Clear goals and milestones are critical to every organization that wants to achieve an objective. You’ve got to map out a path of success if you want to succeed. Businesses, charities, governments, and other organizations use the SMART acronym as a useful tool to make future plans. Whether you’re a small business owner or managing some aspect of marketing in a larger company, you can use SMART to create detailed goals to get where you want to be. Ross Kernez of Marble explains that with SMART marketing, you are able to set goals, measure your performance, and establish schedules to keep you on track. Here’s how you can use SMART to make things happen with creative marketing.
Smart stands for:
Here we’ll discuss each component and why it matters to your marketing efforts.
The best goals are specific goals. When you’re creating a marketing campaign, you want to have a clear picture of what success looks like. That will make the other pieces of SMART marketing come together more easily. This is especially important if you’re working with a team. If you manage others or contract out certain aspects of your marketing work, they need to know exactly what you want. You all need to be on the same page so you can move in the right direction. Specific goals leave little room for interpretation and keep people accountable to them.
You need to measure progress to stay on top of your goals. For example, if you set a six-month goal, but don’t check in every month or so to see how things are going, you’re setting yourself for potential failure. Just like athletes track how many miles they run and the time it takes them, you need to measure your efforts to ensure you’re making progress. How will you know if the money you’re spending on marketing is moving the dial at all? By measuring your spend and the results it yields. Thankfully, things like social media marketing and the availability of data analytics make it easier than ever to make measurable goals and monitor them accordingly.
It’s not realistic to plan for overnight success. It’s a good business practice, in all areas of work, to under-promise and over-deliver. Make goals for you and your marketing team that are attainable. This is a fine line to walk, for sure, because you don’t want to make goals that are so easy, they’ll accomplish themselves. Some products sell themselves. Make your marketing goals an attainable stretch that pushes you and your team just enough. You want to experience some level of achievement and success to keep you moving.
Everything you do in marketing needs to be relevant. Organizations take financial planning seriously, and the money you use for marketing should be focused. That’s not to say you should only be profit-driven. Some companies use marketing dollars to build publicity, grow an audience in a new demographic, or build public trust. Certainly, taken as a whole these efforts are tied to any business’ long-term success. The point here is to make sure any marketing campaign has a focus attached to it that’s relevant to what you’re trying to accomplish.
The time-based aspect of SMART marketing is a bit similar to measurable. You don’t want marketing goals to be so far out or without a timeline. That hurts motivation. People will start very motivated and lose motivation over time when they understand there is no finish line. That’s why so many businesses work on a quarterly-basis that breaks up each year into fourths. They see it as an appropriate amount of time to make changes or achieve a goal, and so long that it’s hard to change course. With a schedule, you can more easily map out what you need to do to accomplish your marketing goals.
SMART marketing is a great place to start if you feel like you’re unsure of how your marketing is affecting your business. Start by using SMART on a small scale. You can use it for a single marketing campaign and see what a difference it makes. As you become more comfortable with the model, you can push it into other areas of your business.