Don’t settle for weak marketing/communication objectives

How do you determine whether your marketing, communication or PR efforts are working? You track and measure results, right? But what if you don’t have specific objectives to measure? Then whether or not things are truly working is just a guessing game.

I’m surprised by the number of “plans” that I’ve seen that lack measurable objectives or any stated plan for measurement, and I’m continually amazed that CMOs and CEOs accept these from their internal staff or outside agency.

Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable and challenging. Many marketers make the mistake of having directional objectives such as “increase brand visibility” or “generate new leads” or “increase name recognition.” The problem with these kinds of vague objectives is there’s no way to tell when they’ve been achieved or even if they have that there’s been any worthwhile impact. For example, does a 1 percent increase in name recognition achieve the objective “increase name recognition”? I suppose that there was any increase would mean that it does, but in most cases a 1 percent increase isn’t significant enough to satisfy management – especially when you weigh this against what was spent to achieve the 1 percent increase.

Setting measurable objectives means assigning numbers, for example:

  • “Increase name recognition by 10 percent”
  • “Increase target market online sales 25 percent”
  • “Capture 15 percent market share in the IT conference segment”
  • “Increase blood supply by persuading 35 percent of non-donors to donate blood for the first time”

Moving objectives from generic and vague to specific and measurable makes accountability possible and gives a more realistic picture in terms of results.

If you’re being presented with plans that don’t have measurable objectives laid out, at the very least, send them back and ask for revisions.

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