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SMART Marketing Planning

November 8, 2011

This week’s hot topic is  marketing planning.

Every organization should have a clear plan detailing their marketing goals, how they intend to achieve them, and determine performance of marketing efforts. Whether you are responsible for your organization’s strategic marketing plan or department or program’s tactical marketing plan, you must first set clear, concise goals so that you know what you are working towards.

To begin, every successful strategy, marketing or otherwise, should lay out SMART goals. Yes, SMART goals. Your marketing goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

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Be specific about your goals!

When writing your marketing goals answer the following questions:

  • What are you going to do? Use action words like increase, direct, develop, or build.
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • How will you achieve this goal?

Do you want to “be more popular on Twitter” OR do you want to “Post more content to Twitter in order to gain 500 new followers (small business owners) by March 11, 2012?” Obviously the latter is a SMART marketing goal; it is specific, measurable attainable, realistic, and timely.


Marketing without the ability to measure is NOT MARKETING! If you set a goal that cannot be measured, you will never know when it’s achieved.

Rick Burnes’ How to Spot A Clueless Marketer said every marketer should have the ability to gauge the success of their marketing activities. Otherwise, they are clueless about their marketing.

In our example, we can easily determine the number of new followers we need each day, week, month… in order to achieve 500 new followers by March 12, 2012. 


Are your goals within reach? Some brands can attract 500 new Twitter followers in one day, but that’s an unlikely feat for others. This is realistic, but may be unattainable for you. Your goals should require an increased commitment, but should also be possible. Setting impossible goals will increase your likelihood of giving up on them.


Is it possible for you to achieve your goal? It would be unrealistic to say that you want to “post more content to Twitter in order to gain 500 new followers (small business owners) by March 11, 2012” if you do not have computer and/or internet access.

You must have the knowledge and available resources need to achieve your goals. Otherwise they are unrealistic.


Specifying time limits gives you a clear target to work towards. Just saying you want to “post more content to Twitter in order to gain 500 new followers” does not give you a timeframe to gain the followers. Eventually you will gain 500 new followers, but it may be too late. Time must be measurable and realistic.

Setting timeframes such as end of the quarter, or end of the campaign are necessary in some cases, but it’s much better to have a specific date set when setting goals.

Now tell us, how SMART are your marketing goals?


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