Every strategy needs: SMART objectives

This blog post is almost an extension of the previous one – the fact that, increasingly, marketing is required to show a return on investment.

Of course, this also means that objectives for your annual strategy need to be SMART: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound.

As you dissect these elements, it gets confusing because they all seem to talk to each other and then they seem to overlap and you feel like you’re repeating yourself. So let’s do a quick overview of each element.

Specific means that the goal needs to have four corners – a beginning and an end – you need to be able to box it. This may feel like you’re pigeonholing your work – never mind. Give the bosses what they want, and you get to keep your job and grow your brain at the same time. Here is an example: the spend& win competition needs to bring in 20,000 entry forms by the time it is finished, and the campaign runs for 6 weeks.

Measurable is of course linked to this, so now instead of repeating yourself, become more specific: people have to spend R500 to enter the competition, so by the end of it, if we reach our goal of 20,000 entries, we can definitively attribute R10 million in sales to the competition directly (20,000 entries x R500 per entry = R10 million). This is measurable, and the finance people cannot argue with it.

Actionable means that you need to be able to do things to make the goal work. So in this case, it would be entry forms, entry boxes, adverts and posters to make people aware, and staff training so that tenants and info desk assistants can educate shoppers and drive the sales.

Realistic means that it needs to be achievable. So set a goal that will stretch you, but not break you. 20,000 entry forms for a super-regional centre over 100,000m2 is a piece of cake, but it may be a lot more difficult for a 5,000m2 convenience centre that’s tucked away in a little suburb off a main road.

Time-bound (or timeous) means that the goal must be achievable within a certain time period. In this case, you have made the competition run for 6 weeks. So then break it down more – that means over 3,000 entry forms a week, or about 500 forms a day. Is this reasonable? Do you have the staff to be able to do this?

Can you see how SMART actually makes a campaign far more interesting to run – because you can check your progress? Embrace it, and grow.

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