When I was a kid I flitted from career choice to career choice at least once every two years.  At first I wanted to be a Fire-woman, then it was an Accountant and a few months later Lawyer was the career for me,  until I discovered my passion for cooking that was, and then I was adamant I was going to be a Chef… right up until I felt it was my calling to be a writer.  And this is where I have stuck and had many successes of varying degrees.

Once you know what  you want from life, and business, in order to achieve it you ideally need a plan that you can stick to, as all successful achievements start with a plan, and all good plans start with an objective.

Now, I am not a particularly big fan of the word ‘objective’, it always makes me feel a little cold and uninspired; I prefer to use the word goal – it’s far more user friendly.  Goals can be many things to many people and when setting ones I always think “what am I going to do to achieve my desired outcome and why am I doing it?”

Being a creative I sometimes have a discombobulated approach to things and therefore I need something reliable to prevent me losing focus and going off on unrelated tangents or down avenues that will either hinder or lengthen the progressive steps towards reaching my objectives. I’m talking about making a plan, setting timescales, ascertaining resources and, where necessary, factoring in a budget.  So as I like to keep things simple when it comes to keeping things in check I have a trusty tool that I always use that is very simple yet very effective.  A track table.  Here is an example of one below that I have briefly filled out using the common objective of ‘getting more customers’

OBJECTIVE: Gaining more customers
GOAL (what do you want to achieve?) Overall new customer % increase ? Customers in a certain area of your business? Increase through recommendation scheme? Re-activating lapsed customers?
Resources (what is available to you?) Manpower & expertise: in-house and outsourced Free and paid for Outbound Inbound
Activity (what will you do?) Adverts Phone calls Open day Promotion
Channels (where will you “speak”?) Online Offline Media Events
Message (what do you want to tell people?) Cheapest, Fastest, Best? Incentives/Introductory offers? We solve a certain problem? Longest established?
Timescale One event One month A quarter Ongoing
Measurement (how effective was your activity?) Compared to last similar activity Overall % increase Did one area perform better than another? Lead to conversion %

In other words the table above takes away the the complications of setting an overall objective, and breaks it down into digestible, bite size pieces (maybe that passion for cooking is still burning inside me).

To effectively set an objective, like the table above illustrates, you need the goal, what resources (budget/people/infrastructure etc.) you have at your disposal to help you reach that goal, what you will be doing in order to achieve it (activity), where you will carry out this activity/ies (channels), what your communication will be in order to achieve your goal (message), how long you are setting yourself to achieve your goal (Timescale), and last but not least, how you can review and decide if you achieved your goal once the time is up (measurement). So really, the who, the what, the when, the why and the how much and how long.

Next week I am going to look at my favourite marketing acronyms and tell you why all the cool catz are adopting this lingo!

How to set objectives and goals

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