How to Define, Set and Measure Your Marketing Objectives

Dahna M. Chandler

Successful small business owners recognize how essential it is to commit to ongoing marketing efforts for their products or services. Marketing management isn’t just a seasonal event. It’s a business activity you constantly conduct, setting year-round objectives to achieve specific marketing goals.

It’s vital for you, your marketing team or a marketing consultant you hire to work to develop a strategic marketing management plan. The most effective small business marketing plans consider important elements for defining, setting, executing and then measuring marketing plan outcomes.

Why Is Marketing Management Important?

Marketing management is vital because it involves setting marketing goals for your business with your internal resources and the marketing opportunities you identify in mind. It includes developing marketing strategies, establishing ongoing marketing goals and objectives, and executing a marketing plan. Because marketing management is part of your strategic planning process, it should get conducted to meet your overall business objectives.

As with any part of your strategic planning, the marketing management process works best when it’s an uninterrupted, routine part of your business. That also helps you adjust when internal and external changes bring new challenges and opportunities.

Marketing Management Definitions You Should Know

There are several definitions every business owner should know when they begin the marketing management process.

  • Marketing Mix: This is most commonly identified by “the four Ps” — product, price, place and promotion. They’re the tools you’ll use to reach your company’s strategic marketing objectives by meeting your target customer’s needs.
  • Target Market: Identified as customers or clients, these are the people or enterprises most likely to buy your product or service. You’ll want to know their demographics, the needs that your product or service meets for them, when and how they buy, and how to connect with them. You’ll leverage this information best if you create marketing personas for your potential customers or clients.
  • Market Research: Collect these data to understand if there’s a solid market for your product or service, its market segment, and target market segments. Also, learn who is competing with your business for your target market, and how they’re marketing their enterprise. Study your industry’s market dynamics, especially its seasonality, current pricing and sales of your product, and the industry vendors you must use to produce your product or service. There are several principal methods of doing market research, and you’ll want to learn which will be most effective for your business.
  • Marketing Communications: Another term for promotion, its fundamental aim is reaching your target market to influence its purchase decisions. It’s how you attract new and repeat business to your brand. By educating, persuading and keeping your product or service first in their minds, you build brand awareness and encourage customers to try your offerings over another organization’s. It also plays an important role in customer retention by supporting purchase decisions and providing additional education on the uses for your product or service. You use this strategy to build trust and reinforce relationships with secondary audiences like new target markets, retailers, vendors, industry press and other critical stakeholders, too.
  • Marketing Strategies: This comprises the promotional mix or the marketing communications tools you’ll use to reach your target market with your marketing message. They include digital and traditional advertising, social media marketing, thought leadership or other educational blog content, public relations, webinars or other training, and your website.

There are multiple other aspects of marketing management you’ll want to consider, from customer service to writing business letters. They all influence how positively your target market sees your brand, and whether they buy from yours or a competitor’s.

What Are Marketing Objectives?

These are the goals your brand sets to achieve a competitive advantage in your market. When they’re clearly defined, they help you establish where and how to focus your marketing resources and activities.

This pivotal part of a marketing strategy should support your business strategy, so revisit your business plan to ensure the two align. Then, ensure you define specific outcomes your enterprise can achieve that represent success based on your overall business goals.

How Do You Create Marketing Objectives?

Before you can create effective marketing objectives, you need to know your firm’s mission and target marketing goals. Those should come from your business plan, or you must construct those first.

That’s because achieving successful marketing objectives requires setting SMART goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Specific: The goal is precise, detailing what specifically you want to achieve. Rather than “I want to increase traffic to my website,” write, “I want to increase organic traffic to our website by 30%.”

Measurable: Use metrics or measurement tools to determine if you reached your goal. For example, compare numbers from your financials from one quarter to those from next to see if you are achieving your desired increase in business.

Achievable: Overnight success is rare. So, set realistic goals with the time, financial constraints and knowledge you have in mind.

Relevant: The goals should be market-oriented and related to your firm’s principal purpose and mission. To avoid the “new and shiny thing” syndrome, let your business plan help keep you on track.

Time-Bound: Make sure your goals have set time frames or due dates and set milestones to keep you on track, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

This process should involve your entire team and consider your key stakeholders. After determining your SMART marketing objectives, select both the marketing channels you’ll use to reach them. Choose the key performance indicators or KPIs you’ll use to measure their effectiveness. Be ready to adjust both based on what you learn while executing the marketing plan.

For example, is using digital marketing to get more organic traffic important to you or are increases in target conversion rate from that traffic the goal? Are you interested in getting more webinar sign-ups to replace the pre-COVID-19 in-person attendance at your business events?

By staying focused on SMART goals over time, you’ll be sure to reach your strategic business objectives.

Marketing Objective Examples to Get You Started

The marketing objectives that enterprises use depend on their business stage and position in the marketplace. It’s best to adopt only two or three at a time, and those you execute get determined by your business’ strategic objectives and what is best for your firm.

Increase Sales & Revenue

This may seem like an obvious marketing objective, but your focus may be as simple as selling more products or services.

Increase Profit

Selling more may not be the ideal way to achieve this goal. Reducing your overhead costs or cost per acquisition may be.

Increase Brand Awareness

If your company or brand is young or only known to a small audience, it might be in your organization’s best interest to focus on expanding your reach. Increasing your social media presence is an excellent way to introduce new audiences to your brand. Master the social media marketing basics for increasing your followers and succeeding on social media.

Promote New Goods or Services

If you’re introducing a new product or service, then one of your marketing objectives should include creating an effective promotional strategy for your new offerings. For consistency, your strategy for this marketing objective should align with your strategy for increasing brand awareness.

Grow Your Customer Base

This goal might be relevant if you already have a loyal client base or are trying to reach new audiences, customers and clients. Finding new customers requires targeted customer lead generation strategies specific to your audience.

Effective lead generation strategies include inbound or content marketing, like writing relevant blog posts or producing educational videos. You might start an email newsletter, if you haven’t already, or revamp the one you have. There are a variety of tools you can add to your marketing mix to grow your customer base. Research the ones that will work best for your business.

Retain or Up-Sell Existing Customers

Rather than focusing on acquiring new customers, concentrate on retaining and nurturing your existing customers or up-selling them. This depends on your business model. It might be an excellent strategy for your business if you have a high customer lifetime value.

But, if not, identify any reasons you’re losing customers and determine the best ways to keep customers loyal because it’s often more profitable and less stressful to keep current ones.

Expand into a New Target Market

Your company may have a goal of expanding into a new industry or area. This will require rethinking some of your strategic plans and developing solid expansion objectives. Make certain your business is positioned financially and with the right expertise for the expansion goals you want to achieve. This level of growth brings new challenges, and it’s important you’re prepared to meet them.

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