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11 marketing objective examples to guide your next digital strategy meeting Blog Feature

Katie Pritchard

VP of Services, 8+ Years of Client-Facing Project Management & Digital Marketing Expertise

February 12th, 2021 min read

Whether it's the beginning of a new year or not, data-driven marketers — like yourself — are constantly looking for ways to build a successful digital marketing strategy and metrics to track performance. 

The problem is, oftentimes we have a strategy in mind and create smart marketing objectives to run the strategy — but that doesn't always focus on the area of the business that actually needs focus.

There will never be a shortage of things to work on, so prioritizing work that will actually make an impact on the business is key. That's why working on objectives and your digital strategy at the same time is important — They have to play off of each other.

For most successful small businesses we work with, their marketing objectives tie directly back to revenue and sales.

After all, revenue is the lifeblood of every business. For a small to medium-sized business (SMB), marketing objectives should always be closely aligned to the organization’s monetary goals in order to achieve results in the leanest way possible. 

Larger organizations with larger audiences, more marketing team members likely want to achieve broader brand objectives (around audience, engagement, etc.) as well, but even they need to drive revenue for the business.

With all of that in mind and after working with hundreds of companies over the past ten years, we’ve found that the following list is some of the best marketing objectives examples that align digital strategy with the rest of the organization’s goals — and actually make an impact on the business. 

Use this list to help you determine how to measure your success with the right objectives and KPIs.

First off, what is the difference between a marketing objective and a KPI? 

Before covering the examples, this question needs to be addressed. Some say objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) are the same thing, others do not. 

We're the latter at IMPACT. 

Of course, an objective can and will vary depending on what your company is trying to achieve (and how quickly), but, in general, here is how we define objectives and KPIs:

  • Objective - the state you're trying to achieve; SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) goals.
  • KPI - measurable metric to know if you are on track to achieve your objective (often multiple KPIs contribute to one objective).

Whether you’re a large or small business, here are 11 marketing objective examples to inspire your digital strategy planning conversations. 

Examples of smart marketing objectives

1. Sales and marketing alignment

Likely, this is the first objective we recommend to companies that start working with us along with following the They Ask, You Answer methodology.

🔎 Related: What is They Ask, You Answer?

If sales and marketing are not aligned, a number of problems ensue, including marketing campaigns that fall flat with potential customers. 

One of IMPACT's digital sales and marketing coaches, Zach Basner, gives us his take: 

"If the marketing and sales team aren’t aligned, the greatest consequence is an inconsistent buying experience.

"Prospects and customers have one experience on the website or other digital channels and a totally different experience in the sales process. For most organizations, this also means that content the marketing team produces is considered “fluffy” by the sales team (i.e., it doesn’t actually lead to revenue).

"For sales and marketing to align around what will actually result in revenue, they have to spend time together. If they don’t unite their efforts, it becomes extremely difficult to make progress with buyer communication."

  • Examples of related KPIs:
    • Hire and onboard a content manager who can produce two to three sales-driven articles within the first 90 days.
    • Have a "They Ask, You Answer" content brainstorm with a revenue team (a combination of sales and marketing).
    • Complete sales team assignment selling training.

🔎 Related: How to implement assignment selling (+ examples)

2. Increase lead quality

This objective, though straightforward, is about increasing the probability of the sales team closing a higher percentage of deals.

The more quality leads you can attract as a marketing team, the happier your sales team will be. 

Your KPIs for this objective should be focused on initiatives that define what a "quality lead" is, or indicators on whether your efforts are working along the way. 

  • Examples of related KPIs:
    • Number of fit prospects: Marketing automation identifies correct fit prospects.
    • Number of booked initial sales conversations.
    • Number of closed deals associated with marketing.

3. Shorten the sales cycle

It’s not just up to the sales team to be more efficient or effective with their conversations, marketing can help shorten the sales cycle too. 

Because modern prospects get so much information before talking with sales, it's marketing's job to deliver consistent messaging, branding and relevant materials to help them progress toward making a purchase. 

KPIs for this objective can be focused on enablement materials. (Note: The They Ask, You Answer methodology is a great starting point for creating enablement materials that empower the sales team and shorten the sales cycle.)

