The Goals and Objectives Journey
I recently had a discussion with my 5-year old about goals and objectives for basketball.
Kylan: “Mommy, I want to be able to shoot a goal by the end of the season.”
Me: “Well that’s a good goal Kylan, let’s create some objectives to complete your goal.”
Kylan: “What do you mean, I’m going to shoot the ball and it will go in the hoop.”
Me: “Well Kylan, there are things you have to do to build up to the ball going in the hoop. You will have to practice everyday, work on your technique and build your strength. We will probably need to do that several times a week so you can eventually get the ball to the hoop.”
Kylan: “But, why can’t I just shoot the ball? Won’t it go in if I shoot it enough.”
Me: “Eventually, but you want to get it in by the end of the season. It’s important to train and work on everything you need to so we can ensure that you reach your goal in the time you have set. This is called an objective and there are steps that you need to take to get there.”
Kylan: “Well that seems hard.”
Me: “It is son, that’s why it’s called a goal, not just do whatever until you see if it works or not.”
As his little 5-year old eyes looked at me in complete disgust at the realization that he would have to put in quite a bit effort. It put some things into perspective about a percentage of businesses. Some executives have that same mix of disgust and disappointment at the realization that there has to be a plan of action and resources applied to meet goals. There is a necessity for objectives to be put into place in order to advance the marketing goals they have set for the month, quarter or year. Yep, we are going to have set aside time and budget then prove the energy, effort and dollars being spent have real return.
The biggest challenge can be defining achievable marketing goals that feed off of a business’ goals. An even greater disconnect if the marketing and business goals aren’t really aligned.
[bctt tweet=”The biggest challenge can be defining achievable marketing goals that feed off of a business’ goals.” username=”hbdigitalstudio”]
WHEN THERE IS A DISCONNECT
Let’s start by taking a look at an example of a company I’m working with currently. One of their business goals is to improve customer service. The main challenge is how they market improved customer service, but no tangible evidence in the digital space that proves their marketing to be accurate. Low customer engagement online, a lack of responsiveness, negative sentiment. Thus we have a disconnect with our marketing goals and business goals. Just because you talk about something doesn’t make it true. Their customers know that, the sentiment is clear in the social sphere, currently it’s tracking 73% negative/27% positive sentiment. What is the company doing to really improve customer service and what attainable goals have they defined to improve?
The answer is NONE. So, how do we fix this issue? The power of SMART goals. A SMART goal is one that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. So how does that relate to this company? Let’s define a goal to increase positive social sentiment to 60% by the 4th quarter of 2018. We now have a specific goal related to tracking how consumers view customer service, which is tangible. A measure that is attainable, 60% is better than half. It’s February so we have 10 months to develop, test and pivot strategy if necessary. It’s relevant to a major business goal and we have set a date that this goal must be achieved. We have the skeleton of a plan, but what about the objectives? How are we going to get there? Here is where we start to have some real fun.
Objectives now come into play, and objectives need resources. Friendly reminder that my son said: “Well, that seems hard.” Well, it is hard. It’s not meant to be easy, it’s meant to accomplish the goal. But, it can get easier over time if you know where you need to go and have a good sense of how to get there.
[bctt tweet=”Objectives not supposed to be easy, they are supposed to accomplish the goal.” username=”hbdigitalstudio”]
Now, back to this company, how are we going to get them there? They have gone years not creating goals for themselves, and they have not secured the resources to set real objectives. We are going to take a step back and consider what they have in place and who they have in place to manage it. The objective is to improve social sentiment, so let’s focus our resources there.
Improving community management on Facebook, is one place to start (objective). Let’s also think about what’s needed to increase tweets with customer service updates (objective). Then invest time into trackable sentiment that can be monitored using tools like: Hootsuite, Buzzsumo, Boardreader, Howsociable, Sumall, SimplyMeasured, or even Google Alerts (objective). Mostly free or inexpensive.
Now that we are tracking, let’s begin creating social campaigns around positive consumer stories (objective). The reactions of the customers are what matters, not only how you shape the conversation. Regardless of how you are tracking, the work revolves around active engagement (objective). Delivering information consistently (objective), innovating by adjusting your messaging to embrace current culture (objective). These seven objectives are a well rounded set of action items that will assist the company in reaching it’s goal.
Back to my wide eyed 5-year old. We have 2 weeks left in the season and he hasn’t quite hit his goal yet. But, it’s not only up to him. I’m his resources, and if I put in the time for him to practice, he has a better chance of getting the ball in the hoop. I immediately quantify the return on my investment in him once he finally scores and understands the hard work that needs to be put into achieving the end result. The joy that he will feel from his accomplishment will also help my goal of giving him another reason to smile.
And that company, if they apply the resources, they will see the return of improved positive customer service on platforms that have far more reach than what they have done in the past. But, they will never know unless they try, and yep it’s going to be “hard”.
[bctt tweet=”You will never know unless you try, and yep it’s going to be hard. #next” username=”hbdigitalstudio”]