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How to Define and Measure Marketing Objectives: A Start-to-Finish Guide

8 minute read

At the core of any great marketing plan is a list of strategic and clear marketing objectives.

Marketing objectives are a brand’s defined goals. They outline the intentions of the marketing team, provide clear direction for team members to follow, and offer information for executives to review and support.

Marketing objectives are a pivotal part of a marketing strategy. Without defined goals, a brand will struggle with achieving its plans because it won’t be clear on what it wants to do.  A straightforward plan is required to know what you hope to do and how you plan on doing it.

So if you’re developing a marketing strategy that has a vision but lacks a concrete list of marketing objectives – use this guide to improve and upgrade your plans.

You will be far more likely to reach your goals when they are defined, outlined, and compiled into a clear list of measurable marketing objectives.

How to Choose Marketing Objectives

The first step in creating a useful list of marketing objectives is reviewing the options you have for your strategy.

While there are many goals you can outline in your marketing plans, some of the most frequently used marketing objectives examples include the following goals. Consider the stage and position of your brand, and select two or three marketing objectives to focus on.

Example Marketing Objectives

Promote New Products or Services

If your upcoming plans include launching new offerings, your marketing objectives should include promoting those new products and services.

Grow Digital Presence

If your brand doesn’t have a large footprint online, your marketing plans may be to start SEO and grow your visibility in search engine rankings as well as social media platforms.

Lead Generation

If your pipeline isn’t full, you may want to focus on lead generation tactics that grow your email list and fill your client relationship management (CRM) system with qualified prospects.

Target New Customers

You may choose this goal if you already have a loyal client base but would like to expand out and reach new audiences, customers, and clients.

Retain Existing Customers

Rather than focus on new customer acquisition, you may want to focus on keeping the existing customers you already have.

Build Brand Awareness

If your brand is new or only known to a small audience, one of the marketing objectives to focus on could be expanding your reach and getting more people to learn about your brand.

Develop Brand Loyalty

If audiences already know your brand, you may want to focus on building not just awareness, but a deeper brand affinity and loyalty.

Increase Sales and/or Revenue

If you are selling products or services, you may want to focus on selling more of those offerings. This is one of the marketing objectives that will increase revenue and the amount of money coming into your business.

Increase Profit

This marketing objective is different from increasing sales and revenue, because you may increase your profit through means other than selling more. This objective may include cutting expenses and overhead, selling more items that have higher margins, or other changes that increase profit (which may not necessarily increase revenue).

Expand Into a New Market

If your brand is already well-known or successful in a specific industry or geographic area, you may want to expand out into a new target market, vertical, or location.

Grow Market Share

Instead of growing into a new area, you may want to expand your footprint in your current market. This objective helps you get more available customers in your industry or geographic location.

Build Industry Authority

Another way to grow your visibility in an industry is to become an expert in the field. You can focus on establishing your brand as an authority in your vertical.

It may be tempting to look at this list and want to choose five, 10, or even all of the marketing strategies. But it’s important to note you should keep your list of marketing objectives relatively short. Take time to focus on two to three objectives at a time, and then create plans to revisit and refocus on other goals at a later time.

How to Define Clear Marketing Objectives

Once you know which marketing objectives you want to focus on, it’s time to drill down into the details of those goals.

It’s not enough to just outline the marketing goals you want to accomplish. You also need to validate your plans and make sure they are practical, useful, and reasonable.  You must check to see if your objectives are SMART.

SMART marketing objectives are:

  • Specific: The goals are clearly defined and outlined so the whole team understands the objective and why it’s important.
  • Measurable: The goals have key performance indicators (KPI) and benchmarks that allow you to measure your success.
  • Achievable: The goals are within the ability of your company and team. While you want to set a high bar, you also need to remember to set goals within your means, so you don’t set your team up for failure.
  • Relevant: The goals are relevant to your brand mission and direction of your business. You should have good reasons for each of your marketing objectives.
  • Time-Bound: The goals need to have a timeline that indicates when the objectives begin and end.

The types of marketing objectives that work best are SMART.  So use this method to check each of your goals to make sure they are worth pursuing.

The types of marketing objectives that work best are S.M.A.R.T. Click To Tweet

KPIs to Assign to Marketing Objectives

Once you know your marketing objectives and goals, it’s time to figure out how to measure them.

As mentioned above, successful goal setting requires placing KPIs and benchmarks on your plans. You need to assign numbers, deadlines, and metrics to each of your marketing objectives.

KPIs and marketing metrics allow you to evaluate progress along the way and assess results at the end of your campaign. Without benchmarks for your goals, you will have no way of knowing if your work was successful.

So as you lay out your marketing plan, assign relevant KPIs that will help you assess and measure the output of your work. Examples of KPIs you could use include the following metrics.

Example KPIs for Marketing Objectives

Sales Growth

When looking to improve your sales, keep an eye on your revenue (amount of income coming into your business) and/or number of units sold. Both of those metrics will help you gain insight into whether your sales are growing. Monitor changes over specific time frames as well as during the duration of campaigns or marketing initiatives to see trends and fluctuations.

Changes in Profit

Changes in profit, or ROI , don’t necessarily mean increases in revenue or sales. It specifically monitors your profit margins, which is how much you take in after your expenses and costs.

Market Share

Your market share is the portion of a market that your brand or product controls. This metric helps you compare your company to others in your industry and identify ways to reach your growth potential. To measure changes in your market share, you need to know your current share of the market.

