Are Your Goals Smart Enough? 4 Ways To Find Out

It’s easy to get caught up in the details of getting campaigns out the door. After all, there are a lot of details, and results don’t come in until the campaign gets sent.

That’s why it’s important to take a step back and make sure your goals are smart enough.

How do you know if you have smart goals? They should be…

1. Aligned with brand and enterprise goals. Some marketers are fortunate to work for organizations that set goals from the top down every year. When done right, these personal performance goals usually translate nicely into email marketing goals. They already have senior management buy-in, so they’re good benchmarks to determine whether you are going to wow senior management.

If you aren’t lucky enough to work in an organization that sets goals for you, then it’s even more important to define goals and socialize them within the organization early on.

Keep in mind, not all goals need to be about sales or revenue. Sometimes a brand is best served by a goal that achieves another objective. For example: if you are focused on customer service campaigns that drive traffic to your Web site instead of the phone, you might be able to claim responsibility for a share of the cost savings from not having to open another call center (a multimillion-dollar expense).

Think carefully about what your brand needs to accomplish, and how that aligns with what email marketing can achieve. The intersection is where you will find goal material.

2. Actionable. Starting with brand goals doesn’t always work. Brands often have value statements instead of goals, like “Make customers feel valued.” In this example, even if an email marketer could get funding for a way to measure this factor, it would likely be affected by many other kinds of marketing efforts.

Avoid this type of situation, where you will have to share nebulous results. Instead, choose a goal that is actionable specifically through email marketing.

3. Impactful. Sometimes, marketers are put in an awkward position and asked to set goals that are entirely arbitrary, such as: “Sell 100 of the size 10 widgets” or “Make $50,000 in revenue per send.” These sound like good goals because they are specific.  

That’s still a problem, however; they are so specific that they are not goals so much as they are tiny tactical objectives with limited impact.

Marketers should look for goals that will impress senior management when the results come in. Compare, “Sell 100 of the size 10 widgets” with “Increase online sales through email by 10%.” The latter is going to help win bigger budgets and more staff. That’s where you need to focus.

4. Measurable. It's important to focus on what can actually be measured. Improving sales is a really good goal, unless the data available to you does not include sales information. If you cannot measure it, you cannot have it as a goal.

Marketers tend to try to get as close to conversion data as possible, and then fall back to email engagement metrics when conversion is not obtainable.

There are situations where marketers need to use opens and clicks to measure results. If you are in that position, lobby hard for quantitative research to firmly establish a measurable link between your email engagement metrics and actual results. This may be difficult, but it is critical to your group’s success to have that link and the ability to quantify your efforts.

Are your goals intelligent enough? If they aren’t, get to work on smart goals that will help you succeed.

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