Setting better goals is the key to a successful project

5 min read


Over the past 8+ years MODassic has worked with over 200 businesses and met with many more to discuss their marketing goals. From those engagements, we have gained some unique insight and expertise into what makes a project and business successful – and what doesn’t. It almost always comes down to goals.

As marketers, we often find ourselves playing the role of business consultant (and sometimes psychologist) just as much as creative. We’re often guiding clients through some of the essential business metrics and asking many questions they’ve never asked themselves. We do this because to implement a successful creative, it has to be inline with and support strategic business goals.

Unfortunately, most businesses don’t set very good goals.

Not only do goals set the target and framework for your marketing strategy, they also help you determine the value of reaching those goals. When you know both the value and likelihood of reaching a goal, you can appropriately determine the value and budget of the projects needed to achieve that goal.

This year, set good goals and build a marketing strategy designed specifically to achieve those goals. Here are few tips to help you do that…

Your goals aren’t actually goals

The first mistake businesses make is confusing their project wish list with goals. When we ask clients about their goals, an “updated and redesigned website” is one we naturally hear a lot. Unfortunately, that isn’t a goal. It’s a means to an end. You may very well need to redesign your website, but the goal needs to be focused on what the redesign should accomplish. Why do you want to redesign your website? The answer to that question is likely the goal. Is it to reposition your company? Is it to increase leads? Increase sales? One of those reasons is the goal and the redesign is how you assume you’ll achieve that goal. You can’t reasonably expect a website redesign to achieve those goals if you don’t define them. A redesign may improve your positioning and conversion of existing traffic, but if that goal requires getting more people to the site, it’s highly unlikely that a redesign alone is going to accomplish that. Now that we’re getting closer and talking about a real goal instead of a project, we’re going to make the goal a smart goal.

We like to use the S.M.A.R.T. goal acronym, developed by Hubspot, as it’s an easy to remember guide for setting good goals.

Here are the steps for setting smart goals.

S – Is it specific?
Your goal needs to be specific. Let’s say you’ve realize your goal isn’t just to redesign your website but that it’s actually to increase leads. That’s a good start, but let’s take it further and make it specific. For this example let’s make it this – increasing sales qualified leads by 20%. That is a specific goal.

M – Is it measurable?
Next, we need to determine how we’re going to measure that goal. We need to define what we consider a sales qualified lead and ensure that we have a system in place that can measure it. For this example, let’s say that a sales qualified lead is a visitor who has downloaded a product PDF and visited the website more than once.

A – Is it attainable? 
Make sure that you aren’t setting yourself up for failure. Knowing your industry and your company’s position in that industry, is a 20% increase attainable? Are there that many reachable customers out there?

R – Is it realistic? 
If you’ve determined that a 20% increase in leads is measurable and attainable, you must next ask whether it is a realistic goal, based on what you have to work with. Do you have a budget? Do you have a team or agency relationship that can help you achieve that, or are you on your own and working with no budget but expecting to magically get there?

T – Is it time-bound? 
For a goal to be measured it has to be time-bound. It can’t be a perpetual goal that you hope to one day reach. Goals should be reached or missed and then new goals can be set. In our example, let’s make the goal to increase sales qualified leads by 10% by the end of quarter 1 and 20% by the end of quarter 2.

Now that we’ve made our goal a smart goal, a website and marketing strategy built around the goal of increasing sales qualified leads by 20% within 6 months is going to be much more effective than simply redesigning the website. Additionally, with a goal set we’re more equipped to talk about the resources and budget required to achieve that goal. A project can only achieve the goals that it is designed to achieve.

The last step – assigning value to your goals

Is $20,000 for a website redesign and $3,000 per month to implement a digital marketing strategy worth it?
You can’t answer that question without having smart goals and assigning a value to that goal.

What is the value of increasing sales qualified leads by 20%?
To determine that value, you need to know the average value of a customer and determine how much you are willing to pay to acquire that customer (cost-per-acquisition). In addition, you’re going to need to understand the conversion rates of visitors-to-leads as well as the conversion rate of leads-to-customers. Answering all of these questions will help you arrive at an appropriate value and budget for the plan to achieve that goal.

If you haven’t already defined those numbers or are struggling with how to do that, a good agency should guide you through that process to arrive at them. At MODassic, we go through this process with every client. We’ve had a few prospects who weren’t comfortable with the questions we were asking, primarily because they had never thought about these things before. And that’s perfectly fine. However, it is essential for a project to be successful.

A 20% increase in sales qualified leads over 6 months could mean an additional $800,000 in revenue for one business and $50,000 for a different business. Therefore, the value is relative. A successful strategy can be implemented at every budget level, if and only if, the goals are smart and the value is determined and inline with those goals.

Here’s to a great year and setting better goals!


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This project is by CivicBrand, the civic focused division of our agency,
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