Marketing Objectives: How to Set Them in Six Steps - CoSchedule

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How to Set Clear Marketing Objectives in Six Simple Steps

Marketing objectives are the foundation of any good marketing strategy.

Imagine you’re leading a marketing team (even a sub-team within your department) and have no means of communicating the specific numbers all of their work is meant to influence.

Your team would likely…

  1. …do things they think are for the best interest of the company (but everyone would feel siloed because everyone would be doing their own thing)
  2. …wonder how their efforts are actually paying off in the long run (because they have no reason to measure how what they do is influencing actual results)
  3. …look to you for guidance (because the success of your team lies on your ability to communicate why they’re working on something, and not how to do it)

Marketing objectives help your team by giving measurable KPIs they can directly influence through their work, which, if influenced well, results in meeting goals.

In this sense, marketing objectives guide your team to develop and execute the best ideas that will make your goals a reality.

However, setting those marketing objectives is not an easy task.

What constitutes a goal vs. an objective? How do you know if you’ve selected the right ones?

Get Your Free Guide: Tracking Marketing Objectives in Google Analytics

This article walks you through what marketing objectives are, explains how to set (and measure) them, and offers some examples of objectives a business like yours might select.

As you begin communicating your objectives to your team, you’ll need methods for measuring them. Google Analytics is one of the best (and easiest) tools to measure your objectives (at least at first). The free guide that complements this article helps you:

  1. Implement the tactics you’ll learn throughout this article step by step so you can put your knowledge into practice immediately. Consider it a worksheet to follow along as you read this article so by the time you’re done, you’ll have a solid start on setting your objectives.
  2. Create “Goals” in Google Analytics so you can put real numbers to the work you do. Doing without measuring doesn’t actually accomplish anything (from a business perspective). So use these step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions to understand the value everything you publish provides.

So download your free marketing objectives guide now! 😉

Alright, now that you have your guide to follow along, let's get started!

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What Are Marketing Objectives?

There are many different definitions of marketing objectives.  For our purposes, here’s the definition we’ll use:

“A marketing objective assigns aspirational measurable values to your goals so that your team may better understand how what they do directly impacts business outcomes."

Really quick... if you're wondering what the difference between a marketing goal and a marketing objective are, here's an example:

Goal: "{Company} must be perceived as a leader in the {industry} market so that we may increase market share, which ultimately drives revenue growth." This is what you want.


Objective: "{Company} will increase share of voice by 20% by the end of Q3." This is how you'll know if you've been successful at influencing that goal. With objectives, your team may better come up with ideas to influence a specific metric that results in making the goal a reality.

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Why Do Marketing Objectives Matter?

Marketing objectives are the endpoints of your marketing strategy. They give your team a direction and a goal to work towards.

They also help show what’s working by giving you something concrete to measure your progress against.

Finally, establishing clear objectives is important for determining which specific marketing tactics and tasks you’ll execute to achieve them.

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17 Goals And Marketing Objective Examples

If you’re in the process of setting your new objectives, here are some goal and objective examples to help get you started:

17 Goals and Marketing Objectives Examples

Goal Example Marketing Objective Example
1 Improve brand reputation Gain and retain a 90% positive share of voice by the end of the calendar year so that prospective customers know, like, and trust us.
2 Increase brand presence Publish 4 articles every month on external sources our target audience follows to increase brand presence.
3 Optimize brand positioning Define brand positioning statement and communication frameworks by the end of the month so that our team understands our strategic differentiators from the competition.
4 Increase traffic Test three new traffic generation methods every month to increase traffic month over month by 3%.
5 Increase suspect pipeline Increase website conversion rates by 2% by the end of Q2 so that we increase the number of suspects in our marketing to sales pipeline from 500 to 510.
6 Diversify lead sources Test two new lead generation sources every month in fiscal year 2020 to find at least two successful methods of generating new demand that we will implement by the end of 2021.
7 Acquire more prospects from existing market Implement content upgrades into every blog post by the end of the calendar year to turn 30% of our website visitors into prospective sales leads.
8 Launch product Define the go-to-market strategy for Product A by the end of the week so that the team can create all content before the launch date.
9 Improve product quality Launch Product A by the end of the month with zero bugs.
10 Acquire more customers from existing market Implement off-site tactics to acquire 5% more customers month over month by the end of the fiscal year.
11 Break into new markets Research the competition in Market A by the end of Q1 so that we understand how to differentiate Product A positioning to win new marketshare.
12 Retain existing customers Reduce bugs to zero for every feature launch so that user churn decreases to 3% by the end of Q4.
13 Increase efficiency Publish four blog posts every week by the end of the calendar year.
14 Increase revenue Launch four new products by the end of the fiscal year to increase revenue.
15 Increase profit margin Improve brand positioning on ten existing products by the end of the calendar year to increase product value so that we may increase prices for those product lines.
16 Improve customer experience Reduce user experience challenges in Product A to improve net promoter scores (NPS) to 70%+.
17 Improve customer advocacy Implement a customer ambassador program by the end of the calendar year so that our best customers introduce our product to new prospective customers.

