How to Set Marketing Goals in 2021 You Can Actually Achieve
It’s a new year, so it’s time to set some new goals! Unlike your resolution to eat less ice cream, 2021 is the year you’ll hit your marketing goals, thanks to a few tips.
After the crazy year we just had, 2021 is a fresh start. And, experts predict marketing is going to be more important than ever before. As consumer buying habits change due to the pandemic and the need for virtual community continues to grow, setting realistic and achievable marketing goals this year is crucial.
Setting SMART Goals
When you’re setting your goals this year, keep in mind the acronym SMART. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
Let’s break that down a little more in terms of the marketing world.
A specific goal is one that can be named. It’s easy to be too broad with marketing goals and simply say, “We want to reach more customers.” But how you reach more customers needs to be specific. For example, a specific goal would be, “Gain more social media followers.”
Choose a few marketing objectives you want to focus on in the new year. More often than not, many organizations choose too many marketing initiatives and spread themselves thin. Focus on a few–for example, paid social media, content marketing, email marketing, or SEO–and then build out your goals based on those areas. Here are a few budget friendly options.
Measurable goals are those that have a number associated with them. You must have a way to measure your goal in order for it to be attainable. Thankfully, marketing is full of metrics and data to use!
Let’s go back to our earlier example. If your goal is to gain more social media followers, then a measurable goal is, “to increase social media followers by 30%.” This provides a measuring stick for you to evaluate your progress and design campaigns around accomplishing these goals.
Attainable goals are goals that can be reached. It’s easy to dream big, but goals that aren’t designed realistically are bound to fail. Use historical data from previous years to set metrics that are realistic, but don’t be afraid to be aspirational.
If you are just starting out and don’t have historical data from previous years, using industry research is a good alternative. Of course, give yourself grace with these goals as every organization is different and industry benchmarks are the average and not always the norm.
Realistic goals are those that make sense in the grand scheme of organizational goals. Marketing goals should complement business goals and advance the mission of the organization. At the same time, goals should be set based on the resources available. If you only have a one-woman marketing team, realistically you may only be able to focus on a few goals per year.
Finally, your marketing goals need to have an end date. For most goals, one year is a good marker. It may be helpful to set milestones along the way–quarterly or even monthly checkpoints. And of course, your time markers must also be realistic and attainable. Keep this in mind as you set the time limit on your goals.
A formula for success
Let’s go back to our earlier example. If your organization wants to reach more customers organically, a SMART goal could look like this:
By December 31, 2021, we will increase our social media following on Instagram by 30%.
With this goal in mind, you can start to build out a plan to achieve that goal. Maybe you’ll prioritize using influencers or conduct hashtag research. Either way, the results of every marketing campaign or task throughout the year should be compared to this goal.
Ask yourself, “Is this project reaching my goal?” If not, put it on hold. As marketers, we often get excited about new initiatives, systems, and trends, but we will never be successful if we get distracted by all the “shiny” new ideas.
As you’re crafting your marketing goals, remember to keep the “dating cycle” in mind. You might find it helpful to map your goals alongside your customer journey or sales funnel. Avoid stacking all your goals in one place, and instead spread them out so that you’re able to focus attention on customers in all stages of the pipeline.
With your SMART goals in hand, you’ll be on your way to a successful year of marketing in 2021! Have a few goals you need some help achieving? Let us know! We’d love to lend a hand.