The festivities have subsided and 2018 is here! Every new year brings about a seasonal renewal of positivity and motivation to accomplish bigger and greater things. Which is why it’s not surprising that new year’s resolutions have become a popular part of the renewal process. However, many people who set resolutions struggle to accomplish their goals for a variety of reasons.
The same can be said about business and more specifically, marketing. At the end of every year, you probably ponder how your marketing efforts are doing, evaluate each channel’s performance and may even come up with a list of areas you’d like to grow and improve on during the upcoming year. However, as we all know, business can be hectic and these goals more than likely get lost in the ensuing commotion that is business. So how do you set goals that are realistic, attainable and are sure to improve your marketing plan in the new year? Enter the SMART goal creation strategy. The SMART method can do wonders when not only setting goals, but monitoring how you are progressing towards those goals. Let’s dive right in to the SMART approach.
The first step may seem simple, but forms the foundation of everything going forward. When setting goals, you should make sure that they are specific and not open to interpretation. This allows you to have a concrete goal in place that’s straightforward so that it’s much easier to identify and communicate.
Goals should be easily measurable so that they can be tracked and managed throughout the goal’s lifespan. This becomes critical during the execution of your plan so that you can measure whether your efforts are actually effective and contributing towards meeting said goals.
Businesses often overlook or forget to make certain that their goals are actually attainable. Don’t get us wrong, it’s great to be ambitious, but if a goal isn’t realistic then it can result in over-investing into a marketing plan without the proper resources to support it. This tends to lead to stretching your resources thin leaving cracks in other areas.
It’s crucial for goals to also be relevant. This is the first time where the “so what” question comes into play because goals should relate back to your situational analysis and target a specific point within it. An example would be combating the threat of increased competition by including additional value adding benefits to increase your overall customer experience, thus adding to the uniqueness of your brand.
No matter what goals you create, they should always be time specific. By including an end date, it gives you a timeline as to when you should have a goal completed by. This helps in determining when specific aspects of your marketing plan will be deployed. An example would be a clothing store wanting to increase t-shirt sales of a specific brand by 10% across the summer months over the previous year (June to August). This goal provides a specific end point and clearly identifies what needs to be met and by what date.
We all know that setting resolutions can be difficult to create and that sticking to one is even more challenging. But by taking the SMART approach you’ll be basing your marketing plan on a firm foundation that you can build upon. Just remember to trust in the process and don’t get discouraged if you experience setbacks. If you remain on course and continue working towards your goals the results will come!