Marketing professionals are 376% more likely to report success when they set goals for themselves, according to the most recent industry survey.
Goals allow you to see what's possible, keep your eyes on the prize and give meaning to what may have seemed like impossible tasks. A goal is how you show your value and how much of a difference you make. But these goals have to be attainable -- they're useless if they're not rooted in reality.
The thing about goals, though, is that many people don't set them or don’t have real ones. Hitting your goal proves you're making an impact. We all want to feel like we're contributing, right?
These are the key areas for which marketing usually finds itself responsible, and they will ultimately influence your company's success in long-term growth.
The 7 Main Marketing Goals are:
- Increasing Brand Awareness
- Generate High-Quality Leads
- Nurture and Convert Leads to Customers
- Establish and Maintain Thought Leadership
- Increase Customer Life Time Value
- Thrill your customers and turn them into promoters
- Empower your whole team to consistently deliver your company message and Unique Values
You might recognize some goals more than others. But you should make sure your marketing goals are closely aligned with the business's mission and needs, or else they will do little good for the organization.
Let's explore each core marketing goal, and how we can make a SMART goal for each.
How do I connect marketing goals to business goals?
One of the most important steps in goal setting is making sure that your goals are aligned with business goals. That way, you can be sure that your marketing efforts are actually contributing to the company's success.
There are a few ways to do this:
1. Start by understanding the company's mission and vision. Marketing goals should be based on these values and should work to support them.
2. Look at the company's strategic plan. This will outline specific business goals that need to be met, and marketing goals can align with these objectives.
3. Use performance metrics to track progress. Marketing goals should be based on measurable data, so you can track whether or not they're actually having an impact
Don't Make marketing Strategies an afterthought!
Marketers should work to integrate marketing goals with business goals from the very beginning. You'll have a much easier time accomplishing your work if you know that it's helping the organization succeed, and your success is directly related to its success.
Let's take a look at each of the core marketing goals in detail -- including how to make a SMART goal for each one.
How can I track and manage my marketing goals?
One of the main failings of marketing teams and marketing success is not tracking success. Smart marketing goals are a tactic that will help you define specific, measurable goals.
We recommend setting up a spreadsheet, with your marketing goal, and results. This simple tool will help track all your marketing campaigns and keep them in alignment with key business objectives.
Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Tactics
A quick word on strategy vs tactics. Strategy is the overall action plan that takes you where you want to go, tactics are the individual steps and actions that will get you there.
Write down your strategy
For each marketing goal, you have in your organization spend some time, and write your goal.
Write the strategy you are following to reach the marketing objectives. It's important to write things down because it puts your thoughts on paper. A simple way to do this is to write the goal first. Wait a week, or a few days then write the strategy underneath it.
Write the specific tactics
I suggest Writing all the Goals, then spending some time resting. Then write out your marketing strategy to reach that goal. Then, fill in further the specific tactics to be used to accomplish your strategy and reach your goal.
USE smart Objectives
SMART - is an acronym for the technique of setting goals this way. Its name is an initialism of its five goal-setting criteria:
Think about your marketing goal, and how you can make it specific. Make sure that you can measure your goal on success or failure. When you set a time limit, you will be more likely to work towards this goal with some urgency.
Setting SMART marketing goals is about more than just naming your marketing objectives clearly. It's also about making sure that they meet specific standards of what makes them truly 'smart.'
Increase Brand Awareness
Firstly, a small to medium-size business should approach Brand Awareness very differently from a large company. You don't have the advertising dollars to spread out as far and target everyone. You need to focus on the target audience and customer personas that actually matter to your company.
Every brand has a voice that's key to the tone and topics they discuss. If your goal is to raise brand awareness, the first step is figuring out what that person's voice sounds like. This should be a personality and tone that is compelling to your target Personas. Consider Where your target personas spend time, including social media, industry blogs, conferences, and newsletters.
