August 20, 2018 | By: Tony Mastri

How to Set Marketing Goals (vs. Objectives) With Examples

In the business world goals and objectives are often used interchangeably. In actuality there are key differences between the two.

Goals tell you where you’re going as opposed to how you’re going to get there. On the other hand, objectives are specific and measurable milestones that must be achieved in order to reach a goal.

What Is a Marketing Goal?

A marketing goal is a broad aim toward which your efforts are directed. Marketing goals don’t have to be specific. Because of their open-ended nature, setting only marketing goals is not the ideal way to achieve something in your business.

To gain a better understanding of marketing goals, let’s look at a few examples:

  • I want more customers to visit my website
  • I want to rank on page one of Google
  • I want a massive social media following

While these goals tell us what we want to accomplish they don’t tell us how to get it. Despite this fact, marketing goals are important because they lay the foundation for your marketing endeavors.

What Is a Marketing Objective?

Where marketing goals are broad statements, marketing objectives are measurable and specific. The best way to describe an objective is with the SMART acronym:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Attainable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Timed

An objective is created when you meet the requirements of the SMART acronym. To get a better idea of a proper marketing objective let’s look at a few examples:

  • We need to create 50 customers from 5,000 leads within the next 6 months from our marketing efforts to reach our revenue goals of $200,000.
  • We want to achieve the number one rank for “Big Screen TV” because it drives an estimated 1,000 visitors to our website every month.
  • We want to grow our Instagram account by 50,000 followers in the next 5 months, so it can coincide with our new product launch.

Objectives are the stepping stones to reaching your marketing goals. They lay out the specific steps needed so you can take action.

Marketing Goals Vs. Objectives

A marketing goal is a broad target that you hope to achieve. A marketing objective is an actionable short-term step that you execute. You will need to design and implement several objectives to achieve your overarching marketing goal.

what are some marketing goals and objectives?

How to Set Marketing Goals

Before creating your objectives, you need to create your marketing goals. Let’s look at the process of creating goals for your organization so that you can lay the groundwork for your future marketing campaigns.

1. Go over your mission statement with your team

Do you know your mission statement? Your mission statement defines why you’re in business in the first place, and it should drive your entire marketing strategy. As you define your marketing goals ask yourself whether it helps you to fulfill your mission statement.

2. Set your marketing targets

Ask yourself this one question — “What does my business hope to accomplish?” Essentially, this is the ultimate goal your marketing team is striving to accomplish by the end of an upcoming time period.

If you’re setting a short-term goal, you might be considering the next quarter. A mid-range goal might account for the next year, and a stretch goal might be set for five years from now.

3. Set up a marketing strategy

The next step is to set up a marketing strategy. The strategy you put in place should help you achieve your goals. Let’s look at marketing strategy components you could implement to meet your marketing goals and objectives:

  • Generate leads by creating a blog that delivers helpful content
  • Create social media pages to promote your blog
  • Use paid advertising to reach out to new customers
  • Implement a long-term SEO strategy to rank well in Google to drive in organic traffic

From this point, you can go into more detail on how you plan to implement each step.

4. Tie in your marketing objectives

We’ve already discussed the differences between marketing goals and objectives. Now you must tie the two together through the strategy. For example, let’s say your marketing goal is to increase your conversion rates by 50% in 12 months.

One corresponding piece of your marketing strategy is to implement an SEO strategy that helps your rank well in Google and generate organic traffic. A marketing objective you can implement to support your strategy and reach your goal would be to optimize your nine main organic landing pages for specific keywords so that they make it into the top five spots on Google.

Perhaps you want to deliver on this objective by optimizing three pages per month over the first quarter, so you can reach your 12 month goal in time. Remember, where goals are broad, objectives are specific.

5. Measure the results

The last step is one of the most important. You need to figure out how you intend on measuring your results, so your marketing department can present progress reports, and learn from the data.

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You must also establish how often you intend on receiving these reports (weekly, monthly, quarterly). Once you’ve figured out your timetable, you need to figure out the specific KPIs (key performance indicators) you intend to track.

You may be tempted to track every KPI you possibly can but try to sort out the metrics that are the most relevant to your business. Once you’ve identified what those are you’ll be much more focused as you move forward tracking your results.

how do marketers use data to identify goals?

How to set marketing objectives

Once you’ve set up your marketing goals you’ll have to set up marketing objectives (as mentioned in Step 3 above) to help you accomplish those goals.

1. Learn how much revenue you need from your marketing campaigns

Let’s say your business generated $5,000,000 in sales during the last year. Next year you set marketing campaign goals to scale up your sales by 50%. Your marketing objectives have to be structured to generate $7,500,000 ($5,000,000 x 1.5) in sales over the next 12 months.

2. Identify how many sales you need to reach your revenue goals

To make this determination, divide your revenue targets by the value of your average sale. Therefore, if you need to generate $7,500,000 and your average sale is $100,000 then you will need to close 75 customers over the course of the next year.

3.  Identify how much traffic you need to achieve your goals

To reverse engineer your traffic numbers, you need to figure out your traffic-to-lead conversion rate and your lead-to-customer conversion rate based on historical data.

Let’s say that data from the previous three years shows that your average traffic-to-lead conversion rate is about 0.5%, and your average lead-to-customer conversion rate is 5%. This means that you’ll need 1,500 leads to realize 75 customers, and you’ll need 300,000 visitors to realize 1,500 leads.

At the end of the day, you need to drive approximately 300,000 visitors to your site over the course of the next year if you hope to reach 75 customers.

There are several important assumptions you make while using the above data. Two of which:

  1. You plan to generate traffic in the same manner that you have during the past three years (from which you’ve calculated your averages).
  2. Your pricing and promotions are still set up in such a way that your average sales will be consistent with the previous year’s.

4. Set up benchmarks

Keep in mind that the process of setting up marketing goals is not quick. It takes time to build momentum. That’s why you should set up quarterly benchmarks to track your progress. As you build momentum set your benchmarks higher and higher for each quarter.

Therefore, the second quarter should be set higher than the first, the third should be higher than the second and of course the fourth should be the highest of them all. For example, if you intend to drive 70,000 visitors to your website during the first quarter, you should plan on driving 72,500 in the second, 77,500 in the third, and 80,000 in the last.

Implementing Marketing Goals Vs. Objectives for Your Business

As you set up your marketing goals and subsequently your marketing objectives, you’ll find there’s always room for improvement. Your marketing strategy won’t be perfect the first time around, but that’s why you track metrics so you can make improvements as you go along. As you move forward, you’ll identify the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing strategy, and you can make adjustments until you achieve your overarching goal.

If you need help setting up your marketing goals and objectives, we can help you. MARION is a full-service marketing agency that offers internet marketing services, graphic design firm services, and traditional marketing services.

If you’re ready to set up a viable online marketing plan for your business contact us today.


About Tony Mastri

Tony Mastri, Digital Marketing Manager at MARION, is an experienced agency and in-house digital marketer. With a proven background in content strategy, relationship-based link building, and technical SEO, he makes data-informed decisions that drive client growth.

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