Setting Effective Marketing Goals

Setting effective marketing goals is a precursor to any successful marketing plan and program. Having considered what it is that you're looking to accomplish with your marketing, and what outcomes you're aiming to achieve, enables you and your team to define strategies and tactics that are more aligned to meeting these ends. Yet, often this crucial exercise is overlooked completely, or not given the due consideration it requires. Ill conceived or vague goals can kill a marketing plan before it's even been implemented. It's essential that your marketing goals reflect your specific marketing priorities and needs, whilst being consistent with your wider business objectives.  

“Not having a clear goal leads to death by a thousand compromises.”

Mark Pincus - Founder, Zynga

Marketing goals provide:

  • Focus – They align our thinking towards an end point; they allow us to see where we’re trying to get to so we can define strategies and plans that are directed towards getting us there.
  • Energy – When we know where we’re headed, it makes us feel empowered and motivated to get there.
  • Persistence – Because we can see the destination, we’re more likely to pursue clear goals in the face of adversity.
  • Alignment – Goals give us clarity on what is and isn’t relevant, enabling us to omit events and information that won’t take us forward.
  • Learning - With clear goals we’re are more likely to devise alternative means to accomplish them when things go wrong. 

Defining your marketing goals requires up-front thinking and consideration to ensure that what you’re aiming for is inline with the business’ needs and your specific marketing requirements. The below Marketing Goals Template gives you a framework to assess and understand the context within which you're setting your marketing goals, and then a structure to craft goals that are more focussed, clear, and empowering. The template is comprised of four areas:

1. Business Objectives

Before we can decide where we need to be from a marketing perspective, we need to understand the overarching business objectives. Marketing goals must be based on what the company overall is trying to achieve. These objectives could be a combination of: achieve a financial performance, gain market position, stimulate demand, positioning a product in a market, disrupt the competition, and so forth. To discover these, we should reach out to the business decision makers within the organisation: the Executive Committee or Board, CEO, senior stakeholders and functional heads, etc. 

2. Marketing Priorities

As a starting point to defining our specific goals, we must first consider if there are any priorities that we need to focus on with our marketing. These are subjective requirements based on our views and intuition. They could be to focus on a particular product / set of products where we see greater potential upside, to counter a perceived competitive threat, or to build channel presence, for example. 

3. Marketing Needs

As an extension to our marketing priorities, marketing needs are based on insights derived from data exploration. They look specifically at where we can improve the customer journey to reduce friction and accelerate progress towards purchase and repurchase.

4. Marketing Goals

Using the above as context and inputs, we can then take this thinking and detail our SMART marketing goals:

Specific - What is the desired result? What do you want to accomplish? 

Measurable - How can you quantify completion? How will you measure progress?

Achievable - How much of a stretch is it? How realistic is the goal? Are the resources needed obtainable?

Relevant - How does it align to your business goals and marketing priorities and needs?

Time-Based - When is the deadline?

SMART goal setting brings structure and trackability to your marketing goals. It provides a methodology to more effectively craft and assess your goals by offering a framework to determine their validity and viability. 

Download your PDF or PowerPoint (PPT) template by clicking on one of the buttons below. You'll receive a blank template for you to use, together with a prompt sheet as a reference when creating your marketing goals.

Marketing Goals Template

The template can either be used as a digital tool, or printed out so you have something physical that you can display as a reference or share with others. A great idea is to print it out as large as possible, and then use sticky notes to add your inputs and move around as you refine your thinking. Be flexible and get creative - this is meant to be an inspiring and empowering exercise, not the traditional "process".

Let me know how you get on and if you have any feedback.