How to set marketing goals and objectives (and what’s the difference anyway?)

Goals and objectives

Are you confused by marketing goals v’s marketing objectives? 

When writing a marketing plan, either strategic or tactical, you will need to develop marketing goals and objectives as a way of keeping focussed and knowing when you have achieved success. There can however be a lot of confusion around what, if anything, is the difference between goals and objectives. The easiest way to differentiate between the two, and help keep your plan on track is to consider the following:

Marketing Goals

Marketing goals are mid to long term statements that state an outcome, but lack any tangible measurements or time frames. They tend to be generic in nature and articulate the desired end result only.

For example:

GOAL: ‘Use social media to generate brand awareness amongst a younger audience.’

Marketing Objectives

The marketing objective on the other hand is more specific, and will articulate the commercial targets and focus needed to reach the goal – such as sales, market share or distribution. Marketing objectives support financial objectives, and therefore are more tangible. Objectives spell out how you will reach the desired end result and by when.

Marketing objectives must be written as S.M.A.R.T, meaning they should be:

  • Specific – this is stating exactly what the business is trying to achieve such as increase in sales or market share.
  • Measurable – this puts a measure on the specific and essentially will allow you to know if the objective has been achieved.
  • Achievable – the objective should be attainable with the current business structure and resources.
  • Relevant/Realistic – Is this a sensible objective? Does it match the business capabilities and the current market situation?
  • Timely – this states when it will be achieved i.e.. in 3 months, 12 months or 3 years.

For example:

OBJECTIVE: ‘Increase brand awareness amongst 18-24 year olds on Facebook by 20% over the next 12 months’.

Once you have composed your marketing goals and objectives you can move forward with the rest of the marketing plan, in particular identifying what you will need to do in order to achieve your planned success. This includes the marketing mix or the P’s such as price, product, place or promotional tactics.


About Zena Churchill

Zena Churchill is a Director at Max & Buddy Consulting. She has worked in senior level business roles across national and multinational corporations, as well as being a small business owner. Zena is a strategic thinker and brings a practical, straight-forward approach to marketing and social media. She has a passion for training & development running practical business workshops for small business. Zena is a Certified Practising Marketer (AMI), sometimes tutors in Marketing at the University of Wollongong and is a Senior Consultant with Trinity P3.

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