Turbulent economic conditions are the perfect time to revisit your marketing goals and objectives. You have no control over outside forces, but you can control what adjustments to make or what to initiate in your marketing to align with ongoing changes in your business plan.
For many manufacturing companies, executives and marketing stakeholders already are challenged to understand the growing number of channels, strategies and jargon. It’s more important than ever that the stakeholders at your industrial company understand what you are trying to achieve and how you are going about doing it. Simply put, do they understand your goals and objectives?
A goal is the starting point of any strategic marketing plan. It's what you want to accomplish, the desired outcome you seek. A goal is not a metric. Objectives are how you are going to reach your goal. An objective is measurable.
Why does this matter?
You want those stakeholders on the same page — you need those stakeholders aligned — so that everyone understands you will achieve X when you accomplish Y. This is especially important during economic turmoil, when companies are challenged by negative conditions and so many unknowns.
Going On “Offense” in the Face of Economic Uncertainty
A Harvard Business School study released after the Great Recession showed that companies fared the best through recessions if they could master the delicate balance between cutting costs to survive today and investing to grow tomorrow. These companies focus on operational efficiency and investing in marketing, R&D, and new assets. A multipronged strategy is the best antidote to a recession.
A review of company-wide operations will result in many ideas and opinions, so it is essential to follow a disciplined process to filter ideas and then focus on whatever adjustments you will be making.
Normally goals and objectives don’t change in the short term; the strategic approach and tactics can change at any time based on ongoing results and key measurements. If your marketing goals and objectives change, your KPIs should change.
Clarity in your adjusted marketing goals and objectives will help you prioritize KPIs and identify vanity metrics that don't drive business. For instance, someone in the C-suite might be proud that your industrial company has thousands of followers on social media or a robust newsletter list, which can be important for a goal to raise brand awareness and interest but is not so impactful for a goal to drive new leads into your sales pipeline.
Understanding the Power of Goals and Objectives
So what are the differences between goals and objectives, and why do you need to have both in your strategic marketing plan?
Goals are based on your vision and mission, and often are broad in concept and time frames. They are the beginning of a process to narrow down what you are trying to do. Typical goals from manufacturing firms might include:
- Strengthening positioning and market share in existing markets
- Improving its recruitment and hiring processes
- Generating more sales leads for a product or service
While the objectives are the measurable steps that must be achieved to accomplish your goal, objectives must be modified to align with the shorter-term goals (for a specific initiative, a quarter or year). Objectives for growing in market share for a segment might include:
- Increase qualified leads by 10 percent for demo of a key product
- Increase mix of leads by source by 25 percent
- Increase page ranking to top 5 for organic search
Different departments often have different objectives when working toward the same company goal. They most likely will have different strategies and tactics to employ, measure and adjust as part of the strategic process.
Don't let confusion reign among your marketing stakeholders. Clarity with your internal messaging about goals and objectives will keep your industrial company focused on what you are trying to achieve and how you are going about doing it, and it will ensure your team is aligned and moving in the same direction.
Don't Go It Alone
We can help you define the right goals and objectives to make marketing a strength in the face of disruption.