You Have Goals, but Do You Have the Right Strategy to Achieve Them?

Before You Determine Your Strategy, Ensure Your Marketing Team is On Board With Your Goals

When it comes to marketing, what comes first, strategy or goals? Today, many companies are refactoring their goals due to volatile market conditions. When this happens, goal-based marketing plans can get complex fairly quickly, especially if you are creating both qualitative and quantitative goals that are multifactorial. Make certain your team establishes goals before creating marketing strategies. Teams should understand goals at an intimate level, especially the ones that are relevant to their functional area.

Some best practices include:

  • Collaborate with the full team on setting objectives
  • Make goal creation the first strategic activity you engage in (before building the plan)
  • Assign individual goals to each team member that support hitting the topline objectives
  • Implement weekly status reports that focus activity on achieving the goals
  • Build scenario-based goals and strategies for quickly adapting to changes in the market landscape or new corporate initiatives
  • Create one location where the marketing goals, strategy, campaigns, and budget all reside so the team is constantly reminded of what’s important

The last bullet point looks simple and logical but is a common mistake made by many marketing teams. Too often the goals live in a slide presentation, the strategy in another document, and the campaigns are in a spreadsheet – all disconnected. The marketing planning process for strategy and implementation must be built in a way where the marketing team never loses sight of the goals and strategy (always front and center for all activities). The only way this works is for the goals and the plan to be consolidated for easy collaboration and modification for team members.

Marketing Goals vs. Strategies: Goals Need a Corresponding Strategy

Now that you have all your goals set for the year and buy-in from the entire marketing team, you need to build a strategy for achieving each goal. The marketing strategies you create will be the essence of your marketing plan and should be used to shape your campaigns. When building your strategy you must keep in mind achieving your topline objectives, qualitative goals, and measurable metrics of achievement, or you risk not delivering on what matters most.

Here is an example of a marketing strategy in the context of the Goals Pyramid structure that we covered in last week’s Building a goals hierarchy to eliminate busywork marketing blog post:

marketing goals vs strategies

Establish Topline Objectives

The topline objective in this example is to create awareness for the company. The qualitative goal of becoming the #1 thought leadership blog in the industry in terms of readership adds specificity to the type of awareness and provides the target for the team to aim for. In order to reach the lofty metric of achievement set at 1,000,000 blog visitors, the marketing team knows the content needs to be outstanding so word spreads. Although using a content marketing strategy seems straightforward, the real question is how do you do it well and efficiently.

Create Marketing Strategies to Achieve Goals

The marketing strategy chosen in the example above is to write a book and segment the chapters into a blog post series on a specific topic. The marketing team estimates if they write 10 chapters and divide them into 5 blog posts each, they will generate 50 high-quality blog posts that count toward achieving their team goal of 52 thought-provoking posts for the year. By breaking the book up into series they can entice the readers to come back the following week to learn more about the topic.

This marketing strategy also spawns a book launch campaign to further create awareness and drive eyeballs back to the blog. As part of the book launch campaign, different marketing channels such as social media, public relations, and digital will be used to guide the target audience to the blog, further ensuring the success of the stated goals.

As you can see the marketing strategy is the connective tissue between the goals and campaigns. Thinking through your marketing strategy makes building campaigns easier and provides the “how” for your team. If you are not doing this today, include this best practice in your next marketing planning cycle.


What Goes into a Goals-Based Marketing Strategy?

When creating a marketing strategy to achieve goals, marketers need to determine the right:

  1. Audiences to target
  2. Messages that resonate with the audience
  3. Campaign or series of campaigns
  4. Set of marketing channels/vehicles to reach the target audience
  5. Marketing cadence (blast, pulse, drumbeat, etc.)
  6. Amount of budget to allocate for supporting the cadence timeframe
  7. Who owns the strategy to achieve the goal?
  8. After you determine these 8 elements, they become the cornerstone of your marketing plan.

Measure the goals based on the proper success metric

At the end of the day, goals are only good if you can measure them accurately. Although we have come a long way, measurement these days has still not hit the level of perfection we all desire. Qualitative goals can be tricky to measure. For reason below is a list of qualitative goals coupled with the best way to measure success. The qualitative goals are grouped by the topline objectives they serve as illustrated in the Goal Pyramid diagram.

When it comes to marketing goals vs. strategies, goals should come first. Marketing teams should establish goals, and then create marketing strategies to achieve those goals.

I hope you found the 3-part goals-based marketing blog series informative and something you can rally your team around to improve focus and achievement. Come back to the Planful blog next week for the beginning of our 3-part blog post series on marketing budget management and optimization.

Planful is a marketing planning software that is used by CMOs and marketers to build detailed plans to accomplish key marketing goals. Learn more about our marketing performance management software and its features.


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