All projects require goals to lay the groundwork for kick starting a project; they may be the most basic and yet the determining factor for deciding the future of the project. Goals define the ideal outcome of your venture; a project without goals is a directionless wish; something that may or may not be fulfilled. It is like running up and down the field during a soccer match, not knowing that the only thing you’re supposed to do is score. Like, score a goal. Because goal is both… look never mind. Sufficed to say, if your marketing plan doesn’t outline strong goals, you’re handicapping yourself at the very start of the race.

Keeping goals and objectives in the forefront of every project helps to ensures that the project and the team are on the same page throughout the projects life cycle. Inexplicably however, goal setting is often the step that is forgotten our ignored in the midst of the planning process- an unforgivable omission. As a result you end up with poorly defined goals and objectives or even worse, no goals, pushing a project into the super fun realm of unhappy clients, missed milestones and ultimately, the failure of the project.

Whether short or long-term, solid goals provide a clear understanding of what the company is striving to accomplish.  Therefore, in order to make the marketing process successful, goals have to be SMART. Smart as in, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Let’s break that down a little further.

Specific: What is it that you want to accomplish? This usually answers the 5 W’s (Who? What? Where? When? Why?) For marketing campaigns in particular, consider the big three metrics; visits, conversions and customers.

Measurable: Use defined, specific numbers, so that you’ll be able to chart your success.

Attainable: Is it realistic? The best way to ascertain this is with benchmark data from previous projects or campaigns. Know what is possible.

Relevant: Does this goal meet a need?

Timely: What is the deadline for meeting this goal? An overarching business-wide goal can have value, but more effective are a series of smaller, more manageable goals that build up to where you want to be.

As an example, consider the SMART Goal;

“Increase website visits by 20% (from 1000 to 1200) by Q3 next year”.

Is it specific? Hell yes it is, it seeks to improve visits. Is it measurable? For sure, it seeks 20% growth, from 1000 to 1200- that gives us a clear definition of success. Attainable and Relevant? Well, we’ll just have to assume so here, these will depend entirely on the company making this claim. Finally, is it Timely? Absolutely it is, they’ve given themselves until Q3 next year to get this done, a definite period with a hard endpoint.

So, as I hope you can see, setting goals is an important and helpful activity to achieve the dream with your team. It provides a clear way to measure the success of the company and helps to ensure that everyone understands what the prize is and what they are working towards. A good goal is the scope that focuses your business, so get out there and write some that will carry your project to success.