In today’s economy, setting goals can be like playing chess with pieces made of smoke. The marketing strategies used in the past might not work in the new normal that also seems to change with each new day.
Your intentions haven’t changed. You still want to grow your business, raise the bar when it comes to performance and deliver excellent products and/or services to your customers.
It’s very likely, however, that your priorities have changed.
If they haven’t, they should.
Strategies for designing compelling consumer-centric content are quite different today than they were a year ago.
But the template for setting goals to deploy those strategies remains the same.
The acronym SMART has been around for years. It has stood the test of time because it works.
Ensuring goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound), provides a framework within which to design goals that evolve and pivot according to current circumstances.
Are there other components to consider? Of course.
Especially important additional considerations in the second half of 2020 are:
- What is the “why” behind your goals?
- What does success mean now that the world has changed?
- Which parameters under the SMART framework must be considered from a different point of view?
What is the WHY behind your goals?
Businesses know what they want, what they do, and how they do it, but very few know why they do what they do.
The marketing strategies of many companies lead with what they do and expect the consumer to react in a certain way. The result? Meh.
Businesses that will succeed in the new economy will let their “why” drive their strategies.
The “why” is the purpose of your business.
Simon Sinek’s famous TedTalk about the importance of “why” used Apple as a powerful example.
Without the why, Apple’s messaging sounds like this:
We make computers. They’re simple to use and beautifully designed. Want one?
With the why, the message becomes significantly more effective:
We believe in challenging the status quo in everything we do. We challenge the status quo by making our products user friends and beautifully designed. We just happen to make computers. Want one?
Marketing strategies that lead with “why” messaging resonate with the audience and drive consumers to seek out those brands.
What does success mean now that the world has changed?
The definition of success for organizations and consumers alike is changed for the foreseeable future.
Markers for success that were never before considered important might just be the lifelines to sustaining your business.
Fourth quarter profitability might move down on your prioritized list as items like the following take center stage:
- thought leadership
- achieving a compassionate and human tone across all messaging
- ethical behavior encouragement – e.g. Coca Cola’s billboard campaign with messaging that includes Staying apart is the best way to stay united
- community outreach
Which parameters under the SMART framework must be considered from a different point of view?
For the remainder of 2020, specific marketing goals should be centered around consumer recovery from COVID-19.
The key performance indicators that make goals measurable will be difficult to quantify and may need to include ranges or be designed using qualitative metrics.
Last year, the marketing department might have been able to extract insights from historic analytics.
2020 changed all of that. How attainable your goals are will have very little to do with what worked prior to the pandemic. Forward looking analyses must be considered.
Perhaps the parameter that has been most deeply affected is relevance.
Reviewing marketing strategy to identify goals that are completely irrelevant for the remainder of this year is an important step. Only then can change strategies be developed for the remainder of the year.
Marketing goals and strategies must also consider what has become increasingly relevant for consumers in the current environment:
- down time
- cleaning and decluttering
Goals and messaging that are relevant can be game changers for companies trying not only to survive, but thrive, when the pandemic passes.
Deadlines apply pressure on your team to accomplish goals. Under normal circumstances this is a good thing and drives progress in the long-term.
Now? Maybe not so much.
Again, companies must determine what is appropriate during the new normal.
The tolerance for slower rates of success must be balanced with realistic expectations and employee well-being during these unprecedented times.