As a marketer, a lot of time is spent on identifying the objectives of any given campaign, and the marketing strategy overall. Setting these objectives gives everyone involved a focused framework in which to operate; the whole team knows what the target is, and can work together to get there. Setting these objectives can seem like a big job, but in fact it is fairly simple when we keep the SMART mnemonic in mind.
- Specific: Does the objective contain enough detail to measure problems and opportunities in the real-world? Is the objective clear?
- Measurable: How will the team know when the objective has been met? When do we stop measuring? Can a quantitative (or qualitative) characteristic be identified to develop a metric?
- Actionable: Will this objective help improve performance, eliminate a challenge, or increase revenue? If not, why are we doing it?
- Relevant: Does the campaign goal fit into the overarching goals of the marketing strategy? Into the overall business goals? Do the objectives address a specific problem or opportunity?
- Time-bound: When is the deadline? When will we know if the campaign was successful?
When identifying SMART objectives for business, many factors must be considered: the objectives for a particular campaign; the overall business goals and objectives and the company’s mission and values; and any legal and/or ethical challenges. And while we’re at it, we also have to make sure we are measuring the data that really matter and not just what’s flashy or exciting, such as fan and follower numbers on social media.
It sounds rather impossible, but it doesn’t have to be.
Let’s assume for the sake of this blog that we are marketers for a family-owned jewelry company called Jones Jewelry. The owners are ready to retire and pass the reins to their adult son (Sam) and daughter (Amanda), who will have complete freedom to run the company the way they wish. Sam and Amanda fought tooth and nail to convince their parents to build a website for the company, but they have had little luck persuading them to enter the world of digital marketing and social media. Now that they will be in charge, though, they are sitting down with us to develop a digital/social media marketing campaign to launch Jones Jewelry into the 21st century.
The overall goal of the business is to provide outstanding quality in both stones and settings while being an active member of the local community. The Joneses have spent decades building quality relationships with the town in which they operate, and they take a great deal of pride in the fact that they know most of the other business owners in town, and that they play such an important part in the lives of their clients. In fact, they have customers who have bought jewelry for engagements, weddings, new baby presents, graduations, and even funerals, representing a lifetime of moments both big and small in the lives of their customers. Sam and Amanda have no desire to change their family’s reputation or business model of developing real and lasting relationships with the public. They just want their name to reach a little further than the three-county region in which they have always existed. They are also planning to add e-commerce to the new website, so that people can shop online.
We have identified the platforms we want to build a presence on – Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. We’re also considering a LinkedIn account for business contacts, like gemstone buyers and sellers. Our initial goals might look something like this:
- Obtain 150 Facebook followers within three months.
- Drive 20% more traffic to the website by Q3.
- Follow and interact with ten new Twitter accounts each week for two months.
- Receive at least 15 RTs (retweets) or @mentions a week within 3 months.
- Increase website and in-store sales by 20% within 18 months.
All of these goals are very specific, measurable in a way that will allow for the development of a KPI (key performance indicator) that will help us keep track of our progress toward the goal, attainable, relevant to the overall goals of the business, and we have attached a deadline to each objective, so they are time-bound.
Legal and ethical implications of our SMART objectives must also be considered. We will have to make sure that the images we use on our website and social media platforms are all images of our actual products so that we meet truth in advertising requirements set forth by the Federal Trade Commission. We will also have to make sure that our content and advertising tactics are above-board, friendly, and not used to manipulate consumers in any way.