Get S.M.A.R.T.E.R:

We all love celebrating quick wins, but are we celebrating the right wins? Playing softball in college for Northern Kentucky University, my personal “win” was hitting at least .300 every season; however, stepping back, my goal was just one piece of my team’s success equation. The real data point that mattered was the team edging out a win record great enough to move into the conference tournament and compete for the real prize – an NCAA tournament berth.

As marketers we frequently have the chance to manipulate data to show a positive success story even if we’re on a losing team. My challenge to you midyear is not to fall into this trap — it will drop you into the losers’ bracket quickly. As we turn to marketing planning for the back-half of the year I suggest setting SMARTER objectives and goals to prep you for the next season ahead. Why add –er to the familiar SMART mnemonic? In this digital age, I am a strong advocate of evaluating and re-evaluating. Read on to learn why.

The S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Tool

“S” – Specific

Define your objectives and goals with no ambiguous language so all parties, both internal and external, are on the same page. Make it clear who is involved, what you want to accomplish, where your goal will be achieved (regionally, nationally or internationally), why you’ve set this particular goal (e.g., to be the market share leader in a category), and which constraints and requirements you’ll encounter.

A common driver of ambiguous language stems from not knowing who you are. If you aren’t sure if your brand has a strong core, my colleague Sarah Fry explains some of the indicators of a fit brand in her blog post earlier this month.

“M” – Measurable

Ensure the goals you set can be tracked and measured—quantitatively or qualitatively. As a collegiate athlete, I loved clear goals with numbers. If I wanted to hit lead-off then I knew I needed to be on base over .500 and hitting at least .300. If I didn’t hit these goals, then I lost the batting slot. There are similar parallels for business. If you want the promotion, you need to hit X% increase in sales or account growth. If you want to be the market share leader, then you need to grow your customer base by X amount to achieve X amount of revenue.

“A” – Achievable

We all want to be the best, but is “best” achievable? Look back at your historical trends and the trends of similar competitors to ensure your goal is feasible. The internet gives us a wealth of information for benchmarking—do your homework. Also, remember, employees do not like to be losers. Achievable goals keep confidence up and will empower your employees to drive your brand forward.

“R” – Relevant

Set relevant goals that will support your primary business objectives and then identify relevant metrics. Vanity metrics are frequently used in reports (especially with social media); but, if your No.1 business objective is to be the eCommerce share leader in your respective category by 2018, the amount of likes on your Facebook page or Twitter page does not indicate success. If becoming an online share leader is your primary goal, monitoring your click-through rate paired with your website’s conversion rate may be the smarter metric to focus on if you want to track sales. You’ll also want to make sure that the comparison is “apples to apples” and that the population analyzed is statistically significant.

“T” – Time-Bound

Establish a timeframe for hitting your goal to drive urgency and prioritization within the company—be specific down to the day, month and year. Setting timelines will ensure goals are hit in a timely manner in work environments where everyone is juggling multiple responsibilities.

“E” – Evaluate

Are you moving on-track or veering off-course? With each goal determine what is the right time to assess performance and remember that certain campaigns and initiatives need time to run before changing course. With data from Google Analytics, Sprinklr, Hootsuite and Cison at your fingertips, you can track progress in real-time as needed. Google’s new offline sales tracker tool is another option as in-store tracking becomes available online.

“R” – Re-evaluate

As marketers in the digital age, we can now quickly adjust course if data tells us we’re underperforming. If you are unsure about who your audience is for a product or event, or you are trying to figure out how to communicate your key benefit so that it resonates with your customer, the opportunities for testing and learning are endless. Try A/B testing your visual or verbal message on a website, display media, Facebook, Twitter, or online focus group and find out where you should invest your dollars.

Be sure to map out what you intend to test to monitor your set goals and strategies. Take a small failure versus a big failure with test and learns. Personally, my favorite channel for test and learns is Facebook because of the large audience reach, fast availability of data, and the ease of quickly loading new creative. Optimizely or Monetate are good web testing tools to consider; however, they do have upfront costs for licensing.

Looking for a partner to collaborate on reaching your objectives and goals next year? Intrinzic is here to help power your brand into the future.

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