Setting an objective is listed as the first step to a powerful digital campaign by the Digital Marketing Institute. It sounds simple, you know what your marketing campaign goals are right? In reality, the process can challenging, and without proper consideration, businesses often end up with a campaign that lacks direction and doesn’t link together HiveDigitalStrategy go as far as claiming that goal-setting is one of the most difficult tasks digital marketers must complete. Despite this difficulty, the benefits are significant and justify the effort require to define clear objectives that are the foundation of a successful campaign. I have listed some of these benefits below:-
Given the importance of objectives, it should become clear that to effectively analyse your strategy, your objectives should be effective, or ‘SMART’. by creating objectives using the framework, you are keeping up with many of the best businesses in the world, as they all are driven by focussed objectives. MindTools defines the individual letters of the ‘SMART’ acronym as; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Below is a breakdown of the five letters involved.
At the forefront of business knowledge:
The ‘SMART’ framework is widely accepted to have been introduced in 1981, by George T. Duran. However, it is still at the very forefront of business knowledge, with the only development coming recently in the form of ‘SMARTER’ goals (The E and R stand for evaluated and revisited). The last two letters of this acronym are letters that usually come at the end of the campaign and so they are not actually necessary when first setting the objectives.
Now lets examine each letter of ‘SMART’ and how it can be used to create an objective.
To make your objective specific, you need to avoid ambiguous terms and ensure that there is an outcome that you desire from your digital marketing strategy. Your objective should answer the following question: What do I want to achieve?
Example: I want to increase traffic to my website.
By giving a specific outcome, you are able to centre your strategy around achieving your goal.
To make your objective measurable you must be able to answer the following two questions:
- How many/how much?
- How will I know I have achieved my objective?
Example: I want to increase traffic to my website by 20%.
By giving a tangible number, you can determine when your goal is reached and track it along the way.
Making your goal achievable means identifying the overarching method you will use to achieve your goal. Can you answer the following questions?
- Is it possible to achieve my goal?
- How will I achieve my goal?
Example: I want to increase traffic to my website by 20% using Search engine Optimisation (SEO).
By giving the method of SEO, you are ensuring that you have a path to follow, and can plan a strategy based around this.
Determining whether your goal is realistic often involves a combination of research and estimation. You should answer the following questions.
- What resources am I able to allocate to this plan?
- Are the resources available enough to achieve this plan?
Example: I want to increase traffic to my website by 20% using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), with an allocated budget of £2,500.
The number of resources you will need to allocate is highly individual and depends on a lot of variables such as your level of competition, market saturation, and your financial situation.
It isn’t enough to say you want a certain outcome. Give yourself a deadline. if your objective is to increase visits to your blogging site by 1000, then set a time-frame. Within a month, within a year?
Example: I want to increase traffic to my website by 20% using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) within 6 months of campaign implementation, with an allocated budget of £2,500.
Using your SMART Objectives:
If your objective fits in with all five of criteria, then you have a ‘SMART’ objective and are ready to plan and implement a clear, defined digital marketing strategy, something that over half of businesses are failing to do. Get Ahead of them!
A REAL WORLD EXAMPLE:
TOMS, in the spirit of social entrepreneurship, launched a campaign that successfully implemented SMART objectives. ‘One day without shoes’ is a campaign that was launched by the company, with them encouraging the public to go barefoot for a day, and a donation of shoes being made by the organisation for each person that participates. Heres how their campaign followed the ‘SMART’ framework.
- Specific – Persuade people to go barefoot for a day.
- Measurable – Receive proof via Instagram of people participating.
- Achievable – Post persuasive content (Stories) on social media.
- Realistic – Ensuring they have the resources to manufacture and deliver the donated shoes.
- Time-bound – Host the ‘One day without shoes’ on one day in May (May 10th in 2017) annually.
TOMS ‘One Day Without Shoes’ Campaign – Source: http://www.toms.co.uk/one-day-without-shoes
SMART objectives will have a positive effect on any digital marketing campaign. Why not have a go at creating your own examples and posting them below?
Thanks for reading!
Learn how to make your ‘SMART’ objectives ‘SMARTER’.
by Rory Tarplee
MSc Digital Marketing Student (Full-time)