During difficult economic times, it can be very challenging for businesses to experience growth. Business objectives can be clouded with financial worries. One way to ensure your company stays on track is to implement a SMART marketing strategy. The SMART approach is an effective tool for creating marketing campaigns that will deliver your objectives and produce tangible results.
The SMART approach can also be used in other areas, such as project management, employee-performance management and personal development. Human resources departments often incorporate SMART objectives into the appraisal process.
Another use for SMART objectives is in financial planning. They could ensure legislative compliance is achieved correctly. Not only does this make good operational sense, it also protects the company against professional crimes such as online fraud, which could result in having to hire criminal defence solicitors.
SMART is an acronym which refers to the following criteria:
This point refers to the marketing objectives themselves. It is vital that marketing plans include specific objectives that are prioritised as one goal at a time. Often, business managers are too keen to achieve all their goals at once. By focussing on one goal and objective at a time, it is more likely they will all be achieved.
Goals can be made specific by answering the following five questions; what, why, who, where and which. The ‘what’ refers to the goal what does the company want to achieve? The ‘why’ determines the purpose of achieving the goal. The ‘who’ concerns the people involved. The ‘where’ asks the question relating to location. The ‘which’ identifies requirements and constraints.
It is important that marketing plans include goals that can be measured in order to establish success. Measurable goals could include number of units sold, sales revenue or profit. A measurable goal will ensure the team or individual stays on track and adheres to deadlines or targets.
Marketing plans should be created with achievable goals and historical information should be used to set them. By setting achievable goals, businesses are more likely to benefit from the effects of success such as boosting employee morale. Goals that seem unachievable will have a negative impact on your workforce because success is unlikely and your staff are more likely to experience failure. This will also make future planning more difficult.
This point is slightly different from the ‘achievable’ SMART objective. A realistic goal should answer these questions: (i) Is the goal worthwhile? (ii) Is the timing right? (iii) Does the goal match other business needs? (iv) Is the right team of people in place to achieve the goal? Often this point will require business managers to assess their overall targets and determine whether they have the appropriate resources in place to set realistic goals.
This point ensures your marketing plan has an appropriate start and end schedule. This allows business managers a chance to analyse how the approach worked and what results were achieved. Timelines are useful tools for monitoring the progress of a campaign. It is also important that deadlines are set. The urgency produced by setting a deadline ensures that the project team focuses their efforts on achieving the goal on or before the due date.