When creating objectives it is important to narrowly define both the desired outcome and the means to evaluate success. SMART marketing allows you to do just that. The acronym stands for setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Below is an introduction into each aspect of SMART marketing and how it can help you achieve and exceed your goals.
Specific: Narrowly defined goals keep you on track and identify where advantages and opportunities lie for your business. Plus, they define terms of success. A popular method to develop specific goals is to answer the 5 “W’s”: who, what, when, where, and how.
For example, saying you want to put more patients into hospital beds would be a very broad goal and therefore not very effective. This goal does not outline how you plan to accomplish the task or which patients you’ll be targeting. A better example of setting a goal that is specific is saying that you want to increase the number of patients in hospital beds by 15% (what) over the next 12 months (when) through targeting a nearby suburban city (who) that has a higher than average income (why) through a PPC campaign (how). The number is important, particularly as we get to the measurable aspect of SMART goals.
Measurable: It is vital that we set goals in a measurable format to evaluate the success of our actions. Determine how you will measure the success of your campaigns to easily see successes and failures and make necessary improvements.
As in the previous example, by setting a goal to increase patients in hospital beds by 15% within the next year, we can evaluate the campaign success when we review in a years’ time. This also allows you to monitor progress and make adjustments throughout the campaign to hit goals. Digital programs make it easy to track metrics including views, likes, shares, and clicks that can easily be correlated to revenue and customer increases.
Attainable: Make goals that are realistic. Attainable goals garner greater support in your company and facilitate action company-wide to make the goal reality. Generally, an increase in anything (revenue, patients, web traffic) between 10 and 15 percent is realistic. For example, a goal to increase sales by 10% in the age range of 18-24 year olds in the next 12 months is achievable. Another important thing to remember: any goal will require some shift in behavior, but general day-to-day responsibilities won’t disappear—goals need to fit inside this spectrum.
Relevant: Set goals that are relevant to organizational goals and are appropriate for your current situation. Relevant goals will gain needed support from those in your organization and help solve current problems and issues for your company. It’s also important that the tactics you employ to achieve your goals fit your target audience. For a hospital, it would not make sense to launch a national print ad campaign when their patients come from the surrounding area. Instead, a geo-targeted print campaign in local publications will relate to their target audience and be more cost-effective.
Time-Based: Set goals within a specific time frame. This creates a sense of urgency and helps focus efforts to accomplishing tasks before the deadline. By setting goals in segments such as three months, six months, and a year, you force yourself to reevaluate and make adjustments. Within any campaign, benchmarks are important to stay on track. For example, to improve customer engagement, weekly activities may include posting to social media three times, posting a blog once a week, and running a contest every month.
Setting SMART marketing goals for you and your company drives action and success. It keeps you focused with the end in mind and directs the effort of your entire organization towards the end goal.