Why are objectives so important and how do we define and refine them?
Objectives can be defined as a mission, purpose, or standard that can be reasonably achieved within the expected timeframe and with the available resources. In general, an objective is broader in scope than a goal, and may comprise of several different goals. Objectives are the most basic planning tools underlying all planning and strategic activities. They serve as the basis for policy and performance appraisals, and act as glue that binds the entire organization together.
In a marketing plan, success is based on the marketing objectives that serve, support, and further the company’s plans. They are the guide to the instruments that fulfill the company’s objectives.
By developing the marketing plan and utilizing the output of your Situation Analysis and SWOT, you can start to establish specific marketing objectives that are SMART: • Specific - for example, you might set an objective of getting ten new customers. • Measurable - whatever your objective is, you need to be able to check whether you have reached it or not when you review your plan. • Achievable - you must have the resources you need to achieve the objective. The key resources are usually people and money. • Realistic - targets should stretch you, not de-motivate you because they are unreasonable. • Time-bound - you should set a deadline for achieving the objective. For example, you might aim to get ten new customers within the next 12 months.
Marketing plan objectives are important to not only the company’s marketing strategy, but also the company’s short-term and long-term strategies. Objectives must include scheduled activities, deadlines, and measured progress. They should be grounded in reality, but also challenging to inspire higher performance. Objectives should support the organization mission and in line with the available resources and follow the market opportunities and threats....
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