Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

Baker's Dozen INDEX

13 Platinum Ways to
Set Your Marketing Objectives

A base in Direct Marketing is having a measurable set of objectives. A direction. A focus. A reason for creating your marketing program in the first place. Something to accomplish.

It's not so important what your objectives are. It is very important you have some. It's not key that you reach all your objectives, either. It is key you know if you reach them or not. The real tragedy of any program is not in not reaching your goal. The real tragedy is in having no goal to reach.

So, to assure success, you must have a specific set of Marketing Objectives. Toward this end I've pulled together A Baker's Dozen collection of ideas to guarantee you will;

Objective Concept #1 - Good Objectives must be brief enough to be understood

Length or volume is not the issue. Quality - not quantity - is.

Your objectives should easily fit on one side of one piece of paper. Very possibly half a sheet of paper. Or even less.

Marketing Objectives come close to a mission statement in concept. At least they are to support or carry out your corporate mission statement.

When your objectives are short they are much more likely to be understood. And they are much easier to change as your marketplace changes. As you will change them!

Objective Concept #2 - Good Objectives must be clear enough to be acted upon

And I might add, not so vague they are un-measurable.

Saying "I wish to increase sales" is not stating an objective. A dream, yes. A hope, maybe. A desire, sure. An objective ... no! Objectives are much more specific in detail and direction.

Each objective for each program and project must be so clear that everyone in your organization understands it with a single reading. And no further explanation.

i.e., simple words, short phrases, maybe a few bullet points. Brief and clear - so those who must make it happen know what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and the budget available to make it happen.

Objective Concept #3 - Good Objectives must be flexible enough to allow adaptation to the current circumstances

Ready ... Aim ... Fire!

And then evaluate. As it is very likely in this fast paced and changing marketing world in which we live, you will need to change your objectives, too.

In some organizations this is a tough call. You plan 6-12-18 months ahead - and now you need to make a change. For some that is a nearly impossible task. As "The Plan" says one thing ... and now you want to do something else. Yet, being adaptable is a mandatory trait for successful DM in the 21st Century. Meaning, your objectives must be flexible.

Objective Concept #4 - Good Objectives must be clearly defined & proved

Here are a few examples of what you may have as a clearly defined objective;

...a specific per-centage of market share or market penetration - as long as you translate the per-cent to money in sales & profit

... a level of sales turnover by product or product group

...a set number of new accounts within a certain time frame

... a specific number of revived accounts over the next calendar or fiscal year

...break into X number of new business or SIC codes during a set time frame

... begin operations in specific and new marketplaces geographically

...establish a rate of financial growth from your current customers.

Each of these objectives is clear enough to define with numbers or money or both. And you can "prove" each within a certain time period.

Objective Concept #5 - Good Objectives must be important enough to help you reach your overall goals

H. L. Hunt summed it up as well as anyone when he says . . .

I. Decide what you want to do, set your objectives

II. Decide what you'll give up to get those objectives

III. Decide your priorities as they relate to all you want to or need to do against those objectives, and

IV. Get on about your work.

Of course, what Hunt did not say is that you do need to be walking in the right direction to begin. Almost anyone can get from here to there ... yet, is 'there' where you need to be? If not, don't go that way. Even if the ride will be fun. And maybe even profitable.

Be certain your objectives are designed to get you to where you need to be.

Objective Concept #6 - Good Objectives must be specific - numeric

... and, not per-cents.

Why? Because everyone cheats with per-centages. I have - you have - everyone has. We use per-centages when we don't like real numbers. Real, live numbers are facts. Per-cents are generic. Use real numbers to achieve real objectives.

One way to help cement real vs. generic is to ask questions. Ask "What market share - how much?" Ask "What increase - how much? Ask "Where?" Ask "What markets? Which consumers?"

When you have specific objectives you can look for specific answers.

Objective Concept #7 - Good Objectives must be measurable

"More" only sets the direction. It does not say how far.

Frequently in marketing & sales we talk about an increase over the last quarter or last year results. This is fine - as long as you put specific monies and/or numbers against "more". Plus, we must include a timetable.

"More" can be . . .

