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If your company achieved one million social media impressions, was featured twice in “The New York Times,” and earned a new celebrity endorsement last month, you might think your marketing campaign was a tremendous success.
However, if your marketing goals aren’t linked to your overall business goals, all of these numbers are actually more about vanity and less about growth. They sound good, but ring hollow in terms of forwarding your organization’s goals and priorities. Your marketing department will best support business strategy when working in concert with the company’s leadership team and business objectives. Still, when the two remain siloed, even the flashiest figures won’t support your company’s goals.
For instance, if your aim is to expand from $100 million to $1 billion in annual revenue, a strategic planning process that engages marketing and company leadership can help you develop alignment and achieve your high-level goals.
You likely won’t be surprised to learn that specific, measurable and attainable goals are critical to any sound marketing strategy. To accomplish this, businesses first must avoid these common traps:
- Your corporate cake is missing a layer. If company leadership identifies a year-end goal of “grow sales by 20 percent,” but the marketing team can’t decipher what actually needs to take place to make that happen, you are missing a strategic layer between leadership and marketing. A strategic planner or chief marketing officer can provide the additional layer needed to help your goals rise to the top.
- Everyone assumes that business and marketing goals are the same. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t. Subgoals can help your company determine what marketing can influence and how.
- Goals and tactics are tossed into the same blender. Tactics, such as PR campaigns, paid advertising, social media marketing and email outreach, are different than goals, such as business expansion. While they work together, they aren’t one in the same and should be treated as separate components of your strategic plan.
Once your teams are headed in the same direction, the following three strategies will help you successfully translate business goals into substantive marketing goals.
Create meaningful subgoals
While “reaching $200 million in annual revenue across all entities” and “doubling new leads this year” are both valid business goals, they don’t tell marketing what it can do to support those aims.
On the other hand, sub-goals are measurable and can take your marketing team from goal to strategy. Instead of “doubling new leads,” your leadership team can focus on what specifically needs to happen to double new leads.
For instance, you can translate “reach $200 million in annual revenue” into subgoals of move from “$30 million to $40 million in sales by Q2” and “our service needs to be attractive to clients such as XYZ.”
Likewise, “doubling new leads” can be translated into “we will need to sign X new clients in Y market,” “we should improve our service by…” and “we need to partner with organizations such as these.”
These smaller and more specific goals can help your marketing team intelligently influence your business objectives.
Turn meaningful subgoals into concrete marketing goals
This step is more fun than it sounds because it involves collaboration. It gives your marketing team and strategic planners the chance to come together, get creative and start to effect change. More collaboration generates more insights, which can take your company to the next level.
Again, all marketing goals must be specific, measurable and attainable.
If, for example, the company’s target is to achieve $30 million to $40 million in sales by Q2, your marketing team can break that down into goals such as: Our sales team needs 20 new $200,000 customers per quarter. To convert that many customers, the team will need X leads.
Your corporate goal of being attractive to specific clients might revolve around securing media coverage in specific publications to increase targeted awareness, creating a new prospect pipeline or demonstrating expertise in a specific subject area. All of your marketing goals should hail from your global subgoals.
Develop your marketing strategy
Once you have all of the above information in hand, then you can readily turn business goals into marketing goals through your marketing strategy and plan.
These are the steps your marketing is likely well-versed in already: After you have collaborated with the relevant internal teams, then it is time to identify your target audience, think in narratives or stories that provide a consistent, relevant way to reach at least one of your goals, work with content before you plan its execution and choose the ideal channels for each audience. Many organizations make the mistake of spreading themselves thin across every channel rather than doing a few of them really well.
Finally, make sure you have a solid method for tracking success and accountability. If you can’t track them, your goals will remain nebulous, and you will be thrilled with every repost and headline, even if they aren’t connected to where your organization wants to go and how it wants to get there.
Whether you are trying to grow sales, awareness or your pipeline, the right strategy can take you efficiently and creatively from idea to action to goal achievement. And then the right social media impressions, headlines and endorsements will serve as the icing on the cake and certification of your strategy.