Are Your Marketing Objectives Moving You In the Wrong Direction?
5 questions to keep you on the right track
It seems pretty basic, right? Every marketing plan is supposed to define how you will accomplish your marketing objectives. But, what if your marketing objectives are wrong? Or, maybe they are not flat out wrong, but not as precise as they need to be? Think of all the time, energy, talent and money spent working on things that aren’t actually getting the intended results.
Take a close, hard look at your marketing objectives. Here are 5 questions, some easy and some a little tougher, to help guide you through your review:
- Are they written down?
Simple enough. But, you would be surprised at how many companies don’t take the time to put them on paper. Why? First, the act of writing them forces you to think carefully about the objectives and craft them in the best way possible. Second, putting them on paper is an act of commitment. It actually makes them real, even though you haven’t accomplished anything yet. Third, writing them down makes them a hell of a lot easier to share them. (And, you need to share them, you know?)
- When were they updated?
What makes you think that the objectives you wrote last year are still relevant today? Haven’t things changed in your business (new markets, products, team members coming and going)? What about outside your business, e.g., competition, customer preferences, technology, regulations? I recommend reviewing all of these issues and more on a regular basis and making sure your marketing objectives reflect those changing factors.
- Who participated in the planning process?
Did you work up the objectives all by yourself; maybe late at night with a nice scotch whiskey? That may be fine for the first draft. But, after that, you need to bring in your brain trust. Tap your entire marketing team, your agency, and any trusted advisors. Oh, and don’t forget to bring the company’s sales leaders in on this. I would also reach out to operations. Nothing is worse than making marketing promises that the company can’t actually fulfill. Well, maybe there are worse things. But, that’s pretty bad.
- Are they vague or specific?
Vague objectives confuse rather than clarify. Since you are going to need a lot of help to pull these off, you need to be sure everyone is on the same page. You cannot be too specific and cover all the bases. For example, here’s a very specific marketing objective:
Generate 1,000 qualified new customer prospects with accurate contact information for Brand X widget product line in the Southeast USA region by June 30, 2015.
- Are they connected to the buyer’s journey funnel?
Using the precise and specific objectives, like the one above, you’ll be able to develop additional supporting marketing objectives that will focus your efforts even more, to steer your efforts to the big objective. I strongly recommend that these supporting objectives factor in your prospective customer’s buyer’s journey funnel stages (see my recent blog article on the new business funnel). That way, using your knowledge of your customer’s buying process and behavior, you’ll be able to define objectives that will guide how the prospect is converted to a customer through each stage of the funnel.
So, give your objectives a quick audit and let me know what you find. If you stumble along the way, I’m here to help. Call or shoot me e-mail.