Everything You Need to Know About Setting Marketing Objectives

by Dec 12, 2014Research, Strategy0 comments

“You will need to understand your business’ target market, industry, market, competitors, environment, as well as your strengths and weaknesses in their entirety in order to create marketing objectives that are attainable and relevant.”


AUTHORS NOTE: My job, in large part, consists of setting actionnable marketing-related goals with my clients. In my experience, very few business owners set objectives for their business. Of those that do, even fewer actually set complete goals. Why does this matter? The more incomplete your goal is, the less likely you are to see it through.

Marketing objectives 101.


Simply put, marketing objectives are marketing-related targets that businesses set. Sounds simple, and it really is. They are formally written in marketing plans, but can often be found on napkins or scrap paper too! The important thing is to have some written down. Why?

For one, it is evident that writing down some goals will encourage you find ways to attain them. They can become a great source of motivation.

In the context of a marketing plan, they help companies to invest in the right marketing activities. By setting objectives, companies naturally make more efficient use of their marketing budget by only investing in the marketing activities that will satisfy the set goals.

“Marketing objectives are a critical component of performance measurement.”


Marketing objectives are a critical component of performance measurement. Marketers compare the results of a marketing campaign to the marketing objectives that were set to determine the campaign’s overall effectiveness or how realistic their goals were to begin with.


It's so easy to do.

SMART Goals.


Marketing objectives, just like any goal, should conform to what is known as “SMART” criteria. It is an acronym that helps goal-setters remember all of the key conditions that a goal must meet in order for it to be complete.






While “Acquire new customers” is a great goal to set, it isn’t a very strong one. It’s too vague and doesn’t have an associated timeframe. Goals that lack these criteria are the easiest to push aside and never pursue. So let’s make it less ambiguous and more time specific: “Increase product trials by 25% over the next 6 months”. Now that’s a SMART goal!

Marketing Objectives List.


Let’s take a look at a comprehensive list of marketing objectives that have been used for decades by all types of businesses:

Brand-related objectives

Generate/increase brand awareness
Increase brand recall
Increase brand recognition
Increase brand loyalty
Generate/increase brand engagement

Customer/employee-related objectives

Increase customer/employee retention
Increase overall customer/employee satisfaction

Consumer behaviour-related objectives

Generate/increase brand switching (trial or retrial)
Generate repeat purchase
Increase repeat purchase (frequency, order size)
Generate/increase purchase-related behaviour

Market attitude-related objectives

Establish/create new market attitude
Maintain market attitude
Modify/influence market attitude

Product-related objectives

New market penetration (geographic, customer segment, product category)
Establish new product category


Increase market share
Increase sales revenue
Increase unit sales
Increase profit
Increase return on investment (ROI)
Increase marketing efficiency

How can I set marketing objectives?

Now that you understand a bit more about marketing objectives, let’s discuss things that you should consider when creating your own:

Start by identifying marketing objectives, then chose marketing activities that will satisfy them. Some businesses do it the other way around, which isn’t very objective and often leads to the inefficient use of the marketing budget.

If you have historical marketing data, then use it. Use previous marketing campaign results to determine new marketing objectives. This will certainly help in determining realistic ones. If you don’t have historical data to work with, then consider doing a lot of preliminary research and analysis before setting marketing objectives. You will need to understand your business’ target market, industry, market, competitors, environment, as well as your strengths and weaknesses in their entirety in order to create marketing objectives that are attainable and relevant.

Communicate your marketing objectives. If you are a marketer working for a big business, then let the employees know about them so they can align their efforts with strategic corporate initiatives. If you are a small business owner, then let your entourage know about them. The idea is the more you communicate your goals with others, the more likely you are to attain them.

I hope this information can guide you in your efforts to set strong marketing objectives. Best of luck with your goal setting initiatives and above all, in attaining them!

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Meet the author.

Taro Abarbanel-Uemura

Marketing Strategist

Meet Fortified Marketing's founder and lead marketing consultant. Taro loves reading fascinating articles on various marketing-related subjects, just as much as he enjoys writing about them. When he isn’t savouring a latte while working on his newest blog post, he can be found at a coffee shop in Ottawa's Little Italy, or marathoning shows and documentaries on Netflix.

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