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Is your Marketing Objective SMART?

A strong marketing objective is the key to any successful marketing campaign. Before you develop your marketing strategy, you have to establish a clear and coherent goal, whether increasing market share or improving customer satisfaction. The objective should be a succinct statement that will guide the development and implementation of your marketing strategy. Often you will have multiple marketing objectives that target different avenues of growth.

Many advertisers use the SMART mnemonic to evaluate the efficacy of their marketing objective. SMART stands for specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and timed. A sound marketing objective has all of these qualities.

Specific -- “Increase sales” is much too broad a goal, while it may be at the heart of many of your marketing objectives. Specificity is actionable. Dictate not only the amount of increase, but the kind of sales. For example, if you are in the online retail business, you might set a marketing objective that is “increase average order value of online sales to $60 per customer”.

Measurable -- The objective must be set in measurable terms so that you can determine how successful the campaign is. The objective must be specific. Average sales increase, more subscribers to reach, or a greater percentage of market share are all measureable improvements. 

Achievable -- Set goals that you can reach. Marketing is not necessarily a place where you want to shoot for the moon and land somewhere in the stars.
If you are easily meeting your objectives, that is the time to get more ambitious.

Realistic -- Similarly, is your goal one that you can realistically accomplish? Do you have the tools, employees, and funds to meet your goal? If not, you will want to adjust the objective.

Timed -- The marketing goal should have a set duration during which you can evaluate the success of the marketing campaign. Instead of leaving the goal open-ended, clarify by what point you want to achieve your goal -- “Increase average order value of online sales to $60 per customer over 4 months”.

By honing in on concise marketing objectives, you can better gauge how successful your entire strategy is. If you continuously set and meet SMART objectives, you will be able to track the results of each implemented market tool. In the example of online retail, you might utilize sales and discounts for orders over a certain amount, and if that results in the desired increase of average sales, you can infer that those tools will be likely to drive sales in the future. Not only does specificity help you determine what works, but segmenting your strategy into multiple short-term objectives will make it easier to stay on track and hit your long-term goals.

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