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.


Power Direct Marketing: The Book

How to Develop Good Objectives

How do you set good objectives? Here is a 6 point plan:

1. Good Objectives must be SPECIFIC. Specific statements about the results you are seeking.

Specific means numeric—not percentages. Why? Have you ever cheated using percents? Sure, join the crowd. Everyone has.

I learned how to cheat using percents from my dad. He didn’t know he taught me . . . but he did. Dad was an active board member at our Methodist Church. One evening he came home and said: "The Board wants us to tithe . . . is that 10% before taxes, or after?"

Because it is so easy to "manage" percents, using them to set objectives allows for a way out down the line. You really don’t want that to happen.

Real, live numbers are facts. Percents are generic. Use real numbers to set your objectives. Be specific.

2. Good Objectives must be MEASURABLE. Measurable meaning you can count what happened. You can measure your level of success. Or lack thereof.

Remember that "more" only sets the direction—it is not specific and thus cannot be measured. It does not include the qualifiers of "time" and "how far." Both of which are necessary for measurable objectives.

You want to be able to measure:

  1. Number of units sold
  2. Rate of return on your investment
  3. Cost to sales ratio
  4. Market share
  5. Money—dollars—the real measure!

If your objectives are specific, it allows for honest measurement. You will know what happened, for better or worse—but you will know! Which is important for now and next time.

Make your objectives measurable.

3. Good Objectives must be REALISTIC. You should set tough standards. Reach for the stars. Stand on your toes.

At the same time, you don’t want them so tough a one year goal takes 16 months to achieve. Nor do you want them so easy you’ve accomplished your yearly objectives by April.

Only experience allows you to be realistic. And—common sense. "Automatically" increasing your objectives by a set percent from year to year, without consideration for the life cycle of the product, is not being fair. Or realistic.

Setting objectives also forces you to consider your resources to carry them out. Resources such as personnel, time, technology—and money. Set challenging and realistic objectives.

4. Good Objectives must have a TIME SCHEDULE.

In all honesty, I’ve never had a program without a timetable. If there is ever a problem, it is that insufficient time has been allocated to accomplish what needs to be done to meet the objectives.

Sometimes not enough time has been allowed to develop a program. To think through the best course of action. To really take the time to plan what to do.

On many occasions there has been adequate time to develop and implement a program. On paper it looks great. But something slips—and then maybe something else. Pretty soon you’re behind schedule and those at the end of the line get pushed. To the limit. Even too far.

Having good objectives means setting reasonable schedules and following them through the entire campaign.

5. Good Objectives make certain your program is COMPATIBLE with whatever else is going on in your organization.

Because direct marketing is "new" in some circles, it is exciting. Some look at direct response as "the" answer to their problems. It scratches the itch.

Which is all well and good. But, before you destroy what you already have going that is good, test all new programs. Set your objectives in such a way that you can weave them into the fabric of your company—not structured to take over between now and next spring. Good objectives are compatible with all plans.

6. Good Objectives need to be WRITTEN.

There are a number of reasons why you put anything in writing. One reason is it gives you a reference guide. Another is it allows others you are working with to have full knowledge of where you are coming from and where you are going.

Again, I’ve never seen a marketing plan—or even a small project—where the objectives were not in writing. We know that must happen.

I do recommend you write them in "pencil." Because you will change them. Know that you will change them—because the marketplace will change. Your competition will introduce an enhancement. Your company will come out with a new product (early or late, it doesn’t matter—it requires a change).

Good objectives are in writing. So you can be flexible.

The Wrangler division of Blue Bell sets their product marketing objectives by the SMART method—which you may find helpful in remembering the key points in setting good objectives:

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Attainable

R = Realistic

T = Time-Bound

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