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With a new year beginning and light finally on the horizon due to the vaccine roll out, if you don’t already have a great plan for 2021, yet alone beyond, don’t worry Adaray has you covered.
In this blog I’ll be sharing tried and tested methods on how to set goals that help you take back firm control of your future. Step-by-step. Whether that means maximising on the opportunities the pandemic has afforded you, or building back stronger. There’s no time like the present to start safeguarding your future.
Step 1: Review and audit where you are now, and where you want to be
If you’re looking to make important decisions and set robust, evidence based goals, conducting a SWOT analysis is always a very valuable exercise.
Why? Working on two levels, internal and external. Not only does it help you identify what should be leveraged and needs to be improved; but shines a ‘future’ perspective light on things by focusing on 4 key areas:
Internal (your company)
- Strengths (what to build on)
- Weaknesses (what to improve)
External (from industry, market, society)
- Opportunities (what to develop)
- Threats (what to manage)
Now let’s apply it to something practical, like for example a review of your logo, after all this is one of the first things that springs to mind when you think of a brand. Obviously, this is massively simplified, but your audit could look something like this:
Strengths = Existing logo is established, well recognised and memorable.
Weaknesses = The logo is dated and no longer conveys the experience our clients receive.
Opportunities = Provides an opportunity for us to stand out from our competitors and signifies the progression we’ve made.
Threats = If we completely change the logo then the great awareness that has been built over the years will be lost.
With the cautionary saying ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bath water’ front of mind, the best goal to set in this instance would to be ‘evolve’ the logo as opposed to ‘reinvent’, so as not to lose any precious brand equity.
And of course no essential review or audit would be complete without a nod to the powerful PESTLE analysis. A regular in the Adaray auditing toolkit, it’s used to uncover competitive advantage, differentiated positioning and innovation. But that’s a story for another time…!
Step 2: Determine your Vision and Mission
In the words of the great Simon Sinek…
Critical to the success of your company, nail your Vision and it’s easy to set goals and SMART objectives to help you achieve it. Don’t, and risk heading in the wrong direction and taking everyone else with you.
But first of all let’s take a step back and address the difference between Vision and Mission for there’s often confusion around this.
I find the easiest way to think of it is to see your Vision as the ultimate goal you are striving to reach (at stretch). The peak of the mountain so to speak. Whereas your Mission is how you are going to get there – the route you take up the mountain to get to its summit.
Add in a motivational purpose (your why) and you have a future forward set of overarching goals for you and your team to aim for.
Let’s break down Adaray’s Vision and Mission by way of example:
Adaray’s Vision is:
Realising full potential
- Externally: For hardworking SMEs
- Internally: For everyone associated with Adaray
Things of note, Adaray’s vision:
- It works to the rule of 3 – so has enough focus to guide, but also the scope to flex and change (a must as the pandemic has shown us)
- It benefits your external clients and your internal team too. This is really important as it ensures the entire business is headed in the same consistent and strong direction.
- From a psychological perspective it’s at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which is the strategic direction of progression for some of the biggest brands in the world, think Apple, think Amazon, THINK smart!
Adaray’s mission is:
Realising full potential through the provision of blue chip marketing strategies, expert insights and ideas that inspire positive change, using a progressive PsychTech approach to business development that’s proven to deliver optimal results.
Things of note:
- It reflects Adaray’s brand essence as a Positive | Inspiring | Expert (think of this as your DNA which runs through everything).
- Incorporates its brand purpose (to be the catalyst for positive change).
- And even highlights Adaray’s competitive advantage – its proprietary PsychTech approach.
Step 3: Set your primary business goals
So you’ve set your vision, mission and purpose. Next on the list is to set clear ‘on-brand’ goals that help you get there as effectively and efficiently as possible; but whether you’re looking 1, 3 or even 5 years out, the first goals you need to set are those that activate your mission and form the basis for departmental sub-goals (more about this in step 4).
But where do you start? Having created hundreds of successful goals for companies of all sizes, across many industries and at every stage of business, they all share the same 3 fundamental aims:
- To make money.
- To attract/retain more clients.
- To stand out from the crowd.
Armed with this understanding Adaray has helped its clients do exactly that by setting 3 primary goals to help give focus, clarity and direction.
Primary goal one relates to Performance:
Here the focus is on expertise, growth and profits, obviously this is the life blood of your company, which is vital to not just its survival but ability to thrive and continue doing all the great things you do and/or dream of doing.
Primary goal two relates to People:
The focus here switches to engagement, in particular to experience and service. Quite simply it’s about making your clients and team happy. Do this and the money will naturally follow.
Primary goal three relates to Positioning:
Our final focus here is on advantage and what makes you as a brand more competitive, what do you bring to the table that nobody else can, or in a way that is better than the rest?
Below is an example, that helps demonstrate the above.
Finally, don’t forget to cross-reference your primary goals with your brand essence to ensure they are aligned and everything you do is ‘on-brand’.
Step 4: Create your balance scorecard
Our fourth essential step focuses on creating a clear balance scorecard, that keeps you focused and accountable.
Having set your 3 core strategic business goals it’s now time to start breaking things down, ensuring that every function of your business is aligned to create a strong roadmap from where you are now to where you want to be.
