Youa€™ll be joining the 130,000 Smart Insights members from 80 countries who trust our advice to Plan, Manage and Optimize their marketing. When identifying specific marketing objectives to support your long-term goals, it is common practice to apply the widely used SMART mnemonic.
One of the main reasons that we called our site and service SMART Insights is because we wanted to help marketers succeed through using a more structured approach to planning to give more realistic targets they could be more confident of achieving. With SMART objectives documented in Plans linking objectives to strategies and KPIs everyone is sure exactly what the target is, progress towards it can be quickly and regularly reviewed, for example through an Ecommerce dashboard and, if necessary, action can be taken to put the plan back on target.
Will show you how to set the right SMART goals as part of a Digital Marketing Optimization programme. When setting future objectives for marketing such as in a marketing plan ita€™s useful to look hard at each measure and ask a€?is it essential?a€?. Specific a€“ Can the detail in the information sufficient to pinpoint problems or opportunities? Time-boundA a€“ Can objectives be set for different time periods as targets to review against? Of course different people interpret define SMART differently and you can refer to the Wikipedia definition of SMART marketing objectives.
Ita€™s worth guarding against the mistake I sometimes see with student assignments where, rather than listing objective examples like those above, the student will create separate objectives under a heading of each of SMART - this doesna€™t worka€¦ Better is to group objectives in a logical way, sometimes separating out overall business and marketing objectives and digital marketing objectives. You can add to your tests of choosing the right objectives using these 10 measure design tests developed by performance management specialist Professor Andy Neely. These tests show there are additional filters on top of SMART are useful to choose the best measure, I particularly like the "So-what test, another way of explaining relevance and Gaming - a common issue with target setting that isna€™t considered by SMART!
This definition certainly shows the many alternative SMART objectives definitions - you may want to compare against these! This is a tight article, walking through the ins and outs of goal setting that will actually get you places.
Personally, I enjoy the SMART setup, although I’ve had projects teach me a slightly different method in the past.
It’s really helpful with all aspects of online business, as well as real life settings.
Unfortunately, a lot of CEOs and MDs are content to set business and marketing objectives that are too vague and wishy-washy. Realistic – are you willing to work towards your objective?  Are you going to put in place plans that will actually come off or will something else in the business get in the way?  Make sure it’s realistic that the objective will be worked towards by all concerned.  A good indicator is to ask yourself if you genuinely believe it can be accomplished.
Time-based – set some time limits to your objectives, so that you know over what periods to measure them, and so you can see if they’ve been achieved.  For example, your objectives could be tied into an annual plan, or you might want to measure the number of leads generated every month. You’ll be joining the 130,000 Smart Insights members from 80 countries who trust our advice to Plan, Manage and Optimize their marketing.
KPIs, we all have them, sometimes we set them for ourselves, often they are set for us! The question is, are the KPIs you are reviewing supporting your efforts into making the boat go faster? This posts explores how you can ensure you are using the KPIs that are helping you track performance in line with your business goals? KPIs give an integral pulse on the business that help keep you be aware of what's really going on and they allow you to exert control to pull the right levers to keep on track according to what actually matters.

