In all types of research, the entire planning process begins with setting a research objective that must adhere to specific standards in order to ultimately designate action and discovery. All in all, the research plan details the problems at hand, the objectives, the goals to be achieved, the ways they will be achieved and the time period in which to do so.
When you take a general look at a research plan, it’s clear that similarities exist between this and a strategic Reality Marketing plan for your Marketing Machine. Specifically, when considering your marketing strategy, you should embrace a common acronym used for solidifying research objectives: the SMART principle, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timing.
Here’s how each word in the SMART principle should be applied to your marketing:
Specific. The objectives and goals in your marketing plan must be specific, indicating exactly what your expectations are and how you plan to achieve them. For instance, “increasing my company’s number of Facebook likes” is not a specific objective; instead, focus on “increasing my company’s number of Facebook likes from 10 to 1010.” By making your marketing plan specific, you set designated metrics to work toward.
Measurable. Objectives that are measurable allow teams to reflect back on them and determine whether or not they have been successfully achieved or not. For example, a goal of increasing new leads by 60 per month may seem like a measurable objective; however, it may be unrealistic if you don’t know where those 60 new leads are coming from. It might be better to try setting a goal of increasing all types of leads by five percent month over month. This is much more measurable objective.
Actionable. Objectives for your marketing strategy must drive toward an ultimate outcome or achievement. For instance, “get the industry edge on competitors,” is not entirely actionable because it’s challenging for a company to know exactly where you are with progress and how much more needs to be done to achieve your goal. Instead, setting an actionable goal of achieving a 40% referral rate, or a Net Promoter Score of 80 more clearly shows progress and helps your team determine exactly what actions are required to improve performance.
Realistic. Your marketing strategy team and the company itself must have the ability to meet these established objectives. Objectives should be challenging, yet within reach of the organization. Keep factors like availability, time, money and resources in mind.
Timing. Your objectives must have a clear end date in order to help you after determine whether or not you are successful. “Increase Twitter followers from 10 to 100” is certainly a specific goal, but you must give it an element of time, like “increase Twitter followers from 10 to 100 by July 1 of this year,” to create a truly complete, clear and achievable objective.
Consider these important research principles along with your marketing plan and you’ll see improvements in the areas of getting found, getting leads and closing sales!
Start Today – Start with your current Marketing Machine. What has been left undefined? Using the acronym listed above, update your goals and objectives so that they are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-oriented. Now is a great time (six months into the year) to reset your goals and objectives based on the performance of the first half of 2012. Try doing things a little differently over the next few months and then revisit your goals in September or October.
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