Increasing awareness of your brand is one of every marketing professional’s goals so that when a customer needs the service or product your organization provides, they think of the company first. Company brand awareness is an individual's familiarity with a company's name, image, and qualities. If consumers associate your brand with positive experiences, they are more likely to be return customers, support your mission and share the marketing content you produce. One of the great ways to help people feel confident about your brand is through branding because it shows that they can trust you.
Furthermore, you can create Marketing Assets - free content for your target audience to engage with them further like e-books, guides, checklists, templates, and educational videos.
Brand Awareness ideas are:
- Create a Highly Visible Website that ranks in Search Engines
- producing content that climbs Search Engine Rankings
- Sharing On Social Media interesting articles about your company or industry
- Creating polls to engage with your audience
- Posting on social media about the company's values will attract others with similar values
- Sharing your Marketing Assets such as videos, guides, e-books, and templates
- Sponsoring or participating in events your audience attends
- Digital marketing
- Awareness campaign to drive website traffic
- Hosting contests
Example SMART Goal for Brand Awareness
" I want to grow the organic traffic to the website by 20% over the next 6 months, by increasing our publishing from once per week to twice. "
Generate High-Quality Leads
Without maintaining a consistent flow of new leads, your sales department will never net the increase in profits and revenue that you want. Lead generation is one of the most common marketing goal examples. You're not their only source of leads, but it's safe to say your colleagues over in sales are depending on you to convert your website's highest-quality leads into new contacts to which they can reach out.
More Leads = Increasing Revenue
There are several factors at play. Increasing website traffic, and generating leads.
From tried-and-tested methods like on-page forms to innovative features like chatbots, there are many ways through which you can collect a website visitor's contact information. One of the biggest challenges a marketer faces is actually generating high-quality leads.
You need to prioritize the marketing ROI and make sure you're investing your time in strategies that will generate leads at a higher volume.
The key is identifying what type of content, offers or campaigns are generating which types of high-quality leads for you. Goals don't always have to be tied directly back to revenue - but they should always align with the overarching marketing strategy.
High-quality leads are individuals who might become new customers. Once you identify the type of consumer who is most likely to become a customer, you want to collect their contact information so the marketing or sales department can send them details and promotions about the company's product or services.
Some ways to Generate Leads are:
- Website forms and pop-up chats
- SEO efforts that increase website traffic
- Building quality Marketing funnels that delight
- Email newsletters
- Boost brand engagement on Social media
- Use Lead scoring and AI to narrow down qualified leads from contacts
- Promotions, coupons, free samples, or other incentives
- Webinars and events
- Targeted content
- Physical Mail Campaign
- Advertising tied to a lead capture
- Dedicated (trackable) phone number, placed on public transit, billboards, radio or television ads.
- Digital Marketing
Example SMART Goal for High-Quality Leads
" I want to generate one new lead on a weekly basis, by adding a chatbot."
Nurture and Convert Leads to Customers
Email Marketing is the number one way now - to stay in front of your prospects and top of mind. There are a number of ways to make sure that you’re doing your email marketing correctly. An email list of interested potential clients is practically a money tree. You can test new offers very quickly and easily with an engaged audience, and maintain a close relationship with your prospects.
- Don’t Spam. Ever. People opt in - to your lead capture, but if they unsubscribe, or you purchase a list of emails - you're at risk of a lawsuit or worse. There are rules, and also - why would you want to try and engage with those who aren't interested?
- Be Human - talk personably like you would speak to them face to face.
- Use a Commercial Marketing solution - There are many like Hubspot and Active campaign, Mailgun, Mailchimp, constant contact, or countless others. These will take care of a lot of the legal compliance, and allow mass mailing far above the limits of typical email services. They will also help with the deliverability, and bypass spam filters.
- Email regularly - This varies A LOT from business to business, and industry to industry; but at least once monthly - and probably closer to once weekly is better.
- Add Value - Give people a reason to open your emails, and engage with you. If there is no value they will start ignoring or blocking you. Make sure the majority of what you send adds value and maybe 1 out of 4 can include some sales call to action.
