In marketing, it all starts with a goal. 🎯
You evaluate the relevance of each marketing strategy, action, and decision according to goals. Whenever you make a marketing decision, it's a good habit to ask yourself, "What's the end goal?"
Before leaving your house, you automatically check whether you've got your keys so you don't lock yourself out. After doing it every morning, it has become a habit to the point that you sometimes question whether you've done it or not!
Similarly, before starting a marketing plan, and throughout its creation and evaluation, keep asking yourself: "What's my end goal?"
Define this goal as clearly as possible and keep it in sight - it will help you achieve it faster. If you start with vague objectives, you risk locking yourself into a bad plan and wasting your marketing resources.
It's a question you can't ask yourself too often, so I'll walk you through how to answer it.
Discover the Different Types of Goals
An organization can have several types of goals:
The mission is the overall long-term goal of the organization.
Strategic goals flow from this mission and guide decisions over the midterm.
Operational goals turn strategic objectives into specific short-term actions.
Every organization has a purpose.
For example, for Steve Jobs, Apple's mission was:
Simplifying the use of technology.
At OpenClassrooms, our mission is to:
Make education accessible.
An organization's mission is its ultimate goal. Most of the time, it's written in terms of societal impact. However, not all leaders are concerned about their impact on society in the same way. For some companies, the underlying mission is maximizing profits, whether the societal impact is positive or negative. For others, such as nonprofit organizations, it's their primary concern.
In reality, most organizations fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
Even if your organization's mission is not well-defined by the marketing team, it will directly impact your goals and marketing strategy. Whether you work for a more profit-oriented or a more societal-oriented organization, your goals, and marketing strategy will not be the same. So take the time to understand the mission of the organization in which you do business.
Let's think about Mimine's. Arthur and Zoë define their company's mission as:
Enabling parents to dress their children from infancy to teenage years with zero waste.
"Simplifying the use of technology" or "making education accessible" is easier said than done. How do you know where to start?
To achieve such an ambitious mission, you have to define your strategic goals.
These goals will allow you to bring a long-term vision into a medium-term view. Without this to guide you, it will be challenging to organize your resources.
So you can use the mission to define timelines:
Enabling parents to dress their children from infancy to teenage years without waste.
Within one year:
Capture online sales worth at least 10% of the French market for scalable children's clothing (€200,000 in revenue) by 2021.
Within two years:
Capture online sales worth at least 25% of the French market for scalable children's clothing (€500,000 in revenue) by 2022.
Within three years:
Capture online sales worth at least 50% of the French market for scalable children's clothing (€1,000,000 in revenue) by 2023.
Your strategic goals have helped create a timeline and defined how you will measure them to achieve your mission. But how do you make sure you can reach these goals? By specifying your operational goals.
With these short-term goals, you define what you expect to happen as a result of your activity. While achieving a strategic goal is a collective effort, you can assign operational goals to one or more people.
In marketing, you can distinguish three main categories of operational goals:
Awareness goals: an activity intended to make the market aware of your offer and brand. Here you're not looking to push towards a direct purchase but get your target audience to know you. It increases the chances that they will become a customer in the future. Since it is indirect, the return on investment in this activity is more difficult to calculate.
Here's an example for Mimine: "Exposing the Mimine brand to more than 30,000 people at least four times per person in January."
Acquisition goals: an activity designed to acquire new customers or users. Use and measure an ROI-focused approach. Note that acquiring a customer who already knows you costs less than acquiring a customer who has never heard of your product or brand. Coordinated acquisition and awareness campaigns work more effectively! 😉
Another example for Mimine: "Acquiring 300 new customers with an average cart of €100 in the next two months with a budget of €3,000."
Loyalty goals: if your customers were satisfied with your offer, persuading them to buy again is cheaper than acquiring new customers. A company's customer list is one of its most valuable resources.
Examples: "Get 5% of previous customers to purchase again in May," or "Get the average number of orders per customer to be above two per year."
Set SMART Goals
Now you know how crucial it is to define your goals and keep them in mind. That said, a poorly-defined plan will not help you much.
Imagine if Arnaud and Zoé's strategic goal was for Mimine was "to be a fashion leader." Sound nice, but it's not going to help them know how to achieve their mission.
To set intelligent goals, use the SMART method. 🤓
SMART is a mnemonic for the five golden rules for effective goal setting. SMART goals aren't limited to marketing and are useful across an organization.
A SMART goal must be :
Unsurprisingly, the goal of being a fashion leader does not meet any of these five conditions.
Let's make it SMART!
Mimine operates in the fashion sector but isn't its market. Not all clothing and accessories buyers are interested in scalable clothes; and even fewer for children's scalable clothes.
We can start by transforming:
"Being a fashion leader" => "Being the leader in scalable children's clothes."
What you can measure, you can improve.
Being a leader can be open to interpretation. As it's written, it isn't objectively measurable. Let's fix it:
"Being the leader in scalable children's clothes." => "Capture at least a 50% share of the scalable children's clothing market."
The goal is taking shape. How do you think it could be more actionable?
Why not hinting about the strategy they will use to achieve it?
"Developing online sales to capture at least a 50% share of the scalable children's clothing market."
It's not bad, but it can be even better. Given that Mimine is still only a small project, becoming a world leader in the next few years is too ambitious. Why not start by expanding into the rest of the French market?
"Develop online sales to capture at least a 50% share of the French market of scalable children's clothes."
Almost there. There's still one point left to clarify.
"Develop online sales to capture at least 50% of the French market for scalable children's clothing within the next three years." ✅
Do you see how it differs from "being a fashion leader?" ❌
In this chapter, you learned to:
Recognize, specify, and choose the goals to focus on. These goals are either strategic or operational, linked to the company's mission.
Set out its goals with the SMART method: they must be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound.
You're now better equipped to conduct a market study, which will tell you if your goals are too ambitious or not ambitious enough for your market - and if you should revise them.