When I first started my photography business in 2013 my marketing mind-frame was “if I show it they will come”. The truth is I had no idea what I was doing or who I was even talking to. I had one goal—to book sessions—but without direction and purposeful action, I rarely achieved it.
Simply put, marketing objectives are what you’re looking to accomplishing in your market place. While this sounds pretty basic, the trick is to be as strategic and direct as possible. Take my goal of booking photography sessions for example; I didn’t consider the type of session, how many sessions I wanted to book, how much revenue I needed to take in…or really any details. 2022 Amy is cringing at 2013 Amy’s naivety and lack of direction. To keep you from making the same mistakes, let’s dive into how to set marketing objectives.
Things to concider
Before we start throwing and numbers and goals around like confetti, we have to figure out where our business currently stands. A situational analysis can shed light on how your business is doing and what aspects need attention. For those of you just starting out, I know it can feel like everything needs to be done in order to build and grow your business. Whether you’re business is a fledging or already earning it’s feathers, try to find specific areas where growth or attention will make the biggest difference.
A SWOT analysis identifies the internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as the external opportunities and threats of a brand/product. To do a SWOT analysis you first need to consider the internal aspects of your brand: what are you doing well and what needs improvement? How is your brand/product differentiated in the market and what’s holding it back? After you’ve identified the internal factors, you’ll need to consider the external factors that could affect your business. What opportunities could lead to growth and success? What could threaten that growth? External factors are out of your control, but being able to identify them can help you navigate this opportunities and threats.
Note: sometime there’s over lap between the categories. For example, if you’re launching an innovative new product you have the opportunity to change the entire market, however your product being unknown due to it’s newness could also be a threat.
Before you set any goals for your business you should consider your target market. Thinking of who your selling to will help you create goals that are more realistic and relevant for both your customers and your business. Check out this blog post for help finding your ideal market segment.
The right criteria
When setting your marketing objectives, you want to ensure you aren’t being vague or unrealistic. My 2013 objective of book sessions was not only vague, but completely unmeasurable. If I booked a session, the objective was met whether that session was engagement photos, a family session or a 4-hour birthday party. To guarantee your objectives—and honestly any goal, whether business or personal—I recommend using the S.M.A.R.T. criteria.
Be as specific as possible and state what it is you want to achieve. What kind of sessions are you booking? Instead of saying “social media”, state which platform are you focusing on.
Describe what the successful outcome will be. Are you increasing or decreasing by a certain percentage or dollar amount? Losing X many pounds? Making $XXX in revenue?
Setting big, audacious goals is okay, but you do have to make sure your objective is actually achievable. Take into account your industry, lifestyle, business situation and any other factors that could help or hinder. While making a million dollars a year is achievable for some brands, for others $50K is more realistic.
Making sure our objectives are actually relevant is pivotal! Getting preoccupied with vanity metrics can easily derail a business and pull you further away from your overall objectives. We want to guarantee our marketing objecting is really going to move the needle in our business’s overall success.
Say it with me: SET. A. DEADLINE. Without a deadline, we have no accountability—i.e. nothing gets done because we’ll “get to it later” and rarely do. Do yourself—and your business—a favor and set up a time frame. Depending on your objective, it could be as short-term as a quarterly or as long-term as a year.
Setting marketing objectives will help you develop a plan and grow your business in the areas where you need it most. Conducting a situational analysis can help you identify where your business currently stands, while a S.W.O.T. analysis will help you visualize the internal and external areas for growth and caution. Setting marketing objectives that are tailored toward your target market and overall business objects will help ensure you stay focused on what will make the biggest difference for your business. Above all, setting objectives that are specific, time bound, and realistic while still challenging will provide the greatest opportunity for growth and goal satisfaction.