If you don't write it down, it won't happen.
It may seem silly to spend time writing a marketing plan. The marketing landscape shifts so much, you just adjust your strategy as you go along. So there's really no need to write down marketing objectives, right?
Studies show that writing down your goals is a powerful way to ensure that those goals are achieved. While many of these studies are looking at the individual, this same concept can be applied to a larger department. In fact, getting your marketing department (and sales team) on the same page is essential to effectiveness. And one way to make sure you are all aligned is by having set, defined goals.
As we head into 2017, crafting a strong marketing plan around solid objectives will make a huge difference in your strategy and success in the coming new year.
Choosing Marketing Objectives
Every company has different expectations of their marketing department. For some, the focus is on a large volume of leads. For others, they are looking to improve the quality of those leads. And for even others, the purpose is to cut down the long sales process.
Getting everyone on the same page by selecting a few, focused marketing objectives will do wonders for your marketing strategy. But there are a few things you should keep in mind before you set your objectives in stone.
A tried and true format for choosing marketing objectives is to set SMART objectives.
- Specific: The objective must be clear and straightforward.
- Measurable: Choose an objective that is measurable, otherwise proving that it is working is like trying to grab a handful of sand: it just slips out of your hands.
- Attainable: The objective needs to be realistic. Don't set impossible goals that will only burn your employees out.
- Relevant: Select an objective that actually has an impact on your business's overall vision.
- Time-Bound: Choose a specific start and end point. This may mean the duration of 2017, or you may break it down into quarterly goals.
Using this method can at least begin the process of deciding on a marketing objective that is actually relevant to the work you do, as well as a manageable goal.
Crafting a Strategy
Once you have defined objectives for your marketing team, it is time to identify a strategy that will help you obtain those goals. Basically, you know where you are, and you know where you want to be, but you have to decide on the route you are going to take.
This is a great time to review what worked and what didn't in 2016. You don't have to reinvent the wheel every year, instead focus on what you know did or did not work from the previous year, and apply that towards creating your strategy for the coming year.
Let's say that you want to increase your leads in 2017. Review what sources brought in the most leads throughout 2016. If blogging was a main factor, but you've only been blogging twice a week, try bumping that number up to 3 or 4 times a week. And make sure that you are optimizing your blog posts for search. If posting frequently to Google+ has brought in few to zero leads in the previous year, it might be time to reconsider that platform.
With 2017 just around the corner, it is essential to have a written plan for obtaining your marketing objectives. Not simply writing it down, but reminding you and your marketing department frequently what the objective is will make it far more likely that you will actually achieve those results in the new year.