As you plan for a new year, quarter, or month, it's time to determine your SMART media goals to maintain a strategic outlook on your work. Setting media benchmarks is the only way you’ll be able to achieve strategic growth throughout a designated period for your organisation.
SMART is a methodology that helps you establish concrete and achievable goals and if often used throughout the marketing landscape when forming marketing or media plans. SMART goals means that goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
Why use SMART?
SMART goals help you summarise your ultimate media aims and objectives, identify your most urgent media need and also set deadlines for meeting your annual, quarterly or monthly goals for focus.
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This SMART planning template can help you manage the process of setting up meaningful goals, whether they are long-term goals or short-term goals. It works for digital and for print. It will help you clearly define your goals, set a deadline for realising them and understand their anticipated results.
All which is often helpful when you are working on a number of projects or manage a number of team members who are also working towards the same goals.
Media goals should be concise and to-the-point, short and as specific as possible. Having "a good marketing year" or “bettered our previous calendar year” isn't a reflection of what your organisation actually accomplished. Specific goals require a level of detail that cuts out the vagueness and assigns a numerical value that represents what you are working towards every day.
HubSpot uses the analogy where if your boss is about to leave for a holiday, and you have less than 60 seconds until he or she runs out the door, and all they want is to quickly hear what next year's goal is, what will you say? A one sentence answer that concisely explains your plans will satisfy your boss – you will not only sound like you know what you are doing, but you will know what you are doing.
Often, smaller organisations might say they want to "increase their email marketing list" as a media goal. While this is a goal, it's not a measurable goal. It is not specific enough to be able to accurately track how you have performed relative to the goal. If you start the new year with 1000 email subscribers and end with 1001, theoretically speaking you met your goal. But this is hardly an achievement.
If you change that goal to: "Increase email marketing subscribers by 25%," suddenly you can measure your progress every week/month to see if you are on track to ultimately jump from 1,000 to 1,250 subscribers as well as reporting back on the goal for the allotted time period in anticipation for the next year, where goals will need to be set again. It’s worth noting, however, that your media goals should be more ambitious than the example provided, but it can be used as a KPI to determine if you are on track or not.
Having ambitious goals for your media campaigns and business can be hugely motivational for the employees within the organisation. Often, when goals are exaggerated the organisation can out-perform its own capabilities. But it is still important that the goals are generally realistic, if still, a little ambitious.
Here, it becomes increasingly important that you have looked at the performance of your media campaigns for the last year, or whatever time period you operate within. A situational analysis of your campaigns and capabilities, first, will ensure your goals are realistic.
If your organisation has generated an average of 25 leads per month, jumping to 2,000 leads per month would be a drastic and improbable change. Many media and marketing teams push employees and to hit such goals, but in reality, this is quite discouraging and could result in disruption which will prevent the organisation from ever hitting anywhere near what would be realistic goals. SMART goals are goals you can actually achieve and are set strategically, and not set by over-ambitious business owners.
Why have a goal if the goal doesn't matter or is not relevant to the overall efforts of the organisation?
If you’re a small manufacturing organisation, or a producer of speciality products, where at a maximum you can only sell 500 of your products per month due to current manufacturing capacity, your goals should reflect this. In this situation, your goal likely shouldn't be to increase the production of your product from 500 per month to 2,500 per month. This is simply impossible, not to mention a staggering increase on what your goals might have been the previous year.
In this case, the goal might not necessarily need to relate to an increase in products and might make more strategic sense to increase the number of distributors or channels to sell more of the product first, before looking to increase resources to produce more of your product. Your goal might look something like: "increase distribution by 25%."
While having all the aforementioned helps develop a strong, realistic and measurable goal, you need to ensure you have a timeline set for meeting that goal. Goals are set to improve performance, and if an organisation cannot see the time period where media teams have been working to that goal has been when the period starts and finishes, it will never really know if it hit the goal or not.
You will also need to know when you will accomplish your goal in order to know when to start working on a secondary or tertiary goal, or potentially create a brand new campaign that looks to achieve something else as a direct result of achieving or not achieve your original goal.
How to set SMART goals?
To set your SMART goals, you will need to ask yourself the following questions:
What is your overall media goal?
Look at your business, sales, marketing and media goals and find out what you are actually trying to achieve (where you are looking to go to) and set your media goal accordingly.
Which situation best summarises your media needs?
Determine what exactly your marketing or media campaign efforts are looking to achieve. If it is more visitors to the website, generate more leads or increased brand awareness, set your goals accordingly. It is important that this is a numerical goal with previous campaigns/data/budget taken into consideration.
When would you like to reach this goal?
Set a time period to reach this goal. This period should be long enough for your campaign activity to take place, but also not too long that you cannot realign your goals once you have evaluated the situation. This might be 3, 6 or 12 months.
How many hours can you dedicate to your media campaign?
Look at your or your team’s capacity. Determine how many hours per week or per month you can allocate to reach this goal. 5, 10, 15+ hours? Whatever the number, if it is too few or too much for the goal set, either change the goal or look to expand your team or your organisation’s output with external help.
What is the biggest marketing challenge preventing you from reaching this goal?
Review your goal – can it be achieved? If not, determine why not and what the marketing challenges might be as the goal might not be right for your current circumstances.
Examples of SMART Goals
Okay, you are nearly there. To help you get started, here are some examples of what SMART goals look like.
No SMART goal, however, is right or wrong and they can come in a number of forms. As long as there is a measurable numerical value to the goal, that is aligned with your overall organisational goals and can be realistically achieved within a certain time period, your goal should stand you in good stead.
“Plan and execute five client information webinars for Q1 with 15-plus attendees per event and 75% satisfied response rate on the content of the webinars.”
“During the next two months, we want to increase our search engine traffic by 5% by focusing on optimising our existing content and making a concerted effort to earn backlinks to that content.”
“Increase media efforts in doing speaking and keynote engagements from 5 times per year to 1 time per month (12 per year) during 2020.”
Setting your media goals is a crucial element of your media campaign or plan that follows a stage where you have review your previous performance. SMART goals will ensure you can accurately look back at this performance and plan for the future.
Congratulations... you have completed the first phase in your plan. Now on to the next.
Once you have decided where you want to go you need to decide how you are going to get there. By doing this, we need to look at our target audiences, our messages and our strategic media approach to the growth we are looking to achieve. For this, we create buyer personas.