A great way to do this is to take a balance scorecard approach and cross-reference each core function of your business (marketing, sales, HR, finance, operations) with each of your core goals.
To aid understanding I’ve created another example so you can see how everything works and given some concrete examples so you can see for yourself how this powerfully effective tool works.
Taking a step back to what we’ve already covered, you’ll see that at the very top of the template we have those things that guide your goal setting, your vision, mission – and essence to ensure you stay on-brand.
Next, we have our 3 key strategic priorities, which as previously mentioned apply to all businesses – no matter their size, stage of growth or even sector.
Priority 1: Is all about getting your message out and driving awareness of the benefits and solutions your company provides – along with your USPs and competitive advantage. What makes you a star if you like.
Priority 2: Is all about the money obviously in order to keep doing the great work you are doing, this is essential and of course at the very bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, so a fundamental driving force in any business.
Priority 3: Is about people, your product and service, ensuring you provide them with the best support and experience you can, to win not just minds but hearts (often the key determinant for engagement, purchase and loyalty), right now and in the future too. That goes for both your clients and your team.
Once you’ve set these focused business goals, using the proven power of 3, it’s time to start creating your roadmap by breaking them down into smaller ‘departmental’ goals – i.e., what Marketing, Finance, Operations, HR etc., need to do in order to achieve those key priorities.
Do this and you’ll be well on your way to creating the clear focus, direction you need to ensure optimal efficiency and effectiveness for you and your business.
Step 5: Create your marketing goals and SMART objectives
Quick recap, so far in our journey we’ve:
- Set our vision and mission to guide (and purpose to motivate)
- Created an essence (our DNA) to ensure everything we do is consistent and on brand
- Set our 3 strategic priorities and key business goals, making sure that we’ve aligned them with all of the above
All that’s left to do now is set your key marketing goals and break them down into incremental SMART (or even SMARTER objectives as per one of my previous posts – here’s a link if you want to more about this: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/jane-guest-b9824314_smartideas-activity-6734408534299045888-ERBV) all with the aim of creating the most efficient and effective, step-by-step, roadmap to get you to your ultimate goal – your vision.
Be warned, this may take some thought and time, but it’s a really worthy investment as every minute spent getting this right is the key to not just success but high profit.
Here’s another template to clarify things for you. The first thing to bear in mind when you are setting your marketing goals is that they of course need to align with your 3 big business goals, so make sure you double check this once you’ve set them.
I recommend using the 7Ps product, price, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence to ensure you cover the entire marketing mix. As you can see, I’ve included a short summary of each below.
Once we’ve set our 7Ps it’s time to drill down into the detail and set our SMART objectives (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound). Again here is a practical example of a key marketing goal and SMART objective relating to PRODUCT (or service as the case may be).
Of course once you’ve identified your SMART objectives it’s time to start taking positive action. My top tip here for large goals and objectives is to create individual timing plans, not only will it help hold you accountable, but keep you on track and motivated to reach your goals.
#SMARTinsights: Essential steps to planning SMART business goals in 2021 (6 of 6): Last but not least, our sixth and final step is all about constant improvement. Think benchmarks, measurement, insights and of course test and trial.
Step 6: Review, test and trial to ensure continuous improvement
While the proverbial silver bullet may not exist (and for good reason – each organisation is after all like a person, unique, and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other due to a myriad of factors) – through test and trial you can discover what works best for your organisation and its clients.
A good example would be social media. If you’re new to the world inbound marketing, then it’s a really good idea to look at performance benchmarks for your industry. There are a lots of stats to be found on online, to help I’ve included a few links to highly credible sources here for you.
Click Email for benchmarks
Click Social Media and Display Advertising for benchmarks
Click Blog for benchmarks:
Click Google Adwords (PPC) for benchmarks
You’ll find average rates for your industry which you can then use as an initial benchmark for your own activity.
Remember, how you measure up against that benchmark could be down to a number of things:
- Do you have great in-house or outsourced expertise (great creative, comms and knowing what works) to help you really shine on whichever platform is right for you, be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Insta, Twitter, Tik Tok…the list grows!
- Do you have a large customer base you can email to quickly grow numbers of followers, fans and ultimately engagement rates?
- Does your wider team support by actively sharing social media posts and spread awareness in their individual networks?
- And of course do you have enough budget to do things well – better to do a great job in a few channels, than spread yourself too thinly and do a mediocre job on all – it does nothing for your brand credibility and could even be damaging…as ever it’s about ROI and getting the biggest bang for your buck.
The most important thing to monitor however is the overall trend in your performance. Regardless of whether it decreases or increases, reviewing what you have done, what worked, what didn’t, and why, after all is the only way to truly learn and improve.
So we’ve come to the end of our goal setting. Let me ask you this. How would it feel if you knew exactly where you were going and how you were going to get there. Pretty amazing right. But maybe you still don’t feel 100% confident to set those goals on your own, most likely you don’t have enough time or even just the inclination.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry I’m here if you need me, and happy to quickly do all the hard work for you. Just THINK SMART, pick a time from my diary that suits you and let’s CHAT.