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What Are Your Goals?

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What are your goals? The question seems simple but I find that many times people have a hard time articulating them. Especially when it comes to their organization. 

We love to get things done. You, me, really everybody. And when we need to get things done we jump into a flurry of activity. Unfortunately, activity without a plan just leads to our sole accomplishment of being we were active too much of the time. 

Activity is good. Not getting anywhere with that activity is bad. This is why I’m a proponent of creating a strategic plan

There are many things that can be part of a plan but one thing I always include is goals. In fact, when planning I have two separate sections in which goals are created. Sound weird? It’s not and it will make some sense a little later.

Today, I’m going to talk about creating goals that help you get to where you want to be. 

Goals Are the “G” in GSOT

Goals are just one part of a bigger picture. When planning my digital marketing and public relations activities (which I lump into the term marketing communication), I always use GSOT. 

What is GSOT? I’m glad you asked. It stands for Goals, Strategy, Objectives, and Tactics. 

When looking at this model goals sit at the top but looks can be deceiving. This is because goals aren’t really at the top. They are the foundation. It starts with the goals at the bottom and then you add on the strategy, objectives, and tactics.

So, when you are creating the pieces of GSOT, think of it as working from the bottom up. When you are executing, you work from the top down because you are working to achieve your goals.

I’m going to break down GSOT into four articles so I can talk about each in more detail but it’s important to remember that each piece is interdependent which is to say they all work together. If you pull GSOT apart and treat each part as if it’s independent, you’re going to have problems. 

What are Goals?

Goals are the destination. It’s where you want to be at the end of your journey. 

Say you want to go on vacation. Would you just hop in the car and go? Probably not. The first thing you do is determine where you want to go. 

Without a goal, you will be wandering aimlessly hoping to achieve something. Strange enough that’s what many people do. Many organizations fall victim to this too. 

There is activity but it’s like a group of horses all pulling in random directions. We may get lucky and go in the same direction for a moment but it won’t last and it may not be in the direction we want to go.

Goals are also broad in nature. They are your big idea. When Apple launched the iPhone its goal was to capture 1% of the smartphone market by the end of 2008. 

Let’s look at the criteria that I’ve defined for goals. 

They are a destination. Where does Apple want to be at the end of the year? They want 1% of the smartphone market.

Goals are also broad in nature. What’s the big idea? 1% of the smartphone market by the end of 2008. I know that doesn’t seem broad but when you look at it in context, Apple was entering a new market. 1% of the market was 10 million iPhones. For a company that had never made a phone, that was a big deal. It is a big idea that is broad.

Define Your Goals

How do you define goals? You know that it is a destination and it needs to be broad in nature but it also needs to be SMART. 

This means it needs to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timebound

Let’s go back and look at our Apple example and see if it’s a SMART goal. 

Apple wanted 1% of the smartphone market (10 million phones). 

It’s definitely specific and it’s measurable. 

Is it attainable?

Apple wasn’t saying they wanted 35 % of the market. That would have been unrealistic as well as unattainable. 1% of the market was attainable.

There is no arguing the goal is relevant. Finally, there is no question that the goal is timebound as Apple said it wanted to hit 1% of the market by the end of 2008. 

The goal is SMART. 

Marketing Communication Goals

When I sat down to plan this past December, I started by identifying my business goals. Marketing Communication goals should always be tied to business goals. 

When I came to the point of creating the marketing communication goals I pulled out the business goals I thought to myself, “Huh…Are my business goals and my marketing communication goals the same thing. Should they be?”

Not every business goal is going to be supported by a marketing communication goal. If your goal is to build a new factory, marketing communication will be of no use. If you’re trying to hire for that factory or sell the products made in that factory then marketing communication will become extremely useful.

When you are creating your marketing communication goals you want to look at the business goals and ask, “Can marketing communication help me reach my business goal?” 

If the answer is yes, you can move forward and create SMART goals for marketing communication that tie back to the business goals. 

Let’s look at our Apple example one more time. Apple wanted to capture 1% of the market (10 million phones) by the end of 2008. This is the business goal. Marketing communication can help in this situation but what should the goal be? How can you tie our marketing goal to the business goal? 

It’s really going to depend on how you want to use marketing communication. I really think the goal is going to be to help drive iPhone sales.

So what’s the goal? 

In this case, I’m comfortable taking the business goal and also making that the marketing communication goal. Would I do it in every case? It depends but in this case I feel like it’s our marketing goal as well because the primary focus is on selling iPhones. That’s the key performance indicator.

In this case, we don’t have to analyze the goal to see if it’s SMART because that work is already done.

Final Thoughts

Goals are destinations. They are broad outcomes you want to achieve that need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound.

They are important but remember that they are only a piece of a strategic plan which has the purpose of helping to get your organization where it needs to be. 

If you need help creating goals I have a free ebook that can help but It doesn’t stop there. It will guide through the process to create a strategic plan designed specifically for your organization. Just click the link below.

Shane Carpenter
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