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What are marketing objectives?


The term ‘marketing objective’ might sound like an obscure concept taught in MBA classes. But in reality, it is the driving force behind a great marketing plan.

Marketing objectives are a set of instructions that specify a clear and measurable target for your team. It’s often used interchangeably with the term marketing goals, but there’s a difference

A marketing goal gives a broad picture of what you aim to achieve with your efforts, whether it’s digital marketing or a more traditional strategy.  On the other hand, a marketing objective is a short-term aim with defined ideal outcomes. 

“Reach out to a million people in the target market.”

This is a classic marketing goal. It doesn’t go into the specifics of how to achieve the target. Rather, it gives you an ultimate goal for all the marketing efforts.

“Get 60 qualified leads in five days.”

In this case, there’s an attainable and measurable marketing objective for the team. It means that by the fifth day, you’ll know whether the target has been accomplished or not, and this kind of structure is essential when it comes to customer acquisition. 

In this article, we’ll delve into marketing objectives. If you’re working on a marketing plan, this guide will help you understand the importance of objectives as part of your marketing mix and how to curate one. We’ll also explore a few examples of effective marketing objectives. Skip ahead to: 

Why do you need marketing objectives?

The absence of clear marketing objectives is an invitation for ambiguity and chaos.

TV ads, digital media, content marketing, influencers, celebrity endorsers have increased the scope of marketing. With time, you can be assured that there’ll be more interpretations of marketing. Amidst all this, it’s easy to lose focus on your end goal. Hence, you need clear-cut marketing objectives that will keep you on track.

Whenever you or your team want to know if a marketing action should be performed, answer this question — does it align with the objective? This way, you can cut through the clutter and help achieve your brand’s full potential.

So, how do we decide what’s the right measurable marketing objectives?

How to choose a marketing objective?

Your marketing objectives have to be smart and SMART. The first one is about intelligent goal-setting and the second is an acronym for a marketing mantra.

SMART is a groundbreaking concept that was popularised by management gurus Peter Drucker and George T. Doran. In the last four decades, it has been tweaked and given multiple interpretations. So, you might find many variations of the same acronym (or extensions like SMARTER). Although such variations have become popular, the underlying meaning remains intact. 

Let’s see how the SMART acronym can help you define your marketing objectives.

1. Specific

Clearly lay out the problem you’re trying to solve. It could be more hits on the website, a bigger sales funnel, or a better brand reach. Whatever it is, write it down in a clear and concise manner.

To break it down, you need an actionable and an operating word for your marketing objective. It could be ‘increase market share,’ ‘increase sales,’ ‘get more revenue,’ or similar ones. This word should drive your team and it should be the focal point of all marketing activities.

2. Measurable

If ‘increase brand awareness in 2 days’ is your objective, you are making life hard.

Without a measurable goal or a key performance indicator (KPI), you can’t define success. Typical KPIs include the number of leads, conversion rate, the percentage increase in ad viewership, and the likes. As the name suggests, it is the ‘key’ to determine whether you managed to fulfill the objectives.

Along with this, it’s important to convey the results in an effective manner. Since you’ll be dealing with metrics, the final report should explain what those numbers mean from a marketing standpoint.

3. Attainable

You can set a marketing objective that aims to increase revenues, sales, and become the world’s most valuable brand all at once! But this is not a practical marketing objective.

Assess your team’s strengths, weaknesses, and collective abilities. Use data to set achievable targets for the team. While it’s important to challenge yourself, setting unrealistic goals will demoralize the team and produce sub-par results. 

At the same time, ensure that the targets aren’t too easy to achieve. It will result in the under-utilization of your resources. Having a solid baseline and thorough market research will help you set attainable objectives.

4. Realistic

This one requires your team’s input. You have set an attainable and measurable objective, but is the expectation realistic? Are the objectives aligned with the company’s vision and mission? 

Ask for feedback on the nature of the objective and proceed to set ideal timelines for achieving it.

5. Timely

The objective you set should work in a time-bound manner. And this should be decided based on the difficulty, size of the team, expertise, and the likes. By addressing the delivery expectations, you can be rigid and yet allow the team to be flexible within the timeframe.

