- Financial objectives involve the use of marketing to achieve specific financial results (such as sales revenue, profitability, or ROI). The Australian luxury retailer David Jones sets objectives for sales revenue, profit margin, inventory turns, and more—and it manages to those objectives while nurturing its customer relationships.
- Marketing objectives involve the use of marketing to manage key relationships (such as customer or channel relationships) and key activities (such as product development or market share). Hormel Foods sets the market-share objective of ranking no lower than second in the product categories where it competes, as a way to build loyalty and combat private-label competitors.
- Societal objectives involve the use of marketing to achieve social-responsibility results (such as improving the natural environment or helping the local community). Timberland sets objectives for making its products greener every year and uses Green Index labels to reflect the environmental impact of each product.
It's a mistake to ignore societal objectives in your marketing planning. Why? First, customers need a good reason to choose your offering or brand when they open their wallets. If you have a moral purpose behind your marketing, that may very well tip the balance in your favor. Second, differentiating yourself on the basis of social responsibility sends a more powerful message than competing on the basis of price. And third, by aligning yourself with ideas and movements that make a real difference, you earn the attention and admiration of customers, employees, suppliers, distributors, and other groups important to your organization's success.