To find your market share, consider the total revenue and market size of your industry or geographic location. Then divide your company’s total revenue by the total revenue of the market. This calculation will give you an estimate of the percentage of the market your brand controls.

Lead Generation

There are many ways to measure lead generation metrics. Depending on your marketing objectives, determine which metrics will measure your success best.

  • Number of leads: total number of new leads brought in
  • Increase in leads: percentage change in lead generation compared to other time frames
  • Cost per lead: amount of money spent to acquire one new lead
  • Conversion rate: percentage of your traffic that becomes a lead after visiting your website

You can also break down these metrics into SQLs (sales qualified leads) and MQLs (marketing qualified leads) to get an even more detailed look at your data.

New Customer Acquisition

When in a growth phase, you should keep an eye on new customer acquisition and the metrics that help you monitor growth. KPIs that measure customer acquisition include the following metrics.

  • Number of new customers: amount of new customers acquired over a certain period
  • Increase in new customers: percentage change of new customers compared to other time frames
  • Cost per new customer: amount of money spent to acquire a new customer
  • Lead-to-customer ratio: percentage of leads that become paying customers

Lifetime Value of a Customer

If you’re focused on marketing objectives that relate to your current customer base and keeping those shoppers and clients happy, consider these metrics.

  • Number of repeat customers: number of customers who return
  • Customer retention rate: percentage of customers who return
  • Lifetime spend: average amount customers spend with a company over their lifetime

Customer Spend

You may also want to look at metrics that relate to individual, one-time purchases. Monitor the average spend per customer to see the most common ticket sizes for each shopper or client.

Conversion Rates

When running campaigns that have intended results (such as a customer making a purchase, a website visitor signing up for a free trial, an audience clicking on a link in an email, etc.), you should always monitor the conversion rates.

Conversion rates are the percentage of people who perform the desired action when presented with an option to act. Track conversion rates for all of your landing pages, website opt-ins, emails links, free trial sign-ups, or any other call to action in your marketing campaigns.

Website Metrics

When your marketing objectives include digital plans, it’s important to keep an eye on web analytics  and online KPIs that tell you how well your site is performing.

  • Sessions: number of visits to a website
  • Unique visitors: number of unique people who visit a website
  • Page views per visit: average number of pages a website visitor views on a website
  • Bounce rate: percentage of website visitors who leave a site after viewing only one page
  • Time on site: average amount of time that website visitors stay on a site

To view these stats: use Alexa’s Site Overview Tool. Enter your site URL and produce a report to view data for these metrics.

web analytics marketing objectives

Social Media Engagement

When engaging in digital strategies as they relate to social media, you may also want to utilize KPIs as they relate to social performance.

  • Increase in fans/followers: amount of new followers/fans acquired over a certain period
  • Number of comments: number of comments left on your posts or updates
  • Number of shares: number of times your content was shared
  • Number of opt-ins: numbers of leads generated through your social campaigns and/or posts
  • Traffic to website from social media sources: percentage of your website traffic that is referred by social media sites

SEO Performance

If your marketing plans include improving your visibility in search, monitor KPIs that show improvement in your SEO status. To get an accurate look at each of these metrics, use Alexa tools to keep track of (and improve) your numbers.

  • Alexa Rank: a measure of how popular a website is compared to other websites (the lower a website’s number, the more popular it is)

To check your Alexa Rank: use the free version of Alexa’s Site Overview Tool to view a site’s score in the U.S. as well as across the world.

alexa rank marketing objectives

  • Number of sites linking in: number of websites that have published a link to a website

To view a website’s number of backlinks: use Alexa’s Sites Linking In Tool. The report includes the total number of sites linking back to the target site, as well as each linking site’s global Alexa rank and the webpage that includes the link.

site linking in marketing objectives

  • Keyword share of voice: percentage of searches for a target keyword that lead back to a website

To check your brand’s online share of voice against your competitors: use Alexa’s Competitor Keyword Matrix. Enter your site URL along with up to nine competitors. When the report is ready, use the filter to find information related to your target keyword. Enter the keyword you want to research in the filter for “Include terms.” Then view the percentage of the target keyword that you and your competitors claim.

share of voice marketing objectives

To see which brand has the highest share of voice for a term: use Alexa’s Share of Voice Tool. Enter the target term and view the brands that have the most visibility for the phrase.

keyword performance share of voice

As you go through this list of KPIs, consider which metrics will offer the best insights related to your goals and objectives. Assign numbers and use benchmarking to monitor your progress toward accomplishing your goals.

Taking the time to assign metrics and review your results will help you gain insights into which strategies worked and are worth additional time and resources. It will also help you improve your processes and find more success in the future.

Marketing Objectives Help You Achieve Your Goals

Even the most ambitious and inspired marketing strategy can’t succeed without an important element – clearly outlined and measurable marketing objectives. So as you create upcoming marketing strategies, use this list of objectives, guidelines for SMART goals, and list of KPIs to create plans that are defined, outlined, measurable, and far more likely to succeed.

For more help with reaching your upcoming marketing goals, sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan. The plan includes the tools mentioned in this post along with dozens of other reports and features to help you research your competition, make better marketing decisions, measure your results, build your online authority, and reach your upcoming goals.

How to Define and Measure Marketing Objectives: A Start-to-Finish Guide