A marketing plan is a map, but a map doesn't make sense unless you know where you want to go and how you will get there. Goals and objectives help you get to where you want to be a year from now, or whatever your time frame is. It also gives you the ability to measure your progress and determine which programs have been effective.
Although the words are used interchangeably, there is a difference between goals and objectives.
|Can't be validated 'as is'
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A marketing plan includes business goals, sales goals, and marketing objectives. The sales goals and marketing objectives demonstrate how you will achieve your business goals. Figure out what your short- and long-term business goals are. They may be driven by the company, market, or technology. For example:
- company definition (e.g., "to be a manufacturer of safety equipment")
- market definition (e.g., "to attain leadership in dollar market share and volume for the highway construction segment of the safety equipment category")
- technology (e.g., "to become known in the industry as the most innovative manufacturer of highway construction safety equipment")
You have a grasp on the industry statistics and how big the market is. Base your sales goals on what percent of that market you believe you can capture within a year timeframe, what kind of business revenue and profit you have achieved in the past, and what is a realistic amount of business you can conduct.
For example, if 100% of your sales are from government contracts, a sales goal might be to increase the amount of commercial business to 10-20% of your business so that you can diversify your business and be able to withstand downturns in government spending.
Marketing objectives should support your sales goals. They typically involve increasing sales revenue, number of units sold, market share, and product awareness.
Make your marketing objectives meaningful by creating SMART objectives:
Specific - What is the precise outcome? Who is responsible?
Measurable - How will progress be measured?
Attainable - Can the objective be achieved with a reasonable amount of effort?
Realistic - Do you have the ability and resources to get the job done?
Time dependent - What is the start or finish date?
Examples of marketing objectives:
- Increase awareness of our service with commercial companies by making 24 presentations to decision-makers in private sector companies within the next year.
- Reach target audience and inform them about the features and benefits of our product and its competitive advantage, resulting in a 5% increase in units sold in six months.
- Generate new business within existing accounts for a 10% increase in total sales revenue within one year.
For your business, think about several marketing objectives. Make sure they are consistent and not in conflict with each other. The rest of your marketing plan (the strategy, tactics, and budget) should support your marketing objectives so that together, your marketing efforts pay off and help you meet the goals you have put in place for your business and your sales.
Use the Goals & Objectives Worksheet (PDF file) to define and quantify your business goals.