When I’m out and about in our community or at industry gatherings and people find out I’m a partner in marketing and communications firm, it’s a common practice that they run an idea or upcoming initiative by me. Usually, they give me some brief background and then share their approach or solution. Almost without fail, my first question is: “How does this fit into your long-term business goals?” This simple question regularly stops my new friend in their tracks. They often fumble for an answer or give me a vague, round about response. And somehow, it surprises me every time.
The Case for Goal Setting
I’d argue that goal setting is the single most important detail to consider when planning your marketing program, managing your brand and marketing your organization. Too often goal setting is thought about but not thought out; meaning you know you should set a goal so you identify a loosey, goosey idea like “grow my business.” Or even worse, it’s an afterthought and you’re left trying to fit your tactic into an unrelated, insignificant goal.
Goal setting drives the entire effort of your marketing and communications program. When you have thoughtfully and successfully identified your goals, your next steps will be significantly easier. From your goal, you will work backwards to create strategy and a reliable, implementable marketing and communications plan to ensure your goal is met. Determining key pieces of your plan will suddenly be easy, like who you need to be talking to and working with to make this goal happen; what is important to this group and what do they value; and how you can access this group and how they receive information.
If for no other reason, goal setting offers a parameter to measure your progress. You can implement any initiative or tactic you want but if you aren’t measuring it, one could argue it didn’t happen. When you have a goal, you can identify and measure key point indicators to see if you’re moving the needle. If you’re not, it’s time to adapt, and update your plans. If you are, push down on the gas and full throttle forward.
I’m always surprised when people miss the goal setting step because it feels like it’s pounded into our head in every aspect of your life. If you want to lose weight, learn something new, payoff debt, or accomplish some other major feat, aren’t you always told to set a goal? But, maybe you’re not told how to set goals, how to make them really impactful to your efforts, or the important steps that come after goal setting to ensure the goals are met. Regardless of the reason it doesn’t happen, you’re told to set goals because when good goals are set and planned for, they’re far more likely to be successful.
Check back later for content on Goal Setting Steps.