Now that we know how to set an effective marketing objective, let’s see some examples.

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10 Examples of marketing objectives

Every example in this list follows the SMART framework. They have a specific aim, the outcome can be measured, and there’s a defined timeframe. Based on the team strength and capability, each of these is realistic and attainable too.

1. Conduct beta tests for 60 days before the launch

This is a good strategy if you’re launching a product in a new market. A beta test runs for a limited period of time and the outcome will let you change the product or marketing strategy as per user demands.

The one-size-fits-all almost never works when you’re trying to influence buying decisions across markets.

Launching products in a market without studying the demography and user sentiment is a risk worth not taking. Remember the time when Coca-Cola changed its formula!

2. Increase profit margin of the product by 20% in the next financial year

This might seem like a broad goal at the outset, but it’s definitely constructive for a marketing team. It suggests that they should start making 20% more profits.

This could be achieved by reducing marketing and overhead costs, increasing sales, or a combination of both.

3. Find out the new product’s optimum price in 4 weeks 

When companies launch a new product in the market, it’s difficult to ascertain the perfect price. It’s because they have to factor in the cost of manufacturing, overheads, logistics, taxes, and more. This is the reason why the same 24-pack beer could cost anywhere between $15 to $30 across the US

A price discovery exercise can help the marketing find out the ideal selling price for the product. 

4. Decrease customer attrition to 30% in the next three months

Customer attrition is a serious issue when it’s higher than the industry standards. In this case, the marketing team has to retain at least 70% of their clients in the next three months

By improving service, reducing costs, and making the product accessible, customer attrition can be easily reduced.

5. Increase social media engagement by 35% in three weeks

Social media is not just about followers. Engagement is an important metric that tells you if customers are interested in your content and product.

The directive is clear here. The marketing efforts must result in 35% more people engaging with the brand’s posts. This can ideally be done with quizzes, contests, and interesting surveys. 

6. Get 50% more ad impressions in the new users bucket next month

You’ve published that ad on Google and Facebook, but are enough people reading it?

The ads or other marketing collateral could be more engaging. You could start publishing more ads. You can direct it towards a particular subset of the target audience who respond better to ads.

This marketing objective opens up many possibilities to achieve the target of getting 50% more impressions. It also clearly specifies that the increase should be from new users and not existing ones.

7. Conduct an A/B test on the homepage banner for 25 days

An A/B test is a great way to choose between two marketing options, especially in the digital space.

The objective simply states that a test has to be conducted in the specified timeframe. This is because by the end of it, we’ll know which banner is the better one.

8. Improve conversion rate to 10% in the next 2 weeks

Conversion can be a big bottleneck for brands. The impressions are there and the engagement is through the roof, but only few such leads turn into sales — this is a typical problem.

Since the marketers have to improve conversion, they can resort to attractive offers or free trials. Besides, they can optimize the sales funnel to ensure that the quality of leads is high.

9. Get More 15% More Leads in the Next Month

This straightforward tells the team to focus on lead generation activities.

Most sales funnels start with leads. When you increase the number of entrants in the funnel, it has a direct impact on the conversions at a later stage.

Actively pursuing prospective clients and launching targeted marketing campaigns are few simple ways of increasing the leads.

10. Forge 3 new corporate partnerships in the next quarter

This example shows why setting the right timelines is important.

Big deals often take time. A retailer might land thousands of new customers in a week, but that’s impossible to achieve in the B2B and other niche segments. In fields like real estate or corporate consultancy, landing 3 clients in a quarter might mean millions of dollars in revenue. 

In summary

Marketing objectives are a simple but highly effective tool to improve productivity. You can set such objectives without the SMART goals framework, but they aren’t going to be as effective. 

We’ve seen examples wherein a single statement conveys a lot to the marketing team. Try to emulate such objectives for your own brand and see the marketing magic happen!

Planning to ramp up your digital marketing efforts? Here’s another great article on how organic digital marketing could be a gamechanger for your business.

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