Smart Goals

Your Marketing Goals Aren’t Working – Stop the Guesswork and Start Working SMART

No matter how big or small our Basel businesses are, we all have goals we want to reach. But goals come in different shapes and sizes and are broken up into many levels, departments, time-frames, etc. For example, you may have visionary, high-level goals like “be the best in Basel in our industry”, more specific goals like “gain 10 new clients per month” or goals that sit somewhere in between like “double in size this year.”

The challenge

When it comes to company goals, there are two scenarios that I find myself frequently in, and both are equally frustrating.

  1. Making goals for my team or department
  2. Reaching goals that have been required of my team or department

Making goals

As a Marketing Director, one of my responsibilities is translating overall company goal and objectives into tangible, workable goals for my team. This may seem easy at first, but it’s actually one of the hardest things I have to do. The truth is, goals are totally useless if they’re not grounded in reality. I have been in situations before where I simply make the best guess I can and hope we hit the goal. How’s that for honesty… But sometime that’s all I can do. I mean, I have to balance goals set on a company level and from Sales (whom probably are also simply doing guess work) which are realistic for my team to achieve. Ugh.

Reaching goals

This is equally as frustrating! Typically I receive very vague goals like “increase visits to the website” or “double reach.” What the hell am I supposed to do with that! The challenge here isn’t actually increasing website visits or doubling reach, I can easily achieve that by using a Google or Facebook Ad. But will that add any additional value, or result in an increase in leads or sales? Probably not. And not to mention the feedback, “You didn’t increase visits enough!” Then my internal monologue screams, “THEN GIVE ME A NUMBER THAT WILL SATISFY YOU!”

The truth is, the way we are defining marketing goals is all wrong!

SMART Goals — The better way to define goals

To help eliminate the guesswork and set the right goals for your team, establish SMART goals. Here’s what I mean by setting a SMART goal:

  • Specific — Set real numbers with real deadlines. Don’t say, “I want more visitors.”
  • Measurable — Make sure that you can track your goal. Don’t hide behind buzzwords like “brand engagement” or “social influence.”
  • Attainable — Work toward a goal that is challenging but possible. Don’t try to take over the world in one night.
  • Realistic — Be honest with yourself, because you know what you and your team are capable of. Don’t forget any hurdles you may have to overcome.
  • Time-bound — Give yourself a deadline. Don’t keep pushing towards a goal you might hit “some day.”

Example SMART Goal

Generic Goal: Attract more visitors to my website

SMART GOAL: Increase website vists by 50%, from 5,000 monthly visitors to 10,000 monthly visitors, by the end of Q3 with a monthly Ad budget of 200€.


Pro Tip: Don’t set goals by yourself. Make sure to invite a few marketing team members to help keep things realistic. Even invite some sales team members to make sure both departments are properly aligned.

Michael Bainbridge

I am currently the Marketing Operations Director for AHA Factory. I lead and work closely with our creative and marketing teams to help communicate and bridge the gap between your products and services and potential customers.

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