What marketing goals does your business have?

How to both create and achieve them.

“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.” — Earl Nightingale

So, now we are clear. To ensure you have a fair shot at achieving your marketing objectives, you need to establish a set of goals first. And these goals have to be clear, crisp, meaningful and concise, and not ones that are created just for the sake of creating goals. Naturally the next question comes up:

How do you create the right set of marketing goals?

It isn’t rocket science actually. Create marketing goals that are well aligned with your broader business objectives. And once you have been able to create these goals, walk backwards to create the right set of strategies to devise the execution plan to achieve them.

ANATOMY OF A WELL DEFINED MARKETING GOAL

For you to be able to create the right set of marketing goals, let us first understand the different attributes that need to be considered to come up with these goals.

IF IT IS VAGUE, IT IS NOT A GOAL

“We want to increase our app downloads”

“Something that can make our app go viral”

These are actual responses from the founders of a startup when I asked them what were the objectives of their next marketing campaign — a campaign they wanted me to help them with. After trying for the next 30 mins to help them understand why those weren’t really goals, I wished them luck, gave my opinion on some of the questions they had asked, and left.

GOALS ARE ALWAYS MEASURABLE

I have led marketing efforts for businesses on all fronts — press, digital, social, print, TV etc. Different marketing channels are governed by different guiding principles, but the basic underlying philosophies have always been the same. And the very first one is — “I need to be able to measure the impact of any campaign.

DON’T CONFUSE GOALS WITH WISHFUL THINKING.

I have seen businesses make the mistake of keeping their target numbers so high that even the team working on its execution is never really trying to achieve those numbers. They are just going with the flow, with an intent to “do their best”. And when your team itself doesn’t believe that the targets can be achieved, you can bet your sorry dollars on the fact that it absolutely won’t be achieved.

Focus on 10–20% week-on-week growth, instead of targeting 500k app downloads, when your current download numbers stand at a mere 10k.

When your team achieves some quick and early wins, it will give their confidence a massive boost, and if now all of a sudden you revise the targets to 30% weekly growth, they would be charged up enough to say — “May be tough, but definitely looks achievable.

FOR GOD’S SAKE, PUT A CLOCK ON IT

Let’s devise a campaign with the sole intent of doubling our revenue.

“Buddy, first of all, that is quite an ambitious target. You guys are already doing quite well in an extremely niche business. Having said that, it is definitely doable, but it will take time.”

  1. No timeline. There is absolutely nothing worse than having a target with no date circled on the calendar. Always have a deadline. “We want to double our revenue by the end of next fiscal year” is still something I could live with — although in all fairness, I would then advise you to revise the targets and have a deadline that’s closer.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where — ” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

LET’S TAKE AN EXAMPLE

Ours is a SaaS product with average order value of $50/mo — when billed annually, which is what ~70% of our consumers opt for. Our current MRR is $50,000, and we want to increase it by 20% in the next 2 quarters, with a special focus on the healthcare industry in the NORAM market.

That was the message I received one day. I loved it! Could that goal be better? Sure. Almost everything can, but it was a great start. And the precise and crisp statement gave me a feeling that this could be a dialogue that, if nothing else, would be meaningful.

  1. What was the average order value. Also, what is the percentage breakup of their transacting consumers in different payment options available.
  2. Current revenue, and therefore current consumer base.
  3. Targets they were looking to achieve (a bump of $10,000/mo, which was not out-of-the-world), and by when were they looking to achieve that.
  4. They were quite clear about their target audience. Be it in terms of the industry segment or the geography.
  5. It helped me get very clear on painting a holistic picture in my head. The business needs an incremental MRR of $10,000, and with $50, that translates to 200 new paying customers. (Actually, the numbers will be slightly complicated since we will need to factor in the fact that only 70% of all consumers will opt for the annual subscription, with the rest opting for monthly subscriptions, and then we will have to factor in churn rate of the consumers as well. But let’s keep things simple, for now.) This helps me get a clear idea when I walk upto the whiteboard to lay out the marketing and sales strategies for them.

WE HAVE THE OBJECTIVES CLEAR. NOW WHAT?

Let’s circle back to the example we took. An incremental MRR of $10,000 translated to 200 new customers. So how do we get to those? Let us look at their performance reports so far — on both marketing and sales sides. Let us assume that out of any leads they generate through their marketing campaigns, 10% become paying customers within 30 days of lead generation. So, that means to convert 200 new customers, there need to be 2,000 newly minted leads. And that sets a very clear goal for the marketing team/plan.

In 5 months, we need to generate 2,000 new, qualified leads for the business.

Since we need 200 new customers by the end of 6 months (2 quarters), and it can take up to 30 days to convert a lead, we need to generate the leads within 5 months.

  1. If there are any shortfalls in any trailing months, we would have converted good number of leads in the first months to create a buffer.

COULD THERE BE A BETTER STRATEGY?

Yes. A number of them, to be honest. Let us look at two of the simplest ones:

  1. Increasing the average revenue from each paying customer: Someone who is already paying for your product/services is much more likely to pay you for other value added services. Are there some premium services you can offer on top of whatever is included in your vanilla subscription? Do they look like value enhancements your consumers may be willing to shell out dollars on? Higher ARPU = higher MRR.

WHAT I TYPICALLY DO

When I am setting up marketing goals, I tend to have 2–3 sub-teams, working on distinctly different, yet connected goals. For example, in the early stages of my last startup, I had a three person growth team — each person being a “team” in himself. Person A’s goals were to acquire X new consumers on a daily/weekly basis so as to achieve a 30% month-on-month growth. Person B’s goals were around retention. For example, ensuring that at least 60% of our consumers were transacting with us at least twice every month, and at least 80% of our consumers were transacting at least once every month. Person C was responsible for consumers older than 2 months. He would focus on making sure that once a consumer had been on the platform for 2 months (or had made 5 transactions, whichever came earlier), we needed to put emphasis on increasing their average basket value by 40%.

That’s it for today. See you tomorrow!

Twitter | Facebook | Quora | LinkedIn | E-mail
Click here to join the mailing list

Helping businesses grow 10x faster, and scale efficiently. Top Writer — Quora, Medium. Drop in a line if you’d like help with yours. mail@abyshake.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store