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How To Set Up Your Marketing Objectives In 6 Steps

Now that you know what marketing objectives are and have seen a few examples for yourself, you can begin the process of setting up your own.

Here’s how to do it in six steps:

Before we begin, let’s set the stage. This example will focus on a fictitious bookstore called “Reading Nook Bookstore.” Two different marketers are part of this story, Peter and Natalie.

Peter is a new marketing strategist at Reading Nook Bookstore.

Peter the Marketer

Natalie is the marketing director and has been at Reading Nook Bookstore for five years.

Natalie the Marketer

Let’s begin.

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Step One: Remind Your Team Of Your Mission Statement

Peter is about to begin work with Natalie on setting next year’s marketing objectives. Peter is new to this process, so Natalie decided to walk him through how setting up marketing objectives works.

The first step in this process is reviewing the mission statement of your organization.

Natalie pulled up the Reading Nook Bookstore website and showed Peter the following mission statement:

“The goal of Reading Nook Bookstore is to inspire and nurture the love of reading across generations of families.”

Mission Statement Importance

As you begin to work on your marketing objectives, remember your mission statement. If you get stuck, refer back to your statement and ask yourself:

“If we complete this objective, how does it help fulfill our mission?”

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Step Two: Set Your Marketing Objectives

When you’re setting up your objectives, the first thing you need to focus on is answering this question: What is your overarching marketing objective?

Reviewing Goals and Objectives

Your overarching objective should be the end goal that your marketing team wants to achieve by a certain time. This is the driving force behind every other objective and goal that you set.

This also means that your objective should be broad enough to give you plenty of room to work out your entire marketing strategy.

Now that Peter and Natalie have their overarching marketing objective, their next step is to set the rest of their marketing goals.

Here are some goals they might set to achieve their objective:

  1. Increase the conversion rate of their audience by 25% in one year.
  2. Double the number of purchases by 18- to 35-year-olds by June 2021.
  3. Increase average in-store purchase value from $10 to $35 in one year.

Each one of these goals has something important in common. They have a specific numerical data point that must be met by an end date.

Order of Marketing Objectives
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Step Three: Tie Your SMART Marketing Goals Into Your Marketing Objectives

The next step in Peter and Natalie’s marketing objective process is to create their SMART marketing goals.

Smart Marketing Objectives

Marketing goals differ a bit from marketing objectives.

Marketing objectives are the overarching outcomes you want to achieve, which you set for your team. Marketing goals are the stepping stones you need to complete to reach your objective.

Your goals should be the specific building blocks that help you reach your initial objectives. Each one should build off the other like this:

Business Objective to Marketing Goal Flow

So let’s take the marketing objectives that Natalie and Peter created earlier and set a series of marketing goals that revolve around each one.

Their first objective was: Increase online conversion rate by 25% in one year.

Some marketing goals that Natalie and Peter could set are:

  1. Increase the ranking of 10 landing pages to the top three spots on Google by optimizing them for specific keywords.
  2. Decrease abandoned shopping carts by 50%.

The second objective Peter and Natalie need to set marketing goals for is: Double the size of our 18- to 35-year-old audience by June 2021.

Examples of goals that Peter and Natalie could set might include:

  1. Creating an active presence on Instagram and Snapchat with each account having over 1,000 followers by the end of June 2018.
  2. Host a book club with topics aimed to entice target audience with 2,000 active members by March 2021.

Their third objective that Natalie and Peter need to set goals for is: Increase average in-store purchase value from$10 to $35 in one year.

Example goals for this post could be:

  1. Host book club Meetups in the store to increase in-store traffic by 30%.
  2. Market in the most trafficked areas of the store to increase new in-store membership signups by 25%.

Each of the goals and its parent objective relates back to the overarching goal of increasing the revenue of Reading Nook Bookstore by three million dollars.

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Step Four: Set Up A Marketing Strategy

The next step in your marketing objective process is to set up your marketing strategy. The strategy that you set up will help you reach your objective.

