How to Set Marketing Goals [plus 30 examples]

by | Jul 11, 2017

You’re multitasking on a thousand things. Marketing is one of them. But ask yourself:

What are your social media posts, emails, and videos helping you achieve?

When you identify clear goals and write them down, you accomplish more in a shorter period of time. Without goals, your efforts are likely to be haphazard and ineffective.

Setting goals can be daunting. Trust me, I know. But don’t worry! In this post, I’ll break it down to 4 steps:

  1. Connect to the Bigger Picture
  2. Determine Main Marketing Goals
  3. Get Specific
  4. Be Results-Oriented

I’ll also provide plenty of examples and practical tips to give you all you need.

First, Connect to the Bigger Picture

When it comes to setting overall business and sales objectives, marketing should always have a seat at the table. That said, it’s marketing’s job to support business objectives by driving awareness and demand. So in the bigger picture, marketing goals follow sales goals, like this:

pyramid graphic: how marketing goals flow from business goalsEverything should flow from the business vision and mission. So make sure you understand how your marketing goals support the higher purpose.

Next, align with business goals. These may include financial, operational, HR and customer service goals. Marketing can play an important role in supporting each one.

In the same way, align with sales goals. Estimate how many qualified marketing leads are needed to achieve sales and revenue goals. Consider what content and activities are needed at each phase of the sales funnel.

Now, once you define your marketing goals — and I’ll get back to that in a minute — it’s time to get specific by defining objectives, strategies, and tactics. Here’s how it works:

  • A goal is a broad statement of what you want to accomplish
  • An objective is a more specific and time-based version of above
  • A strategy is a path to successfully achieve the objective
  • A tactic is a tangible, specific task to get the job done

pyramid graphic: marketing goals, objectives, strategy, tactics

It’s common to have several objectives, strategies, and tactics underneath a single goal. For example:

GOAL: Improve my overall health

OBJECTIVE #1: Lower my cholesterol levels by 15% by November 20

STRATEGY: Eat more heart-healthy foods

TACTIC: Eat oatmeal 5 x per week

OBJECTIVE #2: Lose 15 pounds by October 1

STRATEGY: Exercise more

TACTIC: Attend Zumba class 3 x per week

And here’s a business example.

GOAL: Expand sales and deepen loyalty with existing customers

OBJECTIVE #1: Create a customer loyalty program by December 1

STRATEGY: Reward points for purchases

TACTIC: Create a branded swipe card to track purchases

OBJECTIVE #2: Develop after-sale services by January 15

STRATEGY: Offer installation support

TACTIC: Email customer 24 hours after purchase inviting them to contact a rep for install help

Determine Main Marketing Goals

Your marketing goals should be specific to your business. What does your business need most right now? What are your current opportunities and threats? Every business will have different marketing strategies based on its unique situation and business goals. That said, here is a list of 30 common marketing goal examples to get you started.

scroll down for infographic of 30 example marketing goals

Brand Awareness

  • Build/increase brand awareness and name recognition
  • Drive traffic to website
  • Generate more search traffic and improve keyword rankings
  • Grow social media following
  • Attract new prospects
  • Obtain/increase coverage with key media (public relations)

Thought Leadership

  • Establish/build reputation as a thought leader in niche
  • Educate, inspire and build trust with audience
  • Demonstrate expertise in (niche area)
  • Drive traffic to blog
  • Increase number of referring websites (backlinks)
  • Contribute to online conversations about (niche area)
  • Obtain speaking engagements

Lead Generation and Conversion (prospects)

  • Generate leads
  • Generate more qualified leads
  • Nurture and engage qualified leads
  • Improve lead conversion rate
  • Address and overcome prospect objections
  • Drive email subscriptions

External Community (customers, partners, influencers)

  • Deepen loyalty with existing customers
  • Cross-sell and expand sales to existing customers
  • Enhance customer relationships
  • Attract strategic partners
  • Improve stakeholder relations
  • Create customer advocates
  • Increase positive customer reviews/ratings

Internal Community (employees, prospective employees)

  • Improve internal communications
  • Attract potential job applicants
  • Increase exposure through staff use of social media
  • Provide communication channels for feedback and ideas

Get Specific

OK, so moving on to marketing objectives, it’s time to get detailed. It’s not good enough to say you want to generate leads. How many leads and by when? It’s not good enough to say you want to attract strategic partners. How many? Set a goal and a deadline.

Consider long-term goals vs. short-term. If you set a goal for the year, set some quarterly benchmarks or monthly milestones to keep tabs on your progress.

Make sure your objectives are realistic and attainable, but with a bit of “stretch” for added motivation. Your marketing budget and staff resources will impact what you can accomplish. So think about what’s realistically possible within these constraints.

Be Results-Oriented

Objectives and tactics should include numbers, or metrics. This is so you can measure success. Almost anything can be measured or put into quantifiable terms if you really think about it.

For example, let’s say one of your broad marketing goals is “improve internal communications.” You could conduct a simple employee survey. Ask employees to rate how the company is doing in this area on a scale from 1-10. Then repeat the survey 6 months from now. Your objective in this case could be to increase the rating by 30% in 6 months.

Specific, results-oriented objectives are powerful. That’s why huge companies like Google use OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to focus their efforts.

Practical Tips

Data Mine. For clues on what results to aim for, look at your current data as well as industry and competitive data. For example, according to stats collected by MailChimp, the average email open rate in the Software and Web App industry is 20.95%. If your current open rate is 17%, then you might aim for 22%.

Evaluate. Honestly evaluate the success of past marketing efforts. How many leads and sales did these efforts generate? You may want to expand on activities that were particularly effective, and drop investments that were not.

Prioritize. You probably have a long list of goals and aspirations. Fantastic! But you might want to pare it down a bit if you’re just starting out as a small business or entrepreneur. Then try to prioritize the list. Flag the goals that will have the most meaningful impact on your business versus the other, more supportive goals.

Focus. Getting clear on your goals and objectives not only helps you decide what to work on, it helps you decide what NOT to work on, which is just as important. If an idea for a new marketing tactic comes to you, save it in a file and come back to it if you have time. Stay on track and stay focused!

Print. Print out your goals and post them in a prominent place in your office. This daily visual reminder will help you reach your goals.

Re-Visit. A year is a long time. So plan on reviewing your goals each quarter. Update your plan to reflect any new business or market changes. We’re talking tweaks here though for the most part, not radical changes, OK?

Setting your marketing goals, objectives, strategies and tactics will definitely take some time. But when you’re done, you’ll have a clear roadmap to get you where you want to go. You’ll feel more empowered and poised for success.

Need some help? Drop me a line. Here’s the infographic:

infographic with 30 example marketing goals

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