← Briefing 101
Deep dives
Finishing touches

How to set marketing objectives (with examples) 🎯

Ewan Patel
Co-founder & CSO

Objectives in marketing are the backbone of a standout campaign. Or even just a good campaign. A marketing objective is the goal to shoot at, the try-line to cross, the triple-20-on-a-dartboard to throw at.

Metaphors aside - an objective is the entire reason you are creating a particular piece of marketing in the first place: the change you want to see in the world and for your brand. Let's get stuck in.

What are marketing objectives?

Objectives are a set of measurable goals that you are looking to achieve. There are three types of objectives in a marketing brief- your business objective, your marketing objective and your communications objective.

To those of you who have read our guide on defining your problems, these will be familiar to you. After all, objectives set the direction for where you want to go to solve a problem.

How to set objectives (with examples)

Business Objective

The results your business as a whole is aiming at.

That means finance teams, sales teams, warehouse teams, and yes, marketing teams all work towards achieving them. They might be monetary and sales-led, or they might be related to broader ambitions held by the CEO, like expanding market-share. Whatever they are, they need to be SMART - but more on that later.

Increase sales across our range of beauty products by 10% in 3 months.

Marketing Objective

The marketing outcomes that are subordinate to the business objectives.

That's a fancy way of saying the things that marketing can achieve that will lead to better sales and profits. This is usually related to changing consumer behaviour. For example, your marketing objective might be about getting them to start or stop doing something, or getting them to increase store visits, basket sizes, clicks and shares. Think carefully about these objectives, and calculate if achieving them will actually have the business effects you want. Setting these objectives is critical and needs buy in from every stakeholder.

Increase the average basket value by 20% for all women aged 18-34 in 3 months.

Communications Objective

The ways of influencing your audience to achieve your marketing objectives.

What effect on your consumers do you need your communications to have in order to meet your marketing objective? Do you want your audience to think a certain way? And can you measure that? Or do you want them to associate your brand with a particular feeling? This needs to be rooted in a clear understanding of your audience - check out our article on finding your target audience to help you get to the bottom of who they are, how they feel and what they are already doing in relation to your brand.

Get women shopping for themselves to add an extra item to their basket as a gift.
Deliver CTR of 20% throughout the campaign.

How to write SMART marketing objectives

There are two things you need to do to ensure you have a clear, strategically-sound set of objectives:

Make them SMART.

Make them ladder.

SMART Objectives

All good objectives (in marketing and everywhere else) are SMART.

  • Specific - numbers, numbers, numbers. What percentage increase do you want to see? How many new customers do you want?
  • Measurable - how will you know if you’ve met this objective? Do you have tracking tools ready?
  • Achievable - is this realistic, based on the size of the brand and the campaign budget?
  • Relevant - does achieving this objective put the brand in a stronger place than before? Does it align to what the brand is trying to achieve in the short, medium and long-term?
  • Time-Bound - how long do you have to achieve this objective?
Increase unaided awareness in the "accessible and easy" segment from 58% to 75% by July 2023.

Keep your objectives SMART, and smart work soon follows.

Laddered Objectives

Let’s say your business has a very clear objective to increase revenue by 10% in the next 3 months. How the f*** are you meant to do that?

Well, you could get more people to buy your products. Or you could get the same number of people to buy more of your products each time. Or you could get them to buy your products more frequently. Now you’re in marketing territory.

Ok, great. Now how are you going to do that?

You need your audience to think and feel something that will make them spend more money with you. You could get them to buy more things if you bundle them up. Or you could get them to see your product as a unique solution to a problem they’ve been experiencing. Or you could get them to buy an extra item as a gift for someone else, especially around the holiday season.

Each objective informs the one below it, and each objective drives the one above it. That’s your ladder.

What about setting content marketing objectives? Or digital or social or email objectives?

While the details and scale may vary, the fundamentals of objective setting are exactly the same across every marketing channel and every type of marketing brief. Start with your business objective, ladder it down into your communications objective, make them SMART and away you go.

Of course, if you want to make writing a great brief easy, you can always try Briefly 🌱