SMART objectives are those objectives that are set following a specific formula and clear criteria, integrated in a strategic thinking process.
Every entrepreneur needs to set certain goals, to be sure that the activities he undertakes lead the business in a direction that is in line with his expectations.
There are 3 major types of objectives that can be set within a company:
- Strategic objectives – refers to where you want the business to be over X period of time
- Tactical objectives – refer to the results that the main departments within the company should achieve
- Operational objectives – refer to the specific results expected from each department, work group or employee in the company
Today we will focus on the tactical objectives located in the company’s marketing department.
More specifically, in this article we will discuss the strategic process by which we set the objectives to be achieved in a digital marketing campaign, using SMART criteria.
Specifically, we will talk about:
- What does SMART mean?
- The 5 steps to set SMART marketing goals
- BONUS: FREE template that will help you set your SMART goals in minutes
But first, before we move on to the details of what SMART means, let’s look at why strategic thinking is important in setting marketing goals.
Have you ever had the feeling that even though you work hard, the results are slow to show up?
Your efforts seem to consume time and energy, you lose optimism with each passing day without a result, and questions like:
- “what could be the problem?”
- “what am I doing wrong?”
- “what am I missing?”
- “what should I do to get the results I want?”
I’m sure your intentions are the best, so I understand your frustrations.
You are not alone in this situation. I’ve been there myself, and like you and I, there are many others.
It may be that the problem you have manifests itself in the way you set your goals.
To verify this, I need you to stop reading for a few seconds and address your question:
“Do I have a clear vision of what I want to achieve?”[…] Did you find a satisfactory answer?
Am I wrong to say that you thought about:
- money or…
- …more money?
Intrinsically, this is not the wrong answer. Indeed, this is the ultimate goal that every business on the planet pursues.
Increasing revenue is, however, an ultimate business goal which, in turn, must be supported and stimulated by a promotional strategy.
Therefore, before thinking about the ultimate goal of earning more money, you need to have a clear strategy to get there.
You need a clear marketing strategy, with strategically set goals, that effectively supports your business objectives.
Marketing objectives are vital in a marketing strategy.
Setting promotion objectives gives you a clear vision of the results you want to achieve, gives you a direction to follow, the motivation to reach a convenient end, and clarity on the need for the digital marketing strategy in your business.
For example, setting goals is the first of the 10 steps in a Content Marketing strategy, so the success of a Content Marketing campaign depends on how well goals are set.
In fact, the same is true for other services when it comes to building a promotion strategy.
Examples of marketing goals
Entrepreneurs sometimes choose complex and costly marketing concepts without realising how these objectives should be selected. Without sufficient information and examples of quantitative and qualitative targets, marketing approaches can be incorrect.
Setting smart objectives effectively and correctly is the first step.
Now you can read about some examples of smart goals, which will help you understand more clearly what some of these qualitative marketing goals or quantitative marketing goals should look like.
- Increase brand awareness
Whether it’s a new company, a new product launch or perhaps you’ve decided to target a new audience, increasing brand awareness is one of the best qualitative marketing objectives.
- Increasing market share
This is one of the most interesting quantitative marketing objectives, which relates to the current situation and results.
It is important to remember that this type of objective does not always have to be “to become market leader”, as it may not prove realistic. Such a qualitative objective should not be included in the list of examples of smart objectives for a small company, because it may prove impossible to achieve.
- Launching a new product
Launching a new product presents a unique set of challenges for any marketing department. Informing the public about a brand-new product and generating excitement is no small feat. Between developing the communication strategy, pricing and positioning, this goal can have many different objectives.
- Launching the company into new local or international markets
Similar to launching a new product, positioning and communication strategy is essential when introducing your brand to a new market. It is not enough to be present in a particular market. Many marketers choose reaching a certain number of customers and a certain turnover as examples of smart sales targets.
- Improving return on investment
Return on investment (ROI) is one of the most important indicators for a company. The result is expressed as a percentage, and it is in the interest of any entrepreneur that it is of positive value.
In the world of digital marketing, it is now easier than ever to accurately determine ROI because you know the cost per click of conversions for your marketing actions.
