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WRITING SMART GOALS

According to this Psychology Today article, setting goals is linked to self-confidence, motivation, and autonomy. Additionally, psychologist Gail Matthews conducted a 2015 study on goal setting. She learned that you are 42% more likely to complete goals by just writing them down

SMART goals first emerged in 1981 when George T. Doran, a consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company, published a paper titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” In his writing, Doran writes,

 

“‘How do you write meaningful objectives?’- that is, frame a statement of results to be achieved, Managers are confused by all the verbal from seminars, books, magazines, consultants, and so on. Let me suggest therefore, that when it comes to writing effective objectives, corporate officers, managers, and supervisors just have to think of the acronym SMART. Ideally speaking, each corporate, department and section objective should be: (SMART).”

sketch of targetDoran’s original definition identified five criteria, which he noted that not every objective would make use of all five measures.

  • Specific: target a particular area for improvement.
  • Measurable: quantify, or at least suggest, an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable: specify who will do it.
  • Realistic: state what results can realistically be achieved given available resources.
  • Time-related: determine when the result can be achieved.

Over the years, the S.M.A.R.T goal criteria have changed to adapt to meet specific objectives. To write S.M.A.R.T. marketing goals, I modified a few of the requirements to meet the expectations of what is expected from a marketing goal: achievable and results-oriented.

SMART MARKETING GOALS

Without realistic, time-bound goals, it becomes a challenge to achieve your desired results, regardless of your discipline. Imagine navigating a ship in the ocean without a navigational system; you’re bound to wander aimlessly and eventually run out of resources. The same can be said if you try to achieve results – at work, school, or personal life – without a plan. Thus, developing sound marketing goals is essential to managing the performance of your marketing initiatives.

When setting goals, it is best to use the SMART goal writing process. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. refers to:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results-focused
  • Time-bound

The key to setting and writing goals is the more specific and realistic you are about your goals, the better you can manage the goals and their outcomes.

However, before I dive into each SMART goal component’s meaning, I want to share a few examples of SMART marketing goals.

Example Marketing Goals (Objectives)

The following marketing goals are similar to what you may find in a typical marketing plan:

  • to increase sales of (specific) product/brand X by 15% over the next 18 months
  • to increase market share for product/brand X by 7 percent (in a particular region) over the next 12 months
  • to generate 200 new leads via the website each month
  • to increase distribution of product X (in a specific region/territory) from 15% to 30% within 12 months

Notice that the above marketing objectives already follow the SMART goals format; they are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.

How to Apply Each Letter of the SMART Goal

In the following copy, I will explain the different parts of the SMART goal and provide you an example in terms of writing SMART marketing goals. Again, remember that you can use the SMART goal process for any goal setting initiative, such as personal, work, or school.

Specific:

A marketing goal should define what you are going to do. The Specific in the S.M.A.R.T. model answers the What, Why, and How of the plan.

Example:

The automotive parts division will increase car battery sales by 10% over the next 12 months using cross-selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies to increase revenue to hire a new counter salesperson.

Explanation: 

  1. What = Automotive parts division will increase sales of car batteries by 10%.
  2. How = By using cross-selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies.
  3. Why = To increase revenue to hire a new employee, a counter salesperson.

Measurable

sketch art of man lThere should be concrete evidence that you have accomplished your marketing goal or objective. Typically, the entire goal statement is a measurement for the project.

Example:

The automotive parts division will increase car battery sales by 10% over the next 12 months using cross-selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies to increase revenue to hire a new counter salesperson.

Explanation: 

The measurable metric is whether the parts department increased sales by 10% within the 12 months.

Achievable

Marketing goals should be achievable. The goal should challenge you, yet be defined enough so that it is achievable. To be feasible, you must have the proper resources: skills, personnel, and finances.

Almost all realistic goals can are achievable when you plan each step and establish a timeline. By following steps, you can achieve marketing goals that seemed impossible. On the other hand, if you develop impossible goals, you may never reach them.

Example:

The automotive parts division will increase car battery sales by 10% over the next 12 months using cross-selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies to increase revenue to hire a new counter salesperson.

Explanation: 

To achieve this marketing objective, you must have a skill-set in selling and direct marketing techniques. Without these skills, you will not be able to accomplish these goals.

Results-focused

Marketing goals should measure outcomes, not activities. Hence, goals are result-focused.

Example:

The automotive parts division will increase car battery sales by 10% over the next 12 months using cross-selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies to increase revenue to hire a new counter salesperson.

Explanation: 

The result of this marketing goal is the ability to hire a new counter salesperson and to increase revenue over the past years’ performance.

sketch of hourglassTime-bound

The marketing goal should link to a time-frame that creates a practical sense of urgency.

Example:

The automotive parts division will increase car battery sales by 10% over the next 12 months using cross-selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies to increase revenue to hire a new counter salesperson.

Explanation: 

The next 12 months provides a time-bound deadline. The marketing goal can still be more specific by offering a precise end date.

The Takeaway

Writing goals is essential for your success. Specifically, writing marketing goals is critical to the success of any business navigating the marketing environment. Using the SMART goal methodology can help ensure that goals are realistic and achievable on time. These lead to a focused, intentional, and methodical approach toward reaching personal, academic, or business success.

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