Better Goal Setting for 2013

If you get our e-newsletter, you already know that we’re turning our attention to goal setting and planning for 2013. We’re willing to bet that you’re doing the same now that we’re officially into the last month of 2012.

Goal setting is an essential task for any marketing department, but it’s not always as easy or straightforward as it sounds. Many companies fail to set effective goals simply because they don’t give the goal-setting process as much time or attention as it deserves. So how can you ensure that you’re setting goals that will help your organization thrive in 2013? Here are a few tips:

  • Start with organizational objectives. What are the 2-3 biggest things that your company as a whole hopes to accomplish in 2013? Make sure you have a good understanding of where the organization is going and why. Your marketing goals should be directly connected with these organization objectives and should answer the question “how can marketing help us to achieve this our company’s big plans for the year ahead?”
  • Look back. What were your goals for 2012? Did you achieve them? If so, why were you successful? If not, what held you back? Evaluating your performance over the past year will help you get an idea of what’s working and what’s possible.
  • Mine the data. After you’ve done a top-level review of your performance against last year’s goals, go deeper and mine the related data for key insights. Did you notice a drop in open rates for your e-newsletter last July that corresponded with a concurrent drop in sales? Did you see web traffic spike after the announcement of a new product in February? Uncovering data-driven insights like these will help to develop your focus for 2013.
  • Identify key areas for improvement.Based on your organizational objectives and your review of 2012, come up with a couple key areas you want to focus on in 2013. Then, evaluate them based on the following questions:
    • Will focusing on this area have a significant impact on our organizational objectives?
    • Do we have the manpower and resources to make significant improvements in this area?
    • What would success in this area look like?

After your evaluation, it should be easy to see how you can develop goals from the key areas for improvement that you’ve identified.

  • Develop a short list of  SMART goals.  The SMART goal acronym has been used ad nauseum, but for good reason. It’s very useful for describing what makes a good goal. A SMART goal is:

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Attainable

R = Realistic

T = Timely

Make sure your goals meet all these criteria by attaching specific numbers that would indicate success, and a timeline in which the goal should be accomplished (i.e. increase interactions on social media by 25% by December 2013).

  • Share with your team.  The most essential (and most often overlooked) part of the goal setting process involves informing your team of your goals and delegating the work it will take to reach them. Schedule a meeting to go over your 2013 goals, provide context for how they relate to the organization’s objectives, and make sure your team understands what they must do to achieve them.

Are you in the process of setting goals for 2013? How is it going?

Featured image via Real Life Selling.

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