more regular accounting support for their businesses. The client feedback is excellent, giving ABC high marks on their service and attentiveness to their client's needs. Their client's feel very well taken care of and trust in ABC's expertise.
They are struggling, however, to gain enough new clients to really drive the kind of growth John, the owner, is looking for. They do receive referrals from current clients, but John's strategic plan includes faster growth than has been experienced with referrals alone. One of John’s business goals for the year is to increase the number of new customers by 9%.
The first step to creating a marketing goal for ABC Accounting would be to do some backwards calculations based on the business goal of increasing new customers by 9%. Marketing math as I like to call it. Here is an example of the path I would take…
- What is a 9% increase in value? $100,000
- How many new customers would be needed to reach that value? 10
- What is ABC’s current lead conversion rate? 50%
- How many leads will ABC need to get 10 new customers? 20 [10 / 50%]
I could then write my goal based off of the last number or go one step further to set a percentage increase goal based on the number of leads obtained in 2020. So, for example, if ABC gathered 15 leads last year, then I would set a goal to increase leads by 25%. Our two goal options would look like this:
Obtain 20 new leads by September 30, 2021
Increase leads by 25% by September 30, 2021
Notice I chose a date earlier than the end of the year. That was intentional because, based on our calculations above, we would have to talk to, have deals started and close 50% of our leads to reach our business goal. Pushing the date up a quarter gives time for you or your sales team to qualify the leads and convert them into customers.
This example is just one of the marketing goals I would create for ABC. I would look at the other strategic business goals and consider how marketing could contribute to their achievement as well. The number of goals I create will really be dictated by the number of strategic goals we need to contribute to. I would also take into account the considerations discussed above and make sure the number of goals are aligned with our team size and budget. It is also best to assign ownership of each goal to a team member, so that one person can take ownership of pushing that goal forward.
Do you need help creating your marketing goals for 2021? Schedule a call now to learn more about The Marketing Physical by Pace Marketing. It will help you turn those business goals into a step-by-step marketing plan so you can grow your business. For more resources to help you build and measure your marketing plan, visit our toolbox and stay tuned for the next article on how to identify your audience.