I will never repeat it enough. I’m actually pretty sure that if you perform a keyword search on this blog, you will read the words “start with the WHY?” over and over again. Wether it’s coming from my students, my clients, or my business acquaintances, I still hear way too often: I want to do a social media campaign, what should I do?
And my response is invariably the same: START WITH THE WHY?
A social media campaign is not a strategy in itself, it’s a tool. A tool that services a strategy. A strategy that services Marketing Objectives.
Truth is, not many people really understand what a marketing objective is. So, as I am trying to put together a few exercises to help students and clients do the exercise, I’m seizing the opportunity to jolt down this basic answer to “What exactly is a Marketing Objective?”
Simply put, marketing objectives define what you want to accomplish through your marketing activities.
Most marketing objectives will fit in one of those categories:
- Maintaining or increasing market share
- Developing new products / innovation
- Meeting the needs of customers (current and new)
- Entering a new market / market positioning
- Gaining an advantage over competitors
Obviously, the correct answer to which category you should focus on comes from market research and a good old S.W.O.T (Stress, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.
Most importantly, those objectives need to fit into the S.M.A.R.T model.
In the November 1981 issue of Management Review, George T. Doran introduces the “SMART” approach, a mnemonic to guide people when they set objectives. Five letters to keep in mind:
- Specific – are your objectives stated in a way that is precise about what you are hoping to achieve?
- Measurable – Can you quantify each objective, i.e. can you use a unit of measure such as market share in percentage or dollars or other to provide a way to check your level of success?
- Achievable – Are your objectives reasonable in terms of what you can actually achieve or are you setting your sights too high?
- Realistic – Do you have sufficient employees and resources to achieve the objectives you have set? If you don’t then they are likely to be unrealistic.
- Time specific – When are you hoping to achieve these objectives? You need to define a timing plan with target timing for each specific objective.
Do you have defined marketing objectives? Do they pass the S.M.A.R.T test?