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How to set SMART goals for marketing

As businesses are discovering, setting goals alone will never achieve maximum impact – what you need are SMART goals. 

If you haven’t heard someone say it before, you’ve probably seen it in a motivational poster in the foyer of an office building, or in a meme shared by an online entrepreneur: “If you don’t have a plan to succeed, you plan to fail”.

It’s a cheesy expression, but the underlying message is actually gold, especially in marketing.

Every business undertaking marketing needs a goal; that end game you’re working so hard to achieve.

Yet, as an increasing number of businesses are discovering, setting goals alone will never achieve maximum impact – what you need are SMART goals.

What are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym that describes what a marketing campaign must have in order to be successful. They include specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound:

  • Specific: goals must be clearly defined and have tangible results. They may be to generate more leads, sell tickets to an event, grow an email mailing list, or bolster the number of social media followers.
  • Measurable: goals need to be measured and this requires thinking about what success looks like. Is it selling out an event? Increasing sales by 50 per cent? Maybe it’s to reach 1,000 views of an explainer video. Consider how you will measure the success with a tangible outcome.
  • Attainable: Sure, reach for the stars, but make sure the path to those stars is dotted with achievable marketing goals. Unrealistic goals are most likely to bomb, and with them go the motivation and enthusiasm for staff who can be left feeling as though they have failed.
  • Realistic: Yes, your business may one day be the next Google or Apple, but remember, Google and Apple weren’t always Google and Apple. Once upon a time they were small businesses that moved from one realistic goal to another and then another. It’s important to start at the start and keep your goals realistic.
  • Time-bound: One day is not a timeframe, and one day often never arrives. It’s important to set timeframes for your marketing goals. Maybe you want to increase sales to a specific amount by the end of the year; or perhaps your goal is to increase the number of social media followers by 1,000 every month.

How do SMART goals apply to marketing?

SMART goals can be applied across any strategy but they are essential in marketing.

SMART goals are buzzwords, and hey, it’s great that the acronym actually describes what they are – but they also actually take in all the essential elements of a successful marketing campaign.

They may not have been calling them SMART goals, but marketers have been using these techniques since the year dot. It’s because they work.

Take away any one of the elements and the effectiveness of your marketing campaign is greatly diminished.

How to set SMART goals for your marketing

Applying SMART goals to your marketing must start right at the beginning of your marketing strategising, simply because they will form the foundations of the campaign.

Here’s where to start:

Define your goal

What is it you want to achieve?

Chances are you want to increase sales, but other goals might include increasing brand awareness, advertising a promotion or special offer, educating consumers about your products, or enticing people into your store.

Set a specific numeral goal

So, you know what you want to achieve, now the job is to determine the amount you want to achieve.

How much do you want to grow your sales by? How many views of your video do you want to achieve? How many promotional offer take-ups are you aiming for?

Decide on a timeframe

You’ve got your goals, you’ve attached a number to them – now, when’s all this going to be achieved?

This will determine the length of your campaign, the types and amounts of campaign elements, and the resources needed to deliver results.

Break it down into small, achievable tasks

This is your roadmap for achieving your marketing goals and takes in all the steps that need to be achieved to reach the goal.

It could be creating and rolling out a certain number of social media posts per week; it might be calling a certain number of customers per week; and it might be scheduling EDMs every fortnight.

Measure and report back

Marketing campaigns are never set and forget. The impact of your marketing efforts needs to be analysed as the campaign is rolling out and at the end.

You might see that one area is achieving poor results, while another is unexpectedly kicking goals. Knowing this will allow you to refine your campaign as it’s happening, leading to better results.

At the end of the campaign, analysis will let you know whether your results were achieved but also how they were achieved (or not), which should inform all future marketing efforts.

Want to embed SMART goals into your marketing strategy?

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne, and experts in creating SMART goals and delivering marketing campaigns that deliver tangible bottom line results for businesses.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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