How to Set SMART Marketing Goals

3 min read
Mar 11, 2019 5:05:35 PM

For many marketers, goals aren’t fun.

Why set goals and design KPIs when you can build a community around your product and engage an audience? Why write a list of goals when you could be crafting the next awe-inspiring, mind-blowing piece of content?

It’s more fun to look at SEO, hone your social campaigns, and track paid search than set goals.

Setting goals, specifically SMART goals, should be the first step of any campaign.

Even if you would rather be doing anything else, goal-setting is critical to your success. Goals provide direction for your team. It is difficult to measure progress with marketing efforts, or prove an ROI without them. Goals provide alignment for a team and your business. They help you work more effectively and efficiently.

What are SMART Marketing Goals?

SMART is a framework for setting goals first presented by George T. Doran in the magazine Management Review and popularized by Peter Drucker’s management lessons.

SMART goals provide you and your team clear objectives with measurable criteria. They foster alignment and collaboration, and eliminate the confusion that can stymie a project.

The SMART Framework for Goal-Setting

SMART is an acronym that describes a rational and effective goal-setting process. Each of your goals should be:

  • Specific

Your goals need to be as specific as possible. This could include a revenue goal, a brand goal, or a specific action to be taken. For example, a specific goal might be to increase blog traffic and lead generation through the blog by 10%. Another might be, launch the new website by May 1st.

Specific goals are measurable, and provide an objective for your team.

  • Measurable

You need to identify criteria, or key performance indicators (KPIs), for measuring success. These criteria let you know when campaigns aren’t working so you can change tactics. Some goals, like increasing lead generation by 10%, are easy to measure.

Other goals, like become a thought-leader in content creation, are more difficult to track. Look for relevant data points like search engine results page (SERP) position or social shares of specific content.

Make sure you communicate the results, both good and bad. Once you have data, don’t be afraid to adjust tactics to improve your campaigns.

  • Attainable

Nothing is worse than setting a goal that isn’t realistic. You’ll never get buy-in with an unrealistic goal. No one wants to be a on a team or project that is doomed to fail.

Give your team time to discuss the goal before setting it – ask for feedback. Look at your available resources, and realize that you may need to adjust priorities as you work. Your goals are a discussion worth having with your team.

  •  Relevant

It's easy to set goals. It's more difficult to set goals that will grow the business and deliver the success the company needs - relevant goals.

Start your goal-setting process by looking at the overall goals for the business. Where does the business want to go in the future? Then ask yourself how your marketing can help reach the overall goals? What objectives do you need to hit to get the business where it wants to go?

Those are relevant goals.

  • Timely

It’s a good idea to set both long-term (12 – 24 months) and short-term (3 – 9 months) goals. This will not only help you keep goals realistic, but also let you link goals. Perhaps a short-term goal can help you deliver on a more important long-term goal.

Prioritize the quick-hit short-term goals for smaller victories. Victories will help you get buy-in for the long-term goals.  No matter how you design your goals, you need to set deadlines to make them a priority.

SMART Goals are a Competitive Advantage

Every marketing professional is looking for the secret to success. We all want the edge that will put our efforts over the top.

Goals, SMART goals, are the edge. They should be the foundation of every marketing campaign.

It may not be as exciting as the latest clue from a Google algorithm, but it works. Using what works matters most in marketing.

Need more help? Make sure you check out our free SMART marketing tool. It’s an easy way to empower your goal-setting before your next campaign.

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