RoadMap Goals

July 27, 2016

In the past few years of writing strategic plans, many clients fall into one of two categories of goal setting.

I have written in the past about the importance of establishing Goals as the first step toward developing a successful strategic marketing plan. However, on the off-chance that you have not read my past column, or did read it but for some unexplained reason have not committed its’ contents to memory, allow me to quickly cover them again – and break a little new ground in the process. For a Goal to be of value it needs to be measurable. This means it has to be quantifiable (“increase sales by 13 percent,” rather than simply “increase sales”). It also needs to have a timetable (“increase sales by 13 percent by the end of the fiscal year,” rather than simply “increase sales by 13 percent”). Let’s take Goals beyond just measurable and tighten them up even more by adding these two parameters: challenging and realistic. In the past few years of writing strategic plans, many clients fall into one of two categories of goal setting. First, those who seem more interested in saying they accomplished their “Goals” than actually having the accomplishment mean anything. So, to do so, they set “Goals” that are laughably easy to obtain. So their “accomplishment” is measurable (quantifiable with a timetable) and achievable, but because it is not challenging, it is not an indicator of success. It also doesn’t necessarily help the company move forward. The second group of clients are the eternal, but unrealistic, optimists. They have a 10-year-old, $5-million-dollar company and want to set a next year Goal of $10 million. They have a Goal with a timetable, it’s quantifiable and challenging, but unless there is something dramatic with the company or their industry, not realistic – and so not a good Goal. In establishing your Goals, make sure they are not only quantifiable and have a timetable (ideally 18 months or less), but are both challenging and realistic. If you do that, as well as establish three Goals or fewer so that it does not become a laundry list, you have laid the foundation for a successful strategic marketing plan (what I like to call a “RoadMap”) and a successful year.