  • Number of units, or customers, or prospects or almost anything
  • Return On Investment figures, what you will earn back, and by when
  • Cost-to-sales ratio, a fraction figure, maybe a per-cent, converted to how much does it cost to get the first sale, and then the second ...at some point the Life Time Value number is known
  • Market share - what do we have vs. the competition, vs. what is available in the total marketplace
  • Money - the bottom line end measurement ... did we make a profit.

If you can't measure it you can't improve it. Objectives must be measurable.

Objective Concept #8 - Good Objectives must be realistic

Tough is fine. Standing on your tip-toes is good. Reaching for the stars is AOK. Yet, at some point enough is enough - and realism must take over. What can you really achieve within a timeframe must become a part of your planning.

If it takes 16 months to reach a 12 month objective, something is wrong. If you get to your yearly goal by May or June, then your objectives were probably too easy. If you feel your goals are real, yet, you don't have the needed resources of time AND money AND people to carry them out, then they are not.

With time and experience you learn what is a good objective - and what is not.

Practice, practice, practice.

Objective Concept #9 - Good Objectives must have a timetable to be accomplished

And a reasonable timetable, too.

Never have I worked a program without a schedule. Frequently the time has been just fine ... on paper. And then something slips, falls through the crack, a mistake happens, something "breaks" or someone has a problem, and the timeframe expands. Now there is insufficient time to do it right.

No matter what you do, you will never have enough time to do everything you think you need to do to make your program "perfect". So, know at some point you'll need to toss in the towel and "go" with what you have. Most often you'll be just fine ... if you planned from the top.

Objective Concept #10 - Good Objectives must be compatible with all your marketing efforts

Objectives are not manna. They are not the answer to "your problem". Objectives are simply a direction. A focus. A strategy that needs a tactic to make it happen. To get you to where you have decided you need to be. They are part of your overall marketing plan.

Your advertising, PR, sales promotion, merchandising and direct marketing must mesh together. If they are each going their own way - like the tentacles of an octopus - there will be a problem.

Make certain all your marketing programs are compatible with each other.

Objective Concept #11- Good Objectives must be compatible with your corporate management direction

And, then make certain your marketing objectives are compatible with your corporate management objectives.

i.e., they are holding hands. Walking the same path. Looking the same direction. Putting first things first in marketing in the same order as management has first things first. Remember marketing folks, management still signs the checks. Get yourself on the same page as the boss and you're probably going to be just fine. Go another way and you'll probably have a big time problem.

Make certain you weave your marketing into the fabric of your total company.

Objective Concept #12 - Good Objectives help you set your marketing & management priorities

Seth Godin of Permission Marketing fame has an interesting line in his book Survival Is Not Enough;

"Criticize an idea based on how well it meets its objectives.

If you don't like the objectives, criticize those separately."

It is expected you will not always agree with your corporate objectives. And it is expected management will not always agree with how you are marketing to meet objectives. That's just the way it is - has been - will be.

Now, with that understood and out of the way, use your knowledge to achieve. Understand management many times looks at marketing as a cost, vs. an investment. Which it truly is.

And marketers (like you and me!) look at management as having thrown a blanket over our mind, our thinking, our creativity. Plus, they gave us too little time and far too little money. Then knowthat's just the way it is - has been - will be.

With this understanding you're much more likely to set objectives that meet corporate goals - and get them in priority order.

Objective Concept #13 - Good Objectives must be put on paper - in writing

Objectives must be in writing. It is not an option - it is a fact. Period.

Still, I teasingly suggest you write them in pencil - as you will change them. Because of a competitive move. Or something you develop. Or an industry, government, social or economic action.

Unless they are in writing, you have nothing to change. You are without a strong guide. Others who are part of your team and company are without a reference point.

Putting them in writing does not make your objectives 'gospel'. It does make them accountable. And your entire marketing team, too.

Well, that's it. 13 Platinum Ways to Set Your Marketing Objectives. Another in the Baker's Dozen Collection. For more marketing ideas, visit www.marketingwithray.com/ - where there are hundreds of articles, tips and stories.

For more ideas specifically on objectives go to my book Power Direct Marketing. Online at http://www.rayjutkins.com/pdm/pdm02-01.html (Chapter #2).

Baker's Dozen INDEX

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