How to Develop Strategic Marketing Goals That Drive Sales

And a Quick Note On How Setting Marketing Goals Relates to Grocery Shopping

With two small children, a husband and work, my life is usually super full, so I try to plan dinner for the week ahead of time. The weekly dinner menu drives the weekly grocery list. However, on occasions when I’m flustered and feeling like I’m running out of time (which happens more often than I like to admit), I don’t plan. I go to the grocery store without a list, with no menu for the week, and guess what? Chaos ensues.

Remember the line from the movie Friday… “Y'all ain’t never got nothing to match...Kool Aid no sugar, peanut butter no jelly, ham no burger” - Smoky

That pretty much sums up the outcome of my trips to the grocery store without a plan. If you didn’t notice, this approach sucks. It’s a waste of time, it’s a waste of money, and nobody eats. Don’t let this be the outcome of your marketing strategy.

Never start a campaign without specifically defined marketing goals and objectives... Because you’re a smart, proactive entrepreneur, you’re probably thinking, “Duh, Tiana! Of course, I would never do that.” But let’s take a moment to define objective. A marketing objective is a SMART, actionable statement that drives sales. Bad marketing goal examples include:

  • Increase sales

  • Build brand awareness

  • Grow market share

  • Launch new products or services

  • Target new customers

  • Enhance customer relationships

Sure, those are goals, but are they the types of goals that drive sales?... Not in their current state. If this is how you are currently defining your marketing objectives, you are not maximizing your marketing potential. I get it, small business owners are often tasked with running every aspect of their business, including those outside of their core skill set and are often left flying by the seat of their pants. But the good news is, I’m here to help!

Below, I’ve outlined a proven approach on how to set marketing objectives. I use this approach when working with large corporations as well as small businesses. Follow this framework to establish alignment with your overall business objectives and key stakeholders in your business. I’ve also included a Marketing Goal Setting Worksheet and Tracker to help define, track and optimize your goals for your next marketing campaign. Just click the link at the bottom of the page to get your free worksheet.


SMART is a tried and true framework for identifying goals. The acronym stands for:

  • SPECIFIC: Your marketing objectives should be clear and focused. Each of your planned marketing initiatives will be driven by your stated objectives. If they are are not clear your marketing will not be clear. The problem with the marketing objectives above is that they are not specific at all. They are general statements with no direction, and therefore cannot guide you or your customers to the desired outcome.

  • MEASURABLE: Each marketing objective should have a set of quantifiable metrics associated with it. This is how you will determine the success or failure of your campaign. You will get an understanding of what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong, allowing you to adjust toward high performing activities as you move forward. Additionally, adding an element that is measurable can function as motivation to get started and keep going. One of my marketing mottos is: What gets measured, gets done. I’m a data girl, so this element of SMART is close to my heart.

  • ACHIEVABLE: What’s the point in setting goals if they are not achievable? Make sure you’re setting the bar high, but not beyond reach. As you start achieving your objectives, you’ll notice that they continue to grow as your company grows.

  • Relevant: Set marketing objectives that align with your overall business goals. If you have not established business goals, start there. You can use SMART as a framework for those too.

  • TIME BOUND: SET A TIMELINE FOR YOUR MARKETING OBJECTIVES. I cannot stress this enough! I always put a tentative completion date on my projects, it allows me to visualize the process of completing the task, goal or milestone and it motivates me to keep going. I know, this can seem a little daunting, especially for working mothers, because so many things are competing for your time. However, it is precisely for that reason that you must put a date on it, otherwise it will not be a priority and you are unlikely to follow through. I know, I’ve been there.

Once you have developed your marketing objectives, identify which quantifiable metrics will determine the success of your campaign. Marketing is a numbers game, and don’t let anyone tell you different. Sure, there are other factors that play into the success of a good marketing program (strategy, creative, management), however defining the appropriate metrics and understanding the numbers is paramount in the age of digital marketing. Start by tracking the following metrics to understand how your campaigns are performing. Once you have a good understanding of the initial set of metrics, dig deeper - this is where you will gain true customer insights that allow you to become the go-to source for your product/industry. I will explore “going deeper” to find game changing audience insights in a later post.

BASIC METRICS - To track marketing campaign performance:

  • Impressions - The number of people that see your advertising. Obviously, the more people to see your ads the better. To get a true sense of the number of people you are q reaching, focus on unique impressions when looking at this metric. If the number of unique impressions is not obvious, you can calculate it by dividing the total impressions by the frequency.

  • Frequency - This is a vastly underrated metric. As previously stated, marketing is a numbers game. It has been a long standing rule in advertising that the more times a prospective customer is exposed to your advertising (within a reasonable number of impressions to avoid burn out) the more likely they are to purchase from you versus a competitor. Frequency is what allows companies to develop mindshare and marketshare, which are fancy terms for recognition and sales.

  • Response rate - This measures the actions that your customers are taking. You will likely have several ‘responses’ available to customers for each marketing goal/campaign. A response may be a phone call, in-store traffic, landing page traffic, link clicks, page likes, etc.

  • Results - This is the ultimate goal of your campaign. In most cases this will be sales. If your business is a non-profit, it may be a donation. If your product or service has a longer sales cycle, you may be tempted to record some other action, such as the exchange of customer information or setting up a sales call as a result, but each should be categorized as a ‘response.’ If it is not an exchange in currency, it should not be classified as a result. Results impact the bottom line.

For additional help defining marketing goals that drive sales, plus a bonus to help you execute on your goals download this MARKETING GOALS WORKSHEET & CAMPAIGN METRICS TRACKER.

If you enjoyed what you read, or gleaned some insight/value, please share.

#makingmoney #SMARTgoals #metrics

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© 2017 by Tiana Starks.

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