The SMART acronym has been applied to objectives in a variety of fields. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely goals have made project management, performance evaluation, and even marketing more effective. When you are setting goals for your marketing, "SMART" is the way to go.
A New SMART Marketing
As we view the shifts in consumer behavior that have dramatically changed the landscape of marketing, another set of SMART Marketing ideas emerge. This strategy is conveyed by another take on the SMART marketing acronym: Story-based, Measured, Authentic, Responsive, and Trusted. Consider how these ideas can help to improve your digital marketing.
Story-based marketing consists of building and helping to share customer experiences that include your bran. Through a story-based approach you are shaping the story customers experience and tell. Human beings think and learn best in stories, and as our brand makes its way into the ordinary stories and conversations of people, a unique brand story is shaped.
In application: What customers say about our brand is the story. Listen to them, and work to improve their experience (and your story, as a result).
If we start with the idea that all marketing should be highly trackable (i.e., with the ability to measure its reach, engagement, and action responses in granular detail), then the one word that we would not significantly change in our SMART acronym is the M: measurable. Measurable marketing is evaluated and tracked routinely because of its digital nature.
In application: Smart digital marketing means that you don't accept marketing approaches that lack effective measures. ROI is too important.
Authentic marketing is a big departure from traditional marketing, which is often designed to present a polished image that hides its warts or challenges. Leaders have discovered that in an era of socially networked consumers, people respond to the "real" rather than the contrived. Authenticity changes much about the way you communicate and can affect media choices, the tone of conversations, and your brand language.
In application: Being authentic means your brand stays true to who you are, what you do, and the people you serve. Authentic communication reflects that connection with your customer.
You could apply this concept in two ways, either to web technology or to customer service. Both are important, but the focus here is on web technology. Responsive technology allows information you share online to be accessible by consumers no matter what device they are using. Your website, email, and other content should be easily accessible by a range of mobile and desktop users without filtering what they can access. With a large percentage of searches occurring primarily via mobile devices, a responsive approach, coupled with the appropriate technology, is critical. You can start with Google's mobile usability test.
In application: Ensure that the consumer and B2B experience on all types of devices is a strong representation of your brand.
Trusted (with Social Proof)
What buyers come to trust now depends largely upon whom says it is trustworthy. Social proof is the idea that people will respond to the perspectives of others with the assumption that they reflect what is correct or true. This kind of social authority comes from experts, celebrities, current users of a product or service, the wisdom of a large group of people (crowdsourcing), or friends.
In application: Trust comes from what others say about your product/service more than what you say. Reviews, social networks, and the authority of trusted experts are important to your credibility.