I find when speaking to clients, that goals, objectives and KPIs are used interchangeably by many. Note that this is just one way of defining it, you may decide to just use specific SMART goals. If your targets (goals or objectives) aren’t SMART, they’re not clear for you to believe in and for others to follow.
There are more detailed resources on Smart Insights to help you evaluate your goals and objectives and run Digital Marketing Optimization.
Remember that when selecting the metrics you are going to use for your KPIs,  that using a score or calculation rather than a finite data point may be more useful. Ensure they are always meaningful to your audience, even (god-forbid) engaging. Think carefully about the language you select to tell your story internally, and engage others (maybe your team, or your CEO) in sharing your value in a KPI.
If you are not checking in your metrics, often, then they weren’t important in the first place.
Tracking your KPIs is one thing, but to ensure they are being used to achieve your business goals, they need to be related to, and generate action.
If you're looking for an alternative view, a good place to start is  Avinash Kaushik’s explanation of goals, KPIs and  metrics in the context of web analytics. In this third installment in our series on the power of visuals, we’ll dive deeper into using visuals specifically for strategic planning.
Leslie and I were impressed with Ben McConnell’s one-page strategic plan infographic on the Church of the Customer Blog. You may have noticed that our marketing plan chart (above) has goals at the top while the Church of the Customer example has objectives at the top. You will know that SMART is used to assess the suitability of objectives set to drive different strategies or the improvement of the full range of business processes. Using SMART objectives and then measuring them through properly customised analytics reports is a big part of how we hope to help too. The SMART mnemonic helps as a test or filter which you can use to assess the quality of measures. If the objective doesna€™t change behaviour in staff to help them improve performance, there is little point in it! Acquire 50,000 new online customers this financial year at an average cost per acquisition (CPA) of A?30 with an average profitability of A?5.
Are they translated from business goals or just a bunch of metrics someone thought they may as well stick on a weekly powerpoint dashboard because Google Analytics spits out a sexy graph? For me, the key  when setting KPIs for marketing and digital marketing is to start with the business goals. It's understandable, but can lead to confusion within a businesses and when talking to providers. What's important is setting specific targets (goals or objectives) that you can evaluate performance against! In fact, when they are not SMART, they can do more damage than good, causing multiple interpretations of what good looks like and possibly drive the wrong behaviour.

For example if you set a business objective to the leading voice in the local fish & chip market, and a goal to have your shop be mentioned in over 50% of all online fish and chip conversations in your local area by December 2015, then a simple ‘mentions’ metric pulled from a listening tool isn’t going to good enough to know if you are yet in the lions share of conversations. Now how do you make sure it’s front of mind (and easy to comprehend) for the people implementing it? Creating a visual map of your strategic plan offers another way to ensure your plan makes sense.
A written strategic plan with hierarchical numbering can be daunting to read with its jumble of numbers, letters, and roman numerals. If you have a strategic plan, turn it into a visual infographic (see instructions above) and share it with your team. While there isn't a 'right or wrong' way to define these, it is definitely a good idea to have clarity on this.
This is key for all striving to achieve the goals, how will they know when they’ve smashed them. What if we talked about new likes on Facebook as ‘audience waiting to be inspired’ or cart dropouts as ‘potential customers we failed’. If you own a card shop, and your focus is on driving customer to your store from the high street around the corner, then footfall is a key indicator of success. Bring KPIs to life with regular reviews and actions will demonstrating your team are firmly aligned to the goals of the business… and not just see as reporting for digital marketing self-indulgence. Used well they help keep the agenda clear and simple, driving teams to focus and allowing celebration of success. It’s often more difficult to show the various connections among the goals, objectives, strategies and tactics.
Ensuring your business goals and objectives are SMART ensures they are achievable and therefore celebrates success as well as highlight shortcomings, there’s nothing more demoralising than a moving target and that’s what un-SMART business goals are!
This may seem a little over the top compared to the safe ‘click-through-rate’ or ‘reach’ numbers, but maybe its worth asking the question: Would more listen up and pay attention if the KPI actually described what was happening to the business? So you monitor it, and think about it every day making small changes to what you write on your chalk board each week to see what works in driving more people into your store.
The approach he recommends is to have a clear top-down approach so goals support vision and more specific objectives add detail to goals. If you ran a card shop on the high street and you had 50% of customers walking out on you because paying was just too painful, would you talk to your staff about the ‘basket abandon rate’ that day, or talk to them about the 'customers we pissed off’. But without monitoring how many people come in every day, the owner cannot make an informed decision on if the message on the board is any good or not. Yeah that’s right, the one that actually says what’s happening, evokes more urgency and action, and that actually helps frame ideas for solutions.

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