Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tune up your marketing objectives

Where do you want your marketing plan to take you? Saying you want to achieve "growth" isn't going to help you formulate and implement an effective marketing strategy. Tighten up your objectives so they are:
  • Specific. Out with the vague, in with the particulars. Commit to a specific future target, such as increasing market share by 10% within 12 months.
  • Measurable. Quantify your objective. Even qualitative objectives, such as improving brand reputation, can be expressed in measurable terms. Start with research as a baseline of customer perceptions of brand reputation and then set an objective to increase the percentage of customers who perceive your brand's reputation in a favorable or very favorable light.
  • Relevant. Here's how to tell if an objective is relevant: If achieving it will move you closer to your company's overall goals and purpose, it's relevant. If not, don't bother.
  • Time defined. Check your calendar and set a deadline for achieving each objective. "Increase market share by 10%" is a practical objective only if you have a schedule for achieving it.
  • Challenging yet realistic. In a difficult economic climate, increasing market share by even 1% might be quite a challenge. During a period of strong economic expansion, this might be too timid a target. Set objectives that represent a bit of a stretch. But don't go overboard in stretching for an objective that's so far out of reach that it becomes demotivating.
  • Consistent. Who wouldn't like to dramatically increase both market share and profit margin at the same time? However, in the real world, it's often difficult to achieve both of these objectives simultaneously. Check that your objectives are consistent with each other--and that achieving one will not prevent you from achieving another.
Finally, be sure your objectives make sense in the context of your company's resources, strengths, competitive situation, and business environment.

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