Writing on a sticky note on a notebook

Setting the right goal is the backbone of an effective inbound marketing strategy. It can provide a foundation for how you develop your marketing approach. It can also help you identify milestones to track as you make progress toward important business objectives.

While business leaders and marketing managers recognize the importance of setting marketing goals, defining them is often easier said than done. Where do you start? Which goals will truly help you move the needle? How much should you stretch while still identifying SMART marketing goals that are attainable? These aren’t easy questions to answer.  

7 Steps to Identify The Right Marketing Goals for 2023

After hundreds of conversations over the years, we’ve discovered a few best practices that can help you set marketing goals that align with your overall business objectives. Whether you’re just starting the process of defining your goals or finalizing your marketing plan, here are a few helpful steps to ensure you set the right marketing goals for the year: 

Step #1: Evaluate and Analyze This Year’s Goals 

Taking time to reflect on your experience over the past year is the best place to start. What were your goals at the beginning of the year? Were they helpful in moving you toward your ultimate business goals? Were you too ambitious in some areas? Were there certain obstacles that kept you from achieving your goals? Which goals would you keep and which would you jettison?

These are all incredibly helpful questions to help you develop smarter marketing goals for the following year. At Green Apple, we often encourage our clients to include other stakeholders in the process of evaluating goals. Whether it’s capturing anecdotal feedback or conducting a thorough SWOT analysis, it’s important to approach the conversation with honesty and candor.  

You won’t be able to improve if you don’t take the time to identify your current reality. This leads to the next step. 

Step #2: Define Your Current Position and Barriers to Growth

Defining the proper marketing goals requires an accurate understanding of your current reality. It’s important to consider your current growth level. You shouldn’t expect to grow by double digits (without a significant shift in budget or strategy) if you’ve averaged 2-3% growth. This also means making an honest assessment of your limitations. Every marketing tactic requires time, energy, and resources. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to set audacious marketing goals without the ability to make the necessary investment to achieve them. 

Step #3: Incorporate Your Business Goals and Initiatives into Your Marketing Goals 

One of the best ways for your marketing efforts to impact your business is to ensure your goal supports the overall direction of your company. This is an often overlooked but essential step in setting your marketing goals. As we partner with clients to develop their marketing strategy, we take time to identify any business objectives marketing should support. Often, this requires collaboration between the C-suite, marketing team, business development team, and even customer service and operations. 

The point is to understand what your company is trying to achieve so that you know where to invest your marketing budget.

Step #4: Identify Your Priorities

If you could only focus on three or four marketing goals for the year, what would they be? If you could only focus on one, what would it be? Asking these two questions can help you define your priorities. Biting off more than you can chew is a common mistake when it comes to setting the right marketing goals. 

Ranking your priorities can ensure you focus on what’s most important. It can also provide clarity if you’re forced to make budget cuts or other business decisions that might impact your overall marketing campaign. 

Step #5: Set Clear, Written Objectives and Key Results 

Based on the insights you gain from the first four steps, you’re ready to define your marketing goals. Writing your goals down is also important. According to research from CoSchedule, marketers who write down their goals are 376% more likely to report success than those who don’t. 

It’s important to have a timeline for each goal or objective. For example, 

  • Goal: Grow our social media following
  • Objective: Increase social media audience by 30% by April 1, 2023
Step #6: Detail Your Milestones and Metrics for Success

The best way to drive your results and keep your team motivated is to break down your annual goals into quarterly and monthly milestones. This can also be helpful if you work in an industry where certain times of year are busier than others. 

For example, if you have a Q2 sales goal that’s higher than normal, you might want to set a Q1 lead generation goal that can support it. 

Step #7: Determine How to Translate Metrics into Actionable Insights 

If you want to achieve your end goal, it’s important to be able to translate your marketing results into actionable insights. This shift in the way you approach marketing metrics can make a huge difference.  

If you’re struggling to identify the right marketing goals for your business, you’re not alone. We’ve worked with businesses in a variety of industries, and each has its own unique set of challenges when it comes to setting the right goals. 

Let Us Help You Achieve Your Goals

If you need help setting the right goals or designing a marketing strategy to help you achieve your business goals, our team is here to help.