Growing a business is not an easy task and spreading the word about your business through marketing is vital to your success. In fact, an estimated 14% of all businesses close because of ineffective marketing. If you wish to avoid being included in that statistic, it’s a good idea to understand the differences between marketing goals, strategies and tactics.
A marketing goal is a statement that shows the results you want to achieve in your business, as a direct result of your marketing activities. This is about having a clear vision that guides all your marketing efforts.
You can have both short-term and long-term goals. A couple marketing goal examples could include being recognized as number one in customer satisfaction or to acquire ten new customers per month. The goals you identify should be set so there is a reasonably high probability of success. Just like any other goal, it should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART).
Set Specific Marketing Goals
Think through each part of your goals and how you can measure them. When your goals are specific, they help solidify your priorities and ensure accountability. If you have a product-based business, your goal can be to increase product sales by 10%.
Another marketing goal can be to improve the credibility of the brand. Simple brand goals can be things like driving more blog traffic or growing the email list. It’s about how you set your strategy for success. Be clear about the specific marketing goals and those of the company. Recent research shows that serious marketers are four times more likely to achieve their business goals than those who are not as serious.
Set Measurable Marketing Goals
Your marketing goals should also be measurable. Just to be a little bit subjective, you should use key performance indicators (KPIs). This may include looking at factors like an increase in page depth, reduction in bounce rate or increase in social shares.
Set Achievable Marketing Goals
While setting marketing goals is relatively easy, you don’t want to come up with goals you’ll never accomplish. It may be unrealistic to project an increase in the number of subscriptions to 20% if the number has been 5% for the last six months. You want to achieve something challenging yet attainable. After you have an idea of the types of goals you want, take a look at trends in your business, location and industry to get an idea of what is achievable. Then set your goals accordingly.
Set Realistic Marketing Goals
When your marketing goals are realistic, you can stretch yourself to the limit to achieve the best results. If they are unreasonably high, you may become defeated or frustrated in the process. This brings us to the question of “how do you give your business goals a reality check?” To answer that question, ask yourself these other questions:
- Can I achieve this goal within a specific period?
- Have I come close to achieving this goal, or a very similar goal, in the past?
- Is this a practical goal?
- Has my competition made progress achieving what I wish to do?
If the answers to these questions are affirmative, then your marketing goals are realistic. But the biggest acid test is whether the goals are credible. Do you believe in them? This will keep you motivated to achieving them. You should first complete simpler goals before you move to the challenging ones.
Another important aspect to consider is prioritization. Think of what is most important that will result in the highest returns. The highest value goals are the ones you will most likely want to focus on.
Set Timely Marketing Goals
Finally, your marketing goals should be timely. How long will you take to achieve them? Some can take months while others may take years. Look at the bigger picture. Then, select goals and make sure you have a good idea of how long it will take to accomplish each goal, and the impact it should make on your business.
Once you’ve determined your goals, the next step is to identify a plan to accomplish those goals. This is where your “strategy” comes in.
Example of Marketing Strategies
Let’s say your goal is to increase sales by 40% over the next 12 months. What will you do to make that happen? Here are some potential strategies:
- Generate a 10% increase in leads generated through the website each month.
- Increase brand or product awareness.
- Improve brand reputation with the target audience
These would be three potentially great strategies that could help with the overall goal of increasing sales by 40% over the next year.
Each strategy should be aligned with the overall goals and there should be a way to measure success. It will be important to have various types of analytics setup, so key performance indicators (KPIs) can be monitored.
Common Marketing Strategy Misunderstanding
A strategy is a method, or plan, used to accomplish a marketing goal. It isn’t a specific marketing channel. For example, “Social Media Marketing” isn’t a strategy. Just saying you’ll do “social media marketing” doesn’t provide any real information about the strategy behind how you will reach your goal. The second bullet listed above (“increase brand or product awareness”) is a strategy. “Social media” is simply a tool that can potentially be used to execute the strategy. And this leads us to marketing tactics.
You’ve decided on your goals. An example could be increasing sales by 40% over the next 12 months. You’ve decided on your strategies. One example might include increasing brand or product awareness. Now it’s time to decide on the tactics you will use. Your tactics will be comprised of tools and techniques. Here are some questions you should ask yourself, that will help demonstrate what tactics are:
- What should your marketing budget be? The budget is a tactic.
- Who will you hire to execute your marketing? Making your team is a tactic.
- What types of campaigns or promotions should be used? Planning and sending your campaigns is a tactic.
- Should you do PPC advertising, email marketing, content marketing or something else? Creating your marketing mix is a tactic.
- How long should you wait before making adjustments to the strategy? Deciding on how to analyze your results, what to look for and how to adjust your strategy is a tactic.
Examples of Marketing Tactics
If we were coming up with tactics for the second strategy we mentioned in the example (increasing brand or product awareness), here is what we might list:
- Launch social media ads that promote the brand/product to our target audience and encourage prospective customers to send us direct messages.
- Create a series of email marketing campaigns designed to introduce our new product to customers who have purchased similar products in the past.
- Publish weekly blog posts designed to organically bring people into our website through Google and also designed to establish ourselves as thought-leaders regarding the product we are selling.
- Run PPC advertising campaigns that specifically target prospective customers who are searching for related products sold by our competitors.
The list of tactics could keep going until everything that needs to be included in your marketing plan is listed. To get the best results, you will need to plan everything out before you begin your marketing. Some businesses will decide to use a marketing channel, like blogging, without planning what the blog content should focus on. If you do blogging, it should be focused on supporting your strategies, and ultimately leading you to achieve your goals. The same thing goes for any other marketing channels or tactics you decide to use.
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Which Marketing Tactics Should You Use?
Ask yourself, which tactics will most effectively help you accomplish your marketing goal. Those are the tactics you should probably include in your marketing plan. Also, take a look at your competition and see what they are doing? What seems to be working for them? You can take a look at other leaders in your industry as well, to see what marketing tactics they are effectively using.
There’s no magic bullet to make the marketing efforts work: it requires a lot of time and planning. Your marketing goals should be at the forefront when executing your strategy. But before that, you should reflect on what has worked previously and the expectations.
With a good strategy, you can use the right tactics to reach your goals – this is the pathway to business success. Take a look at your competitors to understand the approach they use to target their customers.
If you need help with the execution of your marketing strategies, let us know. You can connect with us by filling out the contact form below.