Setting Marketing Communications Objectives
So far we have determined our target market and branded our product. We know who uses our product into will be ready to determine how to reach that audience.
Our product has a brand identity and now we have to make the brand awareness and brand image a reality.
To do that, we need to set our marketing communications objectives.
To begin, we need an understanding of setting goals and objectives in general.
- “A goal is a general statement about a desired outcome with one or more specific objectives that define in precise terms what is to be accomplished within a designated time frame” (Lehigh.edu, 2007, para. 2).
The best way to set goals is to use the S.M.A.R.T. criteria. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Using each of these fivecharacteristics in your goals will help ensure that they are met.
- A specific goal answers the five Ws of who, what, where, when, and why.
- When goals are specific, they are measurable. You have to know if progress is being made towards the goal.
- Next, goals should be attainable; they should not be out of reach or unrealistic.
- The objectives should be relevant and pertinent to the company’s mission and vision. In the case of marketing communications goals, they need to relevant to the marketing plan.
- Finally, the goals need a target date for implementation or an end-date.
Goals with deadlines or schedules are time-bound.
Let’s look at a car company needing to set objectives. They want to increase the number of test drives–but that is not a SMART goal.
- Rather, Increase the number of test drives by 10% through the use of a direct marketing campaign by the end of 2013. It is specific and measurable (increase the number of test drives), attainable (it is not 90%), relevant (test drives lead to sales), and time-bound (by the end of 2013).
An example of a SMART marketing communications objective would be:
- To increase brand awareness by 10% (measurable) in the 18-25 aged market (specific) within the next three months (time-bound) by launching directive advertising (attainable, relevant).
Stephen J. Welsh (1965) proposes five criteria that should be used when establishing objectives that still hold true today.
- Objectives should be in writing and communicated throughout the entire company, long-term but flexible, implemented, specific and measurable, and meet the requirements of the company based on the industry and market.
It is important to communicate the objectives throughout the firm so that everyone sends out one message. When creating examples, keep the long-term goals of the company in mind–even when creating short-term goals. An objective is only as good as the plan and implementation that follows; it needs to follow the SMART format and be attainable based on the characteristics of the firm and the market.
One debate in marketing communications is if the objectives should be tied to sales.
- The traditional thought is that sales are contingent on many other factors besides marketing such as season, economic conditions, stage in the product life cycle, and competition.
- Depending on the product or service, the company might see the results of marketing communications campaign the next day, the next month, or even the next year.
- Because of this, it is difficult to directly tie marketing and marketing communications to sales.
On the other hand, a more recent view is that while marketing communications creates brand awareness, the key factor is to encourage the consumer to buy the product or service.
If the marketing/marketing communications campaign does not increase sales, what is its worth and return on investment?
Marketing communications should increase brand awareness and increase sales.
In general, there are three marketing communications objectives.
- First determine the way to make the target market aware of your brand.
- Second, in that message explain to the target market why they need your brand; convince them to purchase the product or service.
- Finally, ask the intended target market to take action and make that purchase.
The target market is made aware of the brand and convinced to take action through the marketing communications.
We will start a discussion of the different types of media next week, which will help you to determine the specific advertising/communications vehicles needed to create the brandawareness.
Review the readings and lectures for this week. Use the information gathered in the Discussion Question to help formulate the response.
Create the Marketing Objectives, Situational Analysis, and Budget portion of the Marketing Communications Plan using the business and information presented in the Case Study. Meet the following requirements:
- In 50-75 words list and explain the marketing objectives.
- In 300-500 words complete a Situational analysis.
- In 75-100 words, explain the budget in terms of percentage allocated to each communication vehicle. (This may change in the final plan).
- Using feedback, update and make changes to the previous section of the plan.
- Please adhere to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd print) when writing and submitting assignments and papers.