The marketing strategy that Reading Nook Bookstore will execute involves:

  1. Creating a blog to help generate leads from helpful and relevant content.
  2. Promote that content with social media and email newsletters.
  3. Use social media ads, Google PPC, and retargeting ads to reach new customers.

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Step Five: Match Your Marketing Goals To Your Marketing Funnel

The next step in your process is setting up a series of marketing goals that help guide potential customers to purchasing your product.

A marketing funnel will usually look something like this:

  • Awareness: The awareness stage is letting your target audience know that you exist. This could be from reading your blog, seeing your social media ads, or stumbling across a PPC ad.
  • Interest: The interest stage involves getting your target audience to connect with your content. Here your potential customers would become more invested in your content by subscribing to your email list.
  • Consideration: This is the nurturing part of your funnel. It helps connect the solution your company offers to the problems your audience is experiencing. Your marketers would be sending a series of emails to help start nurturing them to learn more about your product.
  • Intent: This is the first part of the sales stage of your marketing funnel. Here is where all of your solutions will be laid out in front of your new potential customers. This is where your sales team will step in to talk to potential customers.
  • Evaluation: Your target audience will evaluate what options have been presented to them by your sales team. At this point, your customers may return to their teams to discuss the information they found.
  • Purchase: Your audience buys your product.

Each one on the funnel stages will have marketing goals that need to be met to move customers through the funnel.

Here are some potential example goals for your marketing funnel. Depending on your funnel, your goals may change.

Awareness Goal Examples:

  • Gain 2,500 organic views for every blog post.
  • Reach 500 people for every Facebook post.

Interest Goal Examples:

  • Get 3,000 new email subscribers a week.
  • Gain 750 new social fans per month.

Consideration Goal Examples:

  • Get 50% of new customers in nurturing email follow.
  • Qualify 50 new leads from the email list per week.

Intent Goal Examples:

  • Have 25 new sales calls a week.

Evaluation Goal Examples:

  • Write five bottom of the funnel marketing posts a month.
  • Set up ten demo calls a month with potential customers.

Purchase Goal Examples:

  • Convert 75% of sales calls to purchases.
  • Achieve an average order value of $50 or higher.

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Step Six: Measure Progress Toward Your Objectives

The last step is to figure out how you are going to measure and report on the progress.

Before you even begin to build your reports, you and your boss need to determine how often you need to report your results. These could come weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly.

Once you’ve determined how often you’re going to create your report, you need to choose what metrics you’re going to track. These metrics will usually revolve around the goals you set for your team.

If we were to choose a series of metrics based on our marketing funnel goals, they would look something like this.

Awareness Metrics Example:

  1. Gain 2,500 organic views for every blog post → How many organic views do you get for each post? What is the average?
  2. Reach 500 people for every Facebook post sent → How many people does your Facebook post reach on average? What was the highest number of people reached?

Interest Metrics Examples:

  • Get 3,000 new email subscribers a week → How many new subscribers did we gain in this reporting period? What was the average?
  • Gain 750 new social fans per month → How many fans did we gain in this reporting period? How many fans did we gain per social channel?

Consideration Metrics Examples:

  • Get 50% of new customers in nurturing email follow → How many new email subscribers entered the nurture email flow in the reporting period?

Intent Metrics Examples:

  • Have 25 new sales calls a week → How many new sales calls did we get in the reporting period? What is our average?
  • Qualify 50 new leads from the email list per week → How many leads did you get in the reporting period? How many of them could be considered marketing qualified leads?

Evaluation Metrics Examples:

  • Write five bottom of the funnel marketing posts a month → How many leads came from your bottom of the funnel marketing posts? How often did they help convert customers?
  • Set up ten demo calls a month with potential customers → How many demo calls were completed? How many of them converted into paying customers?

Purchase Metrics Examples:

  • Convert 75% of sales calls to purchases → What is the average purchase price from a sales call? How many calls converted?
  • Achieve an average order value of $50 or higher → What is the order value for each call? What was the average in the reporting period?

One free and widely-used option for objectives reporting is Google Analytics.

Google Analytics can help you find an enormous amount of data about your audience and overall online marketing performance.

Other popular options include:

Learn how to build a better marketing report to look like a genius to your boss.

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Get Your 2018 Marketing Objectives Back On Track

Now that Peter and Natalie (and you) have all the information you need, you can set your marketing goals and objectives to make this year your most successful year yet.

Once you’re ready to move on to the execution phase of your marketing strategy, see how CoSchedule can help. Sign up for a demo or start your free trial now!

About the Author

Breonna was a Content Writer for CoSchedule. Her specialities include social media marketing, content strategy and blogging.

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