- Automate as much as possible - these tools are there and can perform the work of many people, and can act as a salesperson who never forgets or takes a vacation. Take the time to set up the system and review and refine it consistently.
Physical Mail Marketing and Lumpy Mail
There is something special about getting a letter in the 22nd century. Especially a letter that is lumpy - with something else in it. This is something you're not expecting and is sure to be opened right away. Inserting a sticker, or small magnet, or something else. This might sound silly but it is effective, and nowadays very few people are sending letters.
Highest Value Prospects can get sent a Shock and Awe Package
If you sell high ticket items especially, and you identify a really engaged prospect who - seems to be on the verge of making a purchase. There is a technique to just annihilate your competition. This is sending them a package. Think about when someone enquires about a product or service, and you email them a pdf with all the specs and pricing - they are satisfied because they got what they expected. Now if a day or too later a package arrived that would blow their mind.
This can be a little grey area - you don’t want to do something that is an apparent violation of ethics but sending some things that add further value are incredible at increasing conversions.
Example Shock and Awe packages your marketing team can send:
- White Papers
- Trinkets (magnets, stickers, figurines)
- A small sample of the product
- Handwritten note
I can almost guarantee this will wow potential customers and set you up; head and shoulders above your competition.
Example SMART Goal for Nurture and Convert Leads to Customers
"I will Increase my Nurture email open rate 10% by cleaning my email list of unengaged contacts over the next month"
Establish and Maintain Thought Leadership
Regardless of the industry, it is essential to prove you are an expert in your field. In fact, according to research conducted by LinkedIn and Edelman, 60% of decision-makers said thought leadership convinced them to buy a product or service they weren't previously considering. Think of the boost thought leadership would have on your customer acquisition.
Instead of focusing on awareness, thought leadership is about people recognizing your brand. And the people within your business as among the best at what they do. On the other hand, brand recognition is about making sure your brand is heard, seen, and recognized.
If people view your company as a thought leader in the industry, they will turn to it for expertise and advice when making important decisions that could potentially result in sales.
You can develop and maintain thought leadership by publishing and sharing content that addresses your audience's pains. Offering valuable insights, and crafting a story that is interesting.
Leveraging partner networks to ensure you're able to reach a larger audience and appear up-to-par with other industry leaders is another approach for thought leadership. Connections on social media platforms can help build authority. Building an external community is one way to work with other reputed brands, engaging in outreach as well as guest blogging.
When developing your thought leadership strategy, consistency becomes an important factor in maintaining it. Publishing and sharing your content consistently is important to be seen as relevant in your industry. You might consider hosting a webinar or panel discussion with other major industry leaders.
Example SMART Goal for Establish and Maintain Thought Leadership
"Generate 100 new website visitors, by publishing an article as a guest blogger for [example.com] next month."
Increase Customer Life Time Value
Increasing the Lifetime customer value (LTV) is almost always easier than getting new clients. One of the ways to really scale your business is finding ways to provide new products and services and reconvert past clients and increase the LTV. This should be a top marketing objective and business objective.
This is the most direct way of increasing LTV - Raising prices. Most businesses fear increasing the pricing, but there are ways to strategically handle the price raising - mostly by small amounts more frequently (5 % per year rather than 25 % after 5 years). And very likely if you're providing a great customer experience then your happy customers will probably not mind, and might not even notice.
One other key to raising prices is making it palatable, meaning giving your clients a logical reason why. If you need to sometimes add some small bonus (that does not increase your cost much) can be a great way to add more value and raise prices.
And if you have some really price-sensitive clients, as a last resort you can grandfather their pricing. Keeping them at a lower rate than incoming new clients.
Do you want to make that a meal? The famous McDonald's upsell. Upselling is one of the best ways to significantly increase your margin per sale and cumulatively increase the LTV.
I doubt anyone would argue that McDonalds has a high customer lifetime value compared with many of their competitors.
With a successful upsell process, you will be able to add on simple high-margin items and services, at the time that people are actually interested in purchasing.
- Determine which products get the best results.
- Offer upsells and cross-sells that make sense.
