Let me start by saying that I tried to fit three acronyms into this blog, but just couldn't make it happen. As you likely know, SMART is an acronym for defining how to create rock solid objectives, goals, targets, etc. So, how do we get SMART marketing? Getting SMART about your next big marketing push can help you out tremendously.
The SMART Acronym stands for:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Relevant
When marketing, you have to be SMART. Otherwise, you’re just shooting in the dark. I recommend incorporating another acronym when building these marketing goals: KISS
Leonardo da Vinci said it well, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." The most elegant, and most powerful approach is focused and is pointed at the goals you want to achieve.
Do you really have marketing goals?
Most companies don't. They approach marketing without the Kiss Principle, instead, they accept whatever outcomes that their ads, email campaigns, or web pages deliver. The reason they don't use KISS to create and manage their marketing is that they don't actually believe that they can set and achieve specific goals. If the marketing director doesn't have a magic bullet, then they consider just finding a new marketing director.
We've adopted a quarter by quarter goal system in which we set specific goals with each client focused on reaching 2X in a year, and 10X within 3 years. -David Mills co-founder, Story Collaborative.
This reality is what many ad platforms rely upon. They know that companies aren't making intentional and sustainable progress so they sell them a quick fix. They rent out some of their market share for a low rate of return.
KISS your SMART marketing.
So, how do we marry up SMART and KISS? KISS, meaning Keep it Simple Stupid, may sound foolish. But, it will help us hone in on exactly what SMART means, and it will keep from creating objectives that are overly complex -- and less useful.
The first letter, S, stands for specific. How specific should we be? There is no absolute answer. However, if we KISS, then a specific goal should only be to the level of detail necessary. Like forming a persona, specificity should be as detailed as you can muster.
Incoming data will help reign in the rest. It’s better to tweak later than to spend too much time upfront on something so specific that it’s unattainable.
The second, M, stands for measurable. Measurable means that you can take a comparable object (a ruler, a measuring tape, metrics), and contrast it against what you are measuring (number of clicks, number of tweets, number of white papers downloaded).
A good rule of thumb for something measurable...KISS. When others are stacking up their quarterly profits by the easily fluctuating dollar, compare yours by the number of active users on your site. Look at things that are practical and useful to you.
The third, A, is achievable. Achievement is a great thing; scaling Mount Everest, walking the Great Wall of China, or learning carpentry by creating the perfect dovetail. The only difference between these three is that one seems doable. How could the others be achieved? By KISS.
For instance, getting into shape every day with consistent exercise. The more and more you create achievable goals, the more and more you inspire yourself to do better.
Remember, Google started out by discovering the relationships between websites rather than just words. You, too, can make your marketing achievable by doing the “little things in a big way.”
R stands for relevant. Who is your target audience? Who is your persona? If you are not marketing to your target audience or persona, then why bother?
Relevance in today’s market is not necessarily about giving the best deal, offering two day shipping, or providing the best in blogging advice. Relevance is, according to Merriam-Webster, being “important to the matter at hand.”
Deliver something that matters to the customer, and KISS with your messaging by getting to the point. It is most important how the objective applies to you - is the objective relevant toward achieving your broader goals?
Finally, T is for time bound. Time is money. If you set goals upfront, you will reap the rewards. Make sure that your schedule is not too tight or too slack. Plan ahead for how your market may respond. Look at trends in the market and calendar accordingly. KISS by planning to be done by your deadline. In product design, remember that it doesn’t matter if you deliver the capability fully!
Look at startups like Twitter (who revolutionized the SMS text). They took an idea that was small, then expanded to make something wonderful. Now, Twitter delivers instant news, sports facts, and concise messaging.
Using this approach, we can create some objectives that get the kind of marketing returns we want (and need). They can be “top of funnel” objectives, such as new users on your site, or viral sharing by social of our online content. They can also be “bottom of funnel” objectives that relate to how many new prospects you convert to customers. Of course, these objectives are all connected - but it helps to detail them at each level.
SMART Marketing Example:
By March of 2021 (time bound), I will have 50 (measurable) new website visitors download my new content offer (specific).
Is this an achievable goal? It might be, based upon your current traffic. Is this action by web visitors relevant? It will be if the content offer appeals to your target audience (relevant to them), and the visitor’s action moves them closer to being customers (relevant to you).
If you are SMART, you will KISS your next marketing push!