  • Examples of related KPIs:
    • Number of content pieces created to educate the prospect before sales convo.
    • New product pages launched.

🔎 Related: What is sales enablement? (definition, examples, and tips)

4. Reduce the percentage of lost deals/sales

Though sales can certainly impact this objective, marketing can have a significant impact as well.

Marketing sets the tone for prospects coming to sales. And if marketing is not qualifying properly, or setting the right expectations, it will be nearly impossible for a salesperson to change course and still close the deal.

For e-commerce companies, KPIs may be metrics or initiatives around reducing cart abandonment rates. For non-e-commerce, on the other hand, marketing can assist by updating website content or other materials that prospects see before talking with sales. 

  • Examples of related KPIs:
    • Decrease shopping cart abandonment percentage.
    • Number of sales enablement materials and training launched.

5. Increase customer lifetime value

Focusing on increasing the average amount that each customer spends with you can not only provide more value to your existing customer base, but it can also be an easy way to impact sales with less effort because the relationship is already built. 

🔎 Related: Here's exactly why your inbound marketing leads suck

KPIs for this objective can be based on the activities you’ll need to accomplish to re-engage customers with new products or new deals. 

  • Examples of related KPIs:
    • X attendees to client webinar. 
    • Percentage increase on average client spend.

6. Improve awareness and demand around new products

If your organization is ready to launch or has recently launched a new product or service, aligning focus around promotion will be essential. 

KPIs could pertain to social media or the number of requests or opportunities that sales has in the pipeline related to new products. 

  • Examples of related KPIs:
    • Number of articles written/questions answered for new products.
    • Number of opportunities created for new products.

7. Increase positive product reviews

Any brand, whether you’re B2B or B2C, can benefit from product or service reviews.

Depending on your industry, you may have a particular platform that reviews have special importance, but no matter what, they're important. 

This objective will certainly direct more business — the more positive reviews, the more likely others will find you through review sites. 

  • Examples of related KPIs:
    • Number of reviews in x directory.

8. Launch product or service in a new market

Beyond “make more money for the company,” you can get more specific with your objectives, like launching a product in a new market. 

  • Examples of related KPIs:
    • Number of products/service sold in a new market by X date.

9. Increase profitability

Marketing can play a huge role in increasing the profitability of the company beyond cutting unnecessary spending. 

After defining what products or services are most profitable, marketing can put more effort into promoting those items, effectively driving more leads to the profit center.

  • Examples of related KPIs:
    • Number of new opportunities.

10. Increase brand authority 

With increased brand authority comes additional opportunities to engage audiences, and this, in turn, makes it easier to compete against other companies.

🔎 Related: What is conversion rate optimization?

Of course, your product or services can make your brand the best X in the space, but what beyond that can you do to delight customers? Marketing plays a huge role in educating prospects, and this is your opportunity to put your stake in the ground. 

  • Examples of related KPIs:
    • Number of media interviews.
    • Number of positive customer interviews.

11. Develop an engaged audience

This metric is essential for larger brands, especially those that may report to a board or shareholders, as it’s an indicator of longer-term health. 

🔎 Related: 31 designed to earn clicks and generate leads [Updated for 2021]

Related KPIs should look at email metrics or social engagement to know if you’re on track to having an engaged audience and to measure without paying for market research.

  • Examples of related KPIs:
    • Number of newsletter subscribers.
    • Number of email open/click rates.
    • Number of social interactions and comments.

Why is traffic alone not a good marketing objective? 

Now that we've gone through these objectives, you're probably thinking — what about traffic?

Traffic is certainly something you should be tracking, but it is something that is more useful to marketing than the company as a whole.

Traffic should be monitored as an indicator of the objective’s success. 

For example, traffic can be an indicator of increased brand awareness, which leads to other successes. Traffic alone will not mean a lot to upper management or a board. 

If the focus of the conversation is not on revenue or revenue-driven objectives, then you’re not putting your energy into the right focus area.

At the end of the day, if you grew traffic but sales plummeted, no one would be celebrating marketing. 

If marketing’s primary role is to assist the sales team, then make sure your marketing objectives align with your sales objectives, and with those of the organization.

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