- If customers feel at any point that something's not quite right, they'll bolt.
- Make it a game for everyone on your team (Everyone's in sales)
Now that last part - You DON'T want to get too aggressive with this. But one very large corporation uses a Bingo game and anytime they upsell they get a number. If they get a Bingo - they get some reward. This gamifies upselling and encourages the whole team to be involved.
Ascent to Upmarket
Ascension is moving a client to a higher cost, higher-tiered product or service. Ascension should be a constant part of your marketing because oftentimes clients can really benefit from higher-level products and services; and as they start to outgrow their current plan they might start shopping your competitors. This is why you should present to them the move-up the offer before they get to that point.
Automakers are really good at this. You might start with a Ford Focus during college, and when you get your first post-graduation car -- well the mustang is waiting. As you get married and have children, well then you need to move into a pickup truck and your wife into the Ford Explorer.
This model also works really well for any Service provider that provides monthly billing. Internet service at a certain level - but want more bandwidth ⇒ than just move up.
And one other trick here - you can offer a really premium service or product that is 10x the price of the rest, and some will purchase it outright. Others will aspire to move into that higher-priced item. And a bonus effect is that it makes all your other offers seem much more reasonably priced.
Loyalty Program - coupons - Incentivize more frequency
Another key aspect of increasing the LTV - is increasing the frequency of purchasing. People are busy, and they don’t always remember to do things in a timely manner even if it benefits them. So sending reminders in a timely manner to business with you can pay off big time.
And another great strategy is to incentivize them to make more frequent purchases. Programs like coupons, once a purchase is made (Don’t discount on the front end). This incentivizes people to return (especially if those coupons are only valid for a certain period of time).
One company that uses these tactics very successfully is Kohls here is a brief breakdown of their program:
- It’s easy! Shop during a Kohl’s Cash earn period and get $10 Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend.
- You’ll receive Kohl’s Cash as a coupon when you shop in-store, or in an email if you shop Kohls.com or at a kiosk
- Look for the redemption dates on your Kohl’s Cash Coupon, or in the email, you received when you shopped Kohls.com or at the kiosk.
Do you see how they are not discounting - but they are incentivizing more frequent purchases. This is such a simple program that works on so many levels psychologically, Kohl's cash (branding), Feels like a bonus when you make a purchase, and because of the time frame, there is an element of scarcity.
Reconvert Past Customers
Past customers are a great source of new sales. People that trusted you enough to make a purchase at one point, and for many various reasons haven’t made a purchase since. This is often a great place to start if you need to make some quick wins, because all the hard work of getting them to know you, like you, and trust you is done. And as long as you provide excellent service, they won’t have a problem working with you again.
Some keys to reactivating some past clients are:
- Send them a valuable note in the mail.
- Regularly request customer feedback.
- Host a customer event
- Send them your favorite business book.
- Share their content on social media
- Target Customers When They Have Extra Cash to Spend
- Call them with a clear purpose.
One of the best calls to make is to ask why they haven’t returned. If it’s because of something you did wrong - when appropriate apologize and explain the corrective actions you have taken. And if anyone is reactive - after a short period of time, call them back, and make sure they are happy, which will make them feel special.
Example SMART Goal for Increase Customer Life Time Value
"Increase the LTV 20% in the next 6 months by consistently offering 2 upsells at the point of sale".
Thrill your customers and turn them into promoters
One thing that separates regular businesses from extraordinary ones - is the number of client promoters. These are the clients that love working with your business and speak favorably about you to their network of contacts (and on social media).
There is a number that many organizations use to call the Net Promoter Score. By increasing the net promoter score (NPS) it has been proven to increase revenue.
The NPS is determined with a simple survey. How likely are you to recommend XYZ company? (usually on a scale of 1 - 10.) Then the formula is:
(count of survey answers that are 9-10) - (Count of survey answers that are 1-6) = NPS
We all want the best for our business and a world-class experience. Some small or medium businesses might not have that luxury, but there are steps you can take to attract and create more client promoters. Some steps that that world-class businesses employ:
Continually focusing on wowing customers
- Focus on creating lifetime relationships
- Make it fun and easy to deal with
- Create a sense of theater or entertainment around your products and services
- Have systems to reliably and consistently deliver a great experience
Don't be tempted to stop your marketing efforts once someone purchases, the transaction is just the beginning of the relationship.
