Quite often here on our blog, we talk about the importance of setting objectives. Before you understake any marketing campaign, we say while wagging our blog finger, make sure you as a company set your objectives. What if setting objectives is hard for your company, however? Many companies get so entangled in the details that setting a big picture objective can be elusive. We thought we’d use our five tips today to offer ways your company can set your objectives effectively and efficiently.
1. Let everybody talk
Depending on what your responsibility is at a company, your idea of a good objective may vary wildly from where other people want to go. For example, the sales department most likely will want the company to shoot for more sales. The marketing department, however, may want to set the objective of creating more webinars throughout the course of the year. Both objectives can be met, so there is no reason to shout anyone down. Let everyone have their say. So long as ranting does not start, it can be a valuable learning experience for all parties involved.
2. Don’t just rely on your gut
It’s easy to say things like, “I feel like we need to lower our prices because I just know our competitors are killing us on price.” Do you actually know that’s true, however? Make sure that when you set an objective its foundation is solid. If you work towards setting an objective that ultimately wasn’t necessary, you could be starting already in the hole, and other more important objectives will be ignored.
3. Be aggressive but realistic
Few things are worse for company morale than failing to meet objectives or goals on a regular basis. If you want to motivate your sales team to increase sales, set a high goal, but don’t set the bar so high so that success becomes impossible. If you want your marketing to create more conversions, set a reasonable expectation for how much those numbers can increase. You do not want people to get lazy thinking they can meet their goals in a nanosecond, but you also don’t want to set everyone in your company up for regular failure.
4. Consider your customers and competitors but don’t be ruled by them
Often we encounter companies that refuse to set any objectives unless those goals are tied directly to something a customer said or something a competitor is doing. Sometimes companies will refuse to advertise in a really good publication just because their main competitor is not there. Don’t get us wrong – keeping your customers and your competitors in mind is essential and they should certainly be a part of your considerations. However, your company’s objectives cannot be ruled 100% by external forces. That is how you lose control of what goes on within your own walls.
5. Make sure there is a way to measure success
It’s easy to set a goal like, “We want to increase sales by 5%.” However, it’s important to make sure you have a way to track how close you come to meeting your goal. Setting objectives is really only have the battle. The other half is seeing if you reach your goals, and the only way you can do that is to have ways to measure your success. If you can’t think of a good way to determine your success, your objective probably needs to be refined. A good example of this problem can be seen with companies engaging in social media marketing. Perhaps they decided to jump onto Twitter because they wanted to “increase brand awareness.” However, are they really measuring what impact their tweeting is having on their share of voice? Perhaps they are simply looking at the number of followers instead, a faulty metric as so many Twitter accounts are spam-bots or inactive accounts.
How do you or how does your company approach the process of setting objectives? We’d love to hear from you!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/4207563765/ via Creative Commons