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How to Accurately Forecast the Likelihood of your Goals Achievement Throughout the Year

Some campaigns deliver their results in a rush (e.g. events), others have a spike followed by a
long tail (e.g. product launches), yet others deliver consistent metrics, concomitant with investment (e.g. digital advertising for CPG). Modeling out metrics milestones allows you to measure campaign performance thoughtfully throughout the year and to have better insight into whether you are going to miss, meet, or beat your strategic goals. Taken from our OMI survey, only 50% of marketers base their campaigns on goals, less than 40% of marketers base their goals on their marketing plan, and even more shocking, less than 60% of marketers can predict the likelihood of goal achievement.

Develop a process for adapting your plan throughout the year

In order to accurately forecast you need to first understand your current situation. When setting the goals, take into account the following:

  • Company goals: Always start with the company goals for organizational alignment. Identify goals where marketing can have an impact and set your metrics of achievement accordingly.
  • Historical data: Review your historical numbers and look for patterns and trends that could give you an indication of future results. If the trends do not align with your stated goals, then you will need to either reset expectations or increase investment.
  • Marketing team: When evaluating your team’s ability to achieve the goals, ask the following questions: Does your team structure have functional gaps? Are there team members with limited skill sets? Do you have enough productive people with bandwidth? You will not achieve your goals unless you have the right team, period. Any gaps need to be filled in a timely fashion, either through hiring new employees or through outsourced staff, otherwise, you risk missing your deadlines for hitting your goals.
  • Marketing budget: Set your goals and build your plan, then go to finance and fight for the budget. Don’t let finance tell you what the budget is—work with them to get what you need in order to achieve the goals.
  • The competition: Too often we only think about the competition when it comes to market share goals. The competition needs to factor into all your decisions since there will be competitive reactions to every strategy your company undertakes. If your competition is successful in blocking you, it will make achieving your goals difficult.
  • Market conditions: If you’re heading into a period of economic unrest without a recession-proof product or service, you need to take these economic factors into account. This is where scenario planning can help you be ready for any situation, so you can course-correct.
  • The sales function: Marketers need to take a critical look at the sales team and ask tough questions before setting goals. Is the sales team set up to support your marketing goals such as utilizing business development representatives (BDRs), geographical distribution, sales training, etc.? Can the sales team grow fast enough to handle the demand generated by marketing? Is finding talent a problem? Does your company have a great onboarding process or does it take a long time for sales reps to get up to speed? Since sales and marketing go hand in hand, these questions will help you gauge how aggressively to set your goals.
  • The product/service: Sometimes products and services do not come out on the expected launch date and marketing is left hanging. When tuning your goals ask these two essential questions: Does your product/services team have a solid track record of on-time delivery? Do they have a history of great quality? If the answer to both is yes, then you can set your goals accordingly.

     

Once we determine these key goal-impacting factors you can create goals that are achievable, measurable,
and more importantly, forecastable.

 

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Dan Faulkner is co-author of The Next CMO: a guide to operational marketing excellence, and the CTO of Planful, where he is responsible for the technical strategy and delivery of the world’s first AI-powered marketing management platform. Dan has 25 years of high-tech experience, spanning research and development, product management, strategy, and general management. He has deep international experience, having led businesses in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America, delivering complex AI solutions at scale to numerous industries. Dan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics, and Masters degrees in Speech & Language Processing, and Marketing. He has completed studies in Strategy Implementation at Wharton.

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