Sell them what they want but give them what they need
Henry Ford famously said:
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
What Henry Ford delivered was a solution that people didn’t even really realize they needed. What I want you to remember is that even though many will sell their product or service and leave the follow through and implementation up to their client -- In the client's mind they purchased something, didn’t get the results they wanted, then they write off your product as something that doesn't work.
At best this mindset can lead to one-off sales, and at worst leaves your company being labeled a scam. Maybe this is unfair, but with the popularity of forums, social media, and more; people can very easily share negative feedback.
What this means is, you will want to plan on spoon-feeding your customers through the process of getting the results they want and need. IF you fail to do this, your brand perception will probably be a low margin, commodity business only competing on price - with price comparisons only a few clicks away.
Good leadership is an attractive quality, and most customers want to be led into a solution. If you take the initiative and hold their hand through the setup and implementation of your products or service you show great leadership. If you find a way to package your products to anticipate and overcome roadblocks and help your customers achieve results - this will pay off for both of you.
This is the foundation of creating a group of clients who are also promoters.
Keep Existing Clients Engaged
A customer would put in a lot of effort if they have to search through pages of knowledge base articles to find the one they need. And put in minimal effort if they call a service rep and get their answer immediately.
There's ample evidence that, at times, the ease of a given experience is a better indicator of customer loyalty than simply measuring customer satisfaction. In addition, loyalty is a true pillar of successful businesses in an increasingly competitive landscape.
That's why CES is popular with customer success teams. Instead of asking how satisfied the customer is, you ask them to gauge the ease of their experience.
Customer Effort Score rose to popularity in 2010, with the publication of an HBR article entitled Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers. The article is illuminating, if not for the quality and depth of the research than for the unexpected finding: The easiest way to increase customer loyalty is not through wowing your customers, but instead through making it easier for them to do what they need to do.
This quote is an excellent summation of the article: "When it comes to service, companies create loyal customers primarily by helping them solve their problems quickly and easily."
This is a huge component of customer loyalty goals. Fast quality customer service. the will keep existing customers happy.
As understanding the level of effort it takes to interact with your business can significantly impact success, it's essential to know when to use CES surveys.
Immediately after an interaction that led to a purchase or subscription.
Immediately after an interaction with your customer service team or a service-related experience.
It's the strongest predictor of future purchase behavior (according to an HBR study wherein 94% of customers reporting low effort said they would repurchase, while 88% said they would increase their spending).
It's a strong predictor of referral likelihood, as 81% of customers reporting high effort say they would speak negatively about the company to others.
Example SMART Goal for Thrill your customers and turn them into promoters
"Improve our CES score 10% over the next 6 months by adding an additional person to the Customer success team"
Empower your whole team to consistently deliver your company message and Unique Values
Increasingly, marketing is taking on greater responsibilities for internal communications and training employees throughout the business. Do your colleagues know the target personas for your brand and what they need at each stage in the buyer's journey? It's important to ensure all new employees are given what they need in order to talk about the business with confidence and become ambassadors for your brand.
A top Marketing goal for not only your marketing team, but the whole business at large is for everyone to deliver the same message.
One of the best ways of aligning the company with the brand message and the Unique Value proposition is a really well-crafted Marketing Plan. This should offer a summary of all of your marketing efforts, ideal customer personas, and unique values.
Example SMART Goal for consistently delivering your company message and Unique Values
"In 1 month distribute the Marketing plan to the customer service team and have the customer service team add one representative customer quote to each contact persona"
In conclusion, there are seven main areas to establish a marketing goal around. We recommend you make 3 of your own smart marketing goals. Make sure you set smart marketing goals, and track the key performance indicators.