8 minutes reading time

How to define marketing goals - qualitative, quantitative, SMART

Defining marketing goals always means defining company goals, because marketing is not an end in itself. Nobody does marketing for the sake of marketing. The basic goals are always: more sales, more turnover, more profit. Ideally, all of this with the highest possible return on investment (ROI). For every euro invested, one euro plus X is to flow back into the company. A simple equation - but how do you manage to get this value X to be as high as possible? For this you cannot avoid suitable marketing concepts and a good public image. Defining your own marketing goals will certainly help you on your way there.

Relevance of marketing goals

Entrepreneurs often start complex and cost-intensive marketing concepts without realizing in advance what exactly is to be achieved with individual measures and without them fitting into their own overall strategy. So before devoting oneself to the concrete implementation of one's marketing strategy, one should definitely think about one's own goals. How is that important? Well, on the one hand, because otherwise you can sink a lot of money in the wrong place and on the other hand, because otherwise it is hardly possible to measure how successful an action was.

To do this, you should first take a close look at your current company situation. What are your turnover and sales figures? How many people visit your website and if your company is on Facebook, how many fans do you have? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?

If you don't know where you want to go, don't be surprised if you arrive somewhere else - Mark Twain

After you have examined the current state of affairs, you derive your general corporate strategy and goals: Suppose you run a small advertising agency, we call it "Miller". Your corporate strategy here could be that you want to distinguish yourself from the competition through exceptional service quality. On the other hand, there are your general corporate goals, which are expressed, for example, in the plan to achieve a certain market share.

A corporate strategy therefore refers above all to your USP and your personal competitive advantage over the competition. Once you have your corporate strategy and general goals in mind, you can define your marketing goals.

Defining qualitative marketing goals

When you define qualitative marketing goals, economic key figures are initially ignored. This means that you deal with questions of content such as: "Do we want to strengthen our relationship with existing customers and improve our service?" Or: "How can we build a positive company image?" When we talk about a company's image, we are talking about what an outsider thinks of it, what they think of your products, your service or your company's image. The corporate identity, on the other hand, embodies what every single member of your company - whether a managing director or a working student - thinks of it. Ideally, the company identity - also called "Corporate Identity" - corresponds to the brand image. In other words, the image an outsider has of your company is exactly what you think of your own company. This can be to your advantage if both sides have a positive image in mind. In the worst case, however, both sides have a negative opinion of your company. That is why it is particularly important for small and young companies to develop a clear self-portrait right from the start. Let's take the example of the advertising agency "Miller" again. This agency should make it clear why its service is so good and distinguish itself from the competition. The same applies to your own company: Put your USP (LINK) in the right light - be convincing! Don't forget, however, that developing your own corporate identity and building up your image takes time and can only be done step by step.

In general, you can define the following qualitative marketing goals, which are also called perception goals:

  • Communicate/publish corporate philosophy to the outside world
  • Image building: create credibility and trust with the help of your own corporate identity and strengthen customer relationships
  • Communicate USP positioning:
  1. cheapest offer
  2. best price-performance ratio
  3. supreme quality
  4. best service
  5. extraordinarily fast/creative/individual
  • Build brand and corporate image or improve it through image campaigns

With perception goals you determine whether and how you want to convey the corporate image to outsiders. These objectives make sense - because both a higher degree of awareness and a good corporate image lead to more sales and economic success.

Defining of quantitative marketing goals

In addition to qualitative targets, you can also define quantitative marketing targets based on economic indicators. You can fall back on the classic economic parameters such as turnover, sales and profit and then supplement the objectives with a time horizon. Quantitative marketing goals also refer to measures such as the so-called "conversion rate", a kind of "action/effect ratio". This relationship becomes interesting if our imaginary advertising agency "Miller" also lands orders via their company website. If 20 of 1,000 visitors contact us for sales talks, the corresponding conversion rate is 2%.

Concrete economic marketing goals with a corresponding time horizon are stated:

  • Sales increase of X% in the next business year
  • Sales increase of X units in the next six months
  • Increase market share by X% in the next financial year
  • Increase the conversion rate by X% on the site within the next year
  • New customer acquisition: at least X New customers up to date X

On the other hand, quantitative marketing goals can also be seen in terms of reach, i.e. in non-monetary values such as the increase in fans on Facebook. With these reach targets you can determine in which areas you want to address more potential customers and where you can draw attention to yourself or your product. It is therefore primarily a matter of increasing your level of awareness in general or in a certain target group.

Concrete goals in the context of reach can therefore be:

  • Increase of fans/followers on Facebook/Twitter etc. by X in the next six months
  • X more visitors on your own website until date X
  • X Entries in relevant magazines/press releases in the next three months (define in advance which magazines are relevant for you)

The definition of quantitative marketing goals offers you the great advantage that you have measurable values ahead of you and can therefore easily check whether you have achieved or will achieve your marketing goals afterwards or during the implementation of your marketing concepts.

Your goals have to be SMART

When defining your marketing goals, make sure your goals are SMART. SMART? Exactly - they should be specific, measurable, accepted, realistic and timed:

Specifically: Don't beat around the bush, get your marketing goals right to the point!

Measurable: Your marketing goals are an important tool for marketing control and must therefore be measurable. As already mentioned, this is quite simple when setting quantitative targets, because you can quickly determine whether your measure has paid off on the basis of key figures. This becomes more difficult with qualitative targets, because the corporate image cannot simply be translated into key figures, for example. At this point you must design appropriate "KPIs", i.e. "Key Performance Indicators", which make an abstract element such as the image measurable. If the advertising agency "Miller" wants to be associated with an exceptionally good service, it should define KPIs in advance. A first good approach here would be a survey of existing customers, who distribute points in various categories.

Accepted: In order to achieve your goals, everyone in your company must be convinced of them. Pull together and make sure that everyone can identify with the marketing goals!

Realistic: Align your goals with the requirements of your company and keep them within a realistic framework. Let's take another look at our advertising agency "Miller": If this agency had recorded constant sales growth of three percent in recent years, the target of a 20% increase in sales next year makes no sense. Your marketing should bear fruit, of course, but will not work miracles in the shortest time - so stay realistic!

Terminated: When setting your quantitative targets, do not forget to specify the time by which you want your projects to be achieved!

In addition to SMART marketing goals, the causality of your results also plays an important role. Causality means that an achieved marketing goal is actually the result of the associated measure. For example, a quantitative marketing target of the advertising agency "Miller" may include an increase in profits, which it intends to achieve with classic flyer advertising and new customers. However, an actual increase in profits can of course be influenced by many other components and can also be the result of personnel savings. So make absolutely sure that your goals have actually been achieved by your marketing measures when concluding your measures!

Karina Leitner