Imagine, it is the end of the year. You have to sit down with your new CEO to discuss your marketing team's performance of the past 12 months.
Despite the great work your team did, you did not sleep well the night before. You are nervous, you feel uncomfortable in your skin and the feeling of impending doom follows you around all day. To better communicate your point, you put together a PowerPoint presentation to show him all the success you had in 2014. It includes statements like:
- You launched a social media campaign to aid the new product launch and it was very successful.
- You and your team were able to generate more leads than last year.
- Sales reported back to you they spend less time closing leads into customers because the leads were more qualified.
Congratulations, that is great. But words like "more", "less", "very successful" are not quantifiable or measurable and will not tell your CEO how your team contributed to the bottom line of the company. However, being able to report back exactly how your team contributed to your company's success, will not only empower you to prove the return on investment of the entire marketing team, but also set you up for success to negotiate next year's budget! This is such an important component of Inbound Marketing that I recommend all my clients to go through an extensive Inbound Marketing Gameplan Phase. I also spend time every month to check back to the smart goals I define with my clients to see what worked, what needs improvement and what is their ROI.
SMART Marketing Goals
By setting SMART marketing goals, you will be able to measure, analyze and report the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Here are three examples of measurable goals:
- Increase new contact rate (sign up for newsletter or submitting a form on website) by 50% (from 50 to 75 a month) with a new Facebook campaign for our upcoming product launch on Sept. 5th 2014.
- Generate 25% more leads (from 100 to 125 new contacts per month) by Dec 31, 2014 by adding 2 new top of the funnel offers to blog page and creating 4 blog posts a month.
- Create a formal Marketing-Sales-Agreement. This will enable marketing to send qualified leads to lower to cost of acquisition per customer by 14% in the next 6 months.
Those goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely: SMART.
S = Specific
When defining your marketing goals, be as specific as possible because the more specific you are, the easier it is to track what you are aiming for.
For example, brand awareness in an important goal for any marketing department but it is not specific and cannot be measured. Break out specific goals tied to visitors, leads, and customers and dive deeper into the source they come from: Organic, referral, social media, etc. Make sure those goals tie back to your bottom line!
M = Measurable
Only if the goal is measurable, you will be able to see and show improvement. Add specific numbers in the definition process and make sure you review them on an ongoing basis.
A = Attainable
This might be hard if you have not actually tracked the number of unique website visits or even your leads. But try to compare your goals to historic benchmarks wherever possible and find out if what you are trying to achieve is realistic or not. Take into consideration any major change in your marketing efforts - for example, the modernization of your website combined blogging will significantly increase your traffic and cannot be compared to historical data. On the other hand, if you have seen only a 2% increase in leads month over month, it is unattainable to reach for 20% increase if your marketing program stays the same.
R = Relevant
With every goal you define, you must ask yourself how it is related to your overall company goals. How does it contribute to company values? If you cannot find a great reason to pursue this goal, should you?
T = Timely
Every goal must have a timeframe otherwise you are formulating wishes. Ask yourself what a realistic time frame is to reach your desired result.
Next Steps: Review Your Marketing Plan for 2014
You are 4-5 months away from performance reviews. So, if you have not already built your marketing plan using the SMART formula, pull it out and review it. Can you define goals for the next 4 months that are smart? You might be able to review your current goals and rewrite them in a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely manner and report actual numbers and precise contributions of your team to your CEO.