Efficient marketing planning derives from short- and long-term organisational Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) communicated, not only to the constituents of administration and management but also to staff and external partners such as agencies and freelancers.
OKRs that are recognised and positively agreed upon by all parts of an organisation is the key to efficient organisational, business and financial management and should guide all organisational planning and decisions.
The biggest mistake organisations make when stating OKRs is not to quantify them. A common but insufficient OKR, for example, is “happier customers.” Not stating explicitly what substitutes as “happier customers” make this OKR impossible to measure and act upon and therefore should instead be quantified for example as: “X-percent fewer complaints to customer support by 2020-01-01.”
OKRs should be established on four levels in an organisation:
- 1. Organisational OKRs
- Organisational OKRs are long term objectives serving as a more in-depth definition of the vision statement (what do we want to achieve) and mission statements (why do we think this is important) and should work as a general guideline for everyone working within an organisation.
- 2. Departmental OKRs
- Each department or entity within an organisation should have stated short- and long-term OKRs that guide and motivates decisions and work for the people within it. Deriving directly from organisational OKRs they are an essential tool for evaluating the work performed by organisational entities.
- 3. Project OKRs
Projects always should have explicit and quantified OKRs that make it clear whether a project has been successful or not. Examples of quantified OKRs include:
- A stipulated revenue goal.
- A specific number of visitors to a website.
- X-percent fewer calls to customer support.
- X-percent happier employees.
- Increased brand recognition by X-points in X-market.
- 4. Personal OKRs
- Personal OKRs is communicated and agreed goals stated for each member of the staff. Personal OKRs should be stated long-term as well as short-term and should motivate and guide the work of the employee.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
KPIs are stated control indicators to help an organisation and its employees to assess if work and projects progress as planned. Good KPIs acts as an early warning signal and can help management to act on problems early and before it is too late or to significant resources have been spent on a marketing strategy failing to attract the target audience.
Examples of marketing KPIs are:
- X amount of new website visitors before June.
- X number sold products after phase one of the marketing campaign.
- X number of web searches for a product- or brand-name in a defined geographic market.
- X percent more brand recognition in a specific demographic during year X.
Goal driven marketing planning
Marketing planning always should start with stating clear OKRs for each planned activity, firmly grounded in the long- and short-term OKRs of the organisation. Without quantifying what constitutes as a success, it is impossible to know whether a marketing campaign or activity have been successful or not. Marketing OKRs also should have quantified and explicitly stated KPIs working as early warning signals if a marketing strategy fails to perform according to the plan. A goal-driven marketing process is a key to effective marketing planning and ROI; regardless organisational size or marketing budget.