- Increasing company profits
Increasing company profits can often involve 3 types of actions: reducing costs, encouraging profits or both. Optimising for search engines, social networks and other digital media can be key ways to increase profits while reducing costs.
- Sales channel optimization
It is useless to aim for a massive number of impressions if you don’t get users to convert and buy. Therefore, a good marketing plan objective would be to take into account the different stages of the sales funnel and to get more and more users to become customers.
Examples of quantitative and qualitative goals: increase conversion rates by 5% in 2022 by encouraging remarketing efforts to potential customers from the middle of the sales funnel.
8. Attracting new clients
Attracting new customers to a company is an important, ongoing effort that will keep your sales flowing. Finding new customers should involve different processes as well as optimising current ones.
9. Maintaining current clients
On the other hand, increasing customer loyalty is another common marketing objective. Retaining old customers by offering them bonuses and special programmes is a fairly common approach. Among the most common business objectives as examples are those related to loyalty and the implementation of loyalty programs.
Marketing objectives and defining them according to this SMART acronym can be complicated concepts. It is best to turn to a marketing agency that can help you choose the right SMART objectives for your business.
I hope that, so far, everything is clear. So, so far, we know that:
- There are several types of targets
- Revenue is the major final objective
- Revenue growth is a business objective
- Marketing strategy supports the achievement of business objectives
- Marketing objectives are vital in a promotion strategy
- Setting the right promotion objectives gives vision, clarity and motivation
Moreover, keep in mind that “more money” is not a concrete goal.
Okay, but how do we define a concrete goal?
Well, it’s simple.
A concrete goal is:
- Affordable (realistic)
- Time Bound (with a clear deadline)
What does SMART mean?
The official definition says:
“SMART is an acronym for the characteristics considered essential to correctly and concretely set a goal, in this case a marketing goal.”
SMART objectives draw a clear line between “working hard” and “working smart”.
According to Wikipedia, it was George T. Doran who first proposed SMART objectives as a superior alternative in terms of the benefits they confer on a strategy, in “There’s a S.M.A.R.T way to write management’s goals and objectives”, published in November 1981.
George T. Doran, then a consultant and former director of corporate management for the Washington Water-Power Company, said:
“It would be ideal if every corporation had, at the department and section level, objectives:
The 5 criteria for setting SMART objectives have remained approximately the same today.
The exception is the acronym “A”, to which George T. Doran assigned the criterion “Attributable”.
Today, most often, the criterion “Affordable” is used for this position, which we will develop in more detail below.
This substitution does not mean, however, a definitive replacement of the original proposed criterion.
It is equally important that an objective is Achievable, i.e. that it allows for the strategic allocation of appropriate human resources to implement the strategy that will lead to the achievement of the objective.
Although the SMART method proposed by Doran has universal applicability, equally effective in all business sectors that require strategic thinking, we will focus today on how to set SMART objectives in a digital marketing strategy.
SMART Marketing Goals.
The 5 criterias
As I said before, SMART is the acronym of 5 criteria to keep in mind when setting your goal(s) in an online promotion strategy.
In the following, we will address each of the 5 criteria in detail, for a full understanding of the concept. You will also have the opportunity to better understand the concept by looking at the examples I will attach to each step.
Keep in mind that the 5 criteria that define SMART marketing objectives are complementary and need to be present in all of them within the set objective.
Well, let’s go ahead and say that a well set objective should be:
A specific objective leaves no room for doubt; it is very clearly expressed and aims at achieving concrete results and not general results.
The main method of checking the quality of the objective against the specificity criterion is to align it – fully or partially – with the answers to the 5 questions:
Who – is involved in achieving this objective?
What do I want to achieve?
Where – do I want to achieve this objective, on which structure of the business development framework?
Example of a SMART Specific objective:
“I want to increase the number of leads from the blog section of the company website.”
The objective must be measurable, either quantitatively or qualitatively.
The objective needs to be clearly measurable in order to be able to accurately obtain the necessary insights that tell you clearly whether or not it has been achieved.
Furthermore, setting a measurable goal gives you the opportunity to continuously monitor the progress being made towards achieving it.
