Set Realistic – and Specific – Targets to Protect Your Budget

Many of you have probably been at goal-setting seminars or workshops where the leader will pose a question like: “Would you like to make more money?,” and, of course, everybody nods or raises their hand. Then the leader will approach a workshop participant and hand over a dollar. “There – you’ve just made more money.” Not as silly as it seems and, in fact, many marketers fall short when it comes to setting precise goals for their efforts.

It is very common for me to work with clients who know they want “more,” but haven’t spent time quantifying what “more” really means. There are at least two reasons this is important:

  • The number of new sales or new customers you’re hoping to attract may not reflect the reality of your market – or the number may be significantly lower than what you might be able to attain.
  • The time, effort and money you would have to expend to generate 10 sales is quite different than if you were trying to generate 100, or 1000 or 10,000 – you get the picture.

A few years ago I worked with an optical center that was hoping to increase its visits. We went through a strategic planning process that involved a careful look at historical sales, demographics and market share. Finally, we considered capacity – how many spots were actually available for patients to see the optometrists? We learned a lot of very important things during this process.

  • The vast majority of existing patients came from within a 15 mile radius of the site. This gave us an indication of where our advertising dollars would be most wisely spent.
  • The vast majority of existing patients were also already patients of the larger healthcare system this practice operated within. And there were a significant number of existing system patients who had not yet used these services, but were “hot prospects.”
  • When we looked at capacity, we discovered that while the practice definitely wanted to expand, initially they were hoping to attain about 10 more appointments a week. That represented a challenge must less significant than the number we had in mind.

In addition to considerations about market demand, capacity and specific goals, another very important reason to set tangible goals is to manage expectations. Here’s why. Let’s suppose you’re implementing a campaign:

  • You’re thinking that 1000 sales would be wonderful
  • Your agency or internal marketing department thinks 500 is a reasonable target
  • Neither of you share your “internal targets” with each other
  • The campaign generates 750 sales
  • Your agency/marketing department is ecstatic
  • You’re disappointed

Precision matters. Do you have a precise idea of your response objectives for the communication activities you’re undertaking? Are you sure? It might be worth the effort to check – just in case.

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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