Designing your first marketing plan: Identifying your objectives
Updated: Apr 7
If you're new to marketing, either because you're just starting out in your career or perhaps because you're now responsible for a new business area, it can seem daunting.
Marketing activity can attract high budgets, and the pressure to get it right can be scary.
However, establishing a few principles can quickly provide a foundation to build both your knowledge and your plans quite quickly.
There are five key questions to ask yourself that will help you map out your marketing approach. I'll share these over a few posts, so look out for the next few questions and get ready to build up a basic marketing plan.
Here's question one, and it's THE MOST IMPORTANT of all.
Question 1. What are you trying to do?
The answer to this is not "put a video on TikTok" or "Get on the billboard the CEO drives past every day".
Your marketing should have a purpose. Pull it right up to a high level: what business or organisational objective are you trying to achieve or support?
For example, the marketing goal could be:
Helping management communicate why it is necessary for staff to return to working from the office
Bringing in new customers to support reaching the annual growth target
Getting donors to give annually rather than just as a one-off
These should directly align with the business objective, for example:
Moving 80% of the staff back into the office full time by May
Bringing in £5m additional revenue in FY2023/24
Converting 40 occasional donors into annual direct debits this year
Make your objectives SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound). This removes any lack of clarity about whether they have been achieved or not. There is nothing stopping you amending these in time, they are not written in stone, so be specific and adapt later in needed.
Image: Glenn Carstens-Peters
Starting with the goal of your marketing is critical. If you start at the bottom with tactics, rather than at the top with objectives, you could lose your way, and will find it difficult to know if what you are doing is making a difference.
Make sure that you know the overall business objective your activity needs to support, then translate that into a marketing objective.
This makes it clear to others how important the marketing function is to business success.
Plus, it's well known that staff are more engaged and perform better when there is a clear link from their day to day work to the bigger picture, ie when they can see how their own work is impacting the company's success. Even if you are both the marketing employee and the CEO, this still rings true!
When you have an objective you're happy with, you are ready to move onto asking yourself the next question: Who am I trying to this to, with or for?
If you're struggling to identify the objective for your marketing activity, you'd benefit from expert strategic marketing support. Get in touch and we can work on this together!