Example of a SMART Specific and Measurable goal:
“I want to increase the number of leads from the blog section of the company website by 20%.”
The third criterion defines the analysis of the chances that the set goal has to be achieved.
In this case, you have to take into account a set of conditions, such as:
- the size of the company
- products or services offered
- the market situation
- the conditions in which the strategy is implemented
- the current situation of the structure chosen to achieve the objective set
- the technical, human, financial and time resources available
In other words, it is not recommended to set an unrealistic objective that exceeds the company’s capacity to achieve it.
Example of a SMART Specific, Measurable and Achievable objective:
„I want to increase the number of leads from my blog section by 20%. Given that we are currently registering 1000 visitors per month on the blog, at a conversion rate of 10% (100 leads per month), my goal is to increase traffic to 1200 visitors per month (+20 leads per month).”
Addressing the relevance criterion in the process of locating SMART marketing objectives starts from the question:
“Why am I pursuing this objective?”
I mentioned at the beginning of the article that setting marketing goals is the first step in setting your digital marketing strategy.
This strategy, in turn, needs to achieve goals that in turn stimulate the achievement of higher goals within the company.
So the relevance of achieving this objective is given by the opportunity it offers in the context of achieving the main business objectives.
Example of a SMART Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Relevant objective:
“I want to increase the number of leads from the blog section by 20%. Given that we are currently registering 1000 monthly visitors to the blog at a 10% conversion rate (100 leads per month), my goal is to increase traffic to 1200 monthly visitors (+20 leads per month). I find it appropriate to achieve this goal because the sales team has found that the blog converts 3x more leads than PPC campaigns.”
It is necessary to set a well-defined period of time to achieve the goal.
Setting a clear deadline will give you the insights you need to monitor the progress of your campaign and will mobilise you to make every effort to achieve your goal by the set date.
Example of SMART Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound objective:
“I want to increase the number of leads from the blog section by 20% in 6 months. Given that we are currently registering 1000 monthly visitors to the blog at a 10% conversion rate (100 leads per month), my goal is to increase traffic to 1200 monthly visitors (+20 leads per month). I find it appropriate to achieve this goal because the sales team has found that the blog converts 3x more leads than PPC campaigns.”
If we go back in time and think about “I want more money”, we notice that, although the major objective has remained the same, it is preceded by a series of steps to be taken and a set of micro-objectives to be achieved.
Structurally, by understanding and instilling what SMART means, the process of achieving the major business objective should look like this:
- I want more money. How do I get more money?
- I need to increase sales in the company. How do I increase sales in the company?
- I need to sell more products/services. How do I sell more products/services?
- I need to attract more customers. How do I attract more customers?
- I need to locate the company’s most effective conversion channel. What is the most effective conversion channel in the company?
- The blog section is the most effective channel. Why is it the most effective channel?
- It has a 3x higher conversion rate than measured in Pay-Per-Click campaigns and attracts 1000 visitors per month, 100 of which convert into customers. How many more visitors can they bring in each month to increase the number of customers while maintaining the same 10% conversion rate, using the resources they have?
- +200 visitors per month to the blog section. Is this a realistic target?
- Yes. How much time do I need, taking into account resources and desired growth, to reach the goal?
- 6 months.
- Simplified goal: “I want to increase monthly traffic in the blog section by 20% in 6 months.”
At this point, the goal should be clear in your mind.
Anyway, we promised you a FREE template that summarizes everything we’ve talked about so far, so you can set your SMART goals in 15 minutes.
DOWNLOAD HERE: Template – obiective de marketing SMART
I hope I have managed to enlighten you on how to set your SMART goals.
From now on, it’s all about how you choose to translate each criterion into the goals you want to achieve, and where you feel you’re struggling, feel free to go back to the template I’ve provided to make sure you’re doing the right thing.
What does SMART mean?
SMART is an acronym for the characteristics considered essential to correctly and concretely set an objective, in this case a marketing objective.
What are the criteria for SMART marketing objectives?
SMART stands for 5 criteria (Specific, Measurable, Affordable, Relevant, Time Bound) that you need to take into account when setting your objective(s) in an online promotion strategy.