Objectives are the starting point of any successful strategy. Think about it, it’s nearly impossible to plan how you’ll smash your goals if you don’t know what they are in the first place.
Both business and marketing objectives help steer targets that an organisation is aiming for. Business aims are the results that a company strives to achieve, whilst marketing objectives get down to the specifics on how your efforts can impact the business’ wider goals. In theory, it’s easy to differentiate between the two, but in practice the lines often get blurred when it comes to establishing clear goals.
When business and marketing objectives get lumped together, it can be confusing to know who’s accountable for what and where adjustments need to be made. But if you take a structured approach to defining objectives, you’ll be able to stay hyper focused in your marketing efforts whilst keeping an eye on the bigger picture. In this article, we'll break down the key differences between business and marketing objectives to guide you when setting your own.
What are business objectives?
Business objectives are the results your company aims to achieve. Divided into short term and long term, these objectives outline your company’s big goals. Even though they tend to come straight from senior management and finance teams, these goals directly impact the whole of your company. From your sales and customer service teams to your warehouse staff, every employee has to take specific actions to achieve these objectives.
Why are they important?
Knowing exactly what your business is striving for will give your marketing efforts a sense of purpose and the means to demonstrate exactly how you’ve played a part in helping the business meet its desired outcomes. Business objectives not only give clarity and direction, but they also provide the foundations for you to evidence your impact which is crucial when making your case for promotion or creating a standout CV.
Business objectives vary across different organisations, but we’ve outlined a few below to give you an idea of what solid business objectives could look like for you.
Imagine a B2B organisation who sell printing equipment to businesses around the UK. One of their business objectives could be “to scale the business by 20% this year” or “to break into a new sector, securing 10 new target sector clients within 5 years”.
For a business-to-consumer organisation, or B2C, objectives may look a little different. For example, for a snack company who sell directly to consumers online, could have an objective "to launch 5 new products by the end of the financial year” or even, “to sell their products in 5 of the UK’s leading supermarkets within 5 years”.
Whatever the sector and type of your business, remember that your business objectives directly affect the entire company and are your overarching ‘big goals’. So, you might be thinking how will my business achieve those goals? Well, that’s exactly where marketing objectives come into the picture…
What are marketing objectives?
Key marketing objectives offer a precise and measurable path to meet your business objectives. They outline the main aims of your marketing strategy, give your team direction and offer measurable objectives to work towards.
Why are they important?
You’re much more likely to achieve your goals when they are clearly defined. In fact, results show that marketers who set goals are a whopping 376% more likely to see successful outcomes. Setting marketing objectives aligned to your business goals will leave your team with a sense of accomplishment and clear expectations on how they can contribute to the company’s overall success and long term goals.
We love precise marketing objectives, especially when they directly relate to business objectives and are SMART, meaning they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
So, imagine you work within a charity and your overarching business goal is “to build a new centre or refurbish the facility”. When it comes to setting your marketing goal, you’ll need to consider the amount you’ll need to raise in order to get you there. Therefore, your marketing goal would be “to increase cash flow and raise 300k donations via the website before the end of the financial year”.
See how the marketing objective offers precise direction on how the overarching business goal can be met?
With the lines now un-blurred…
Both business and marketing objectives are key in driving your business forward and are crucial when it comes to your marketing strategy. With clarity on the differences, you’ll be much clearer on what you need to do as a marketer to make an impact. Plus, keeping marketing and business goals separate means everyone involved stays accountable and can own their part of the process, ensuring you’re collectively moving in the right direction.
Business and marketing objectives are only the beginning of building an effective marketing and communications strategy. Take a look at our unique, CPD accredited programme to find out how you can build a killer strategy centred around your company goals.
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