Developing a Marketing Plan:
Step 2 – Setting Goals
Know What You Want...Be Specific
After a thorough analysis of your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (see last week’s blog), it’s time to set goals! Remember, goal-setting is something you do with every person you serve, and the principles you use to help them set personal goals can be used to set your marketing goals. What do you want your marketing plan to achieve? How will you know when you’re successful? A vague goal, like “growth” must be clarified to meet the SMART test.
Setting SMART goals helps significantly reduce potential frustration as you strive to grow your business. SMART goals have certain key characteristics that help you clarify your mind on exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve. They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Ambitious, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Your goal should answer the following questions:
1. What do we wish to accomplish? (Define growth – does that mean additional people served, or additional billable services for each existing person, or the introduction of a new revenue stream?)
2. Who should be involved? (Identify team members or groups who will be responsible for attaining the goal. Who can impact growth? Case Managers? Development staff? Marketing?)
3. What resources are involved? (Is there a budget for activities necessary to meet this goal?)
4. When is this going to happen? (This year? During the next 6 months? Within the next 3 years?)
5. What parts of the goal are essential? (Are certain parts required before progressing to next steps?)
6. Why is this goal so important? (Link the goal to mission, vision, or sustainability.)
A system or process must be included which determines how you’ll know when the goal has been achieved.
1. Record the baseline (starting point — where you are now).
2. Set a benchmark (where you want to be).
3. What efforts are required (attending transition fairs, creating new promotional materials and sending to LIDDAs, creating a company website)?
4. How will you measure (# of active clients, revenue billed, utilization percentages)?
Always ensure that your team goals are achievable within the realm of human capability. There are limitations to the number of hours each person can work or activities that can be carried out in a day. Unachievable goals (like flying pigs) will not come into being no matter how hard we push. Constantly setting goals that your staff will fail to achieve can be disheartening and cause a loss of confidence in leadership. Ambitious yet achievable goals on the other hand build confidence as your team stretches itself and finds additional capacity. (Yes – it can be challenging to find the fine line between these two situations!) Determine whether your team will “buy in” to the goal.
1. Can the goal be accomplished within your current time/effort/resources? If no, then the development of sub-goals, recruitment or prerequisite work may be necessary.
2. Will the goal be acceptable to your team members? Can you effectively communicate why this is achievable?
Determine the relevance and applicability of the goal.
1. Does this goal have a high priority on the list of things your company needs to do?
2. Is it worth the time and effort necessary to accomplish this goal? What’s the end benefit?
3. Is this goal applicable in the current LTSS climate? (Are there enough additional people who need services, or is there enough justifiable need for additional services?)
When is the target date for completion? Is that date realistic?
A word of caution: A year or more can be a very long time and long-term goals often suffer due to procrastination. Setting a series of short-term goals or defining periodic check-ins for long-term goals may be useful to ensure continuing enthusiasm and effort.
Apply the SMART test as you write your marketing goals. An example of a growth goal may be: Acme HCS’s client base will grow 20% by December, 2019, from 100 to 120 people served. 0.5% of net revenue will be budgeted for marketing and growth efforts. The Marketing Director will develop new brochures based on the company’s FOCUS and will update the website and Facebook page to reflect and reinforce company mission & vision. Case Managers will attend at least 2 transition fairs and provide new materials to LIDDA Service Coordinators. Progress will be evaluated monthly at Management Meetings.
Is it Specific? YES – growth in number of people served.
Is it Measurable? YES – 20%, or 100 to 120 people served.
Is it Achievable/Ambitious? Hmm… That’s something for YOU to decide.
Is it Relevant? Make a determination based on YOUR team and your assessment of the current climate.
Is it Time-bound? Yes. Target date is December, 2019. It may be a good idea to add in a quarterly review to maintain momentum and address any necessary course-correction.
Your goals should lay out the basic components of tactics and strategies, with broad directives and general assignments.
This goal-setting process can be used for all strategic planning operations, not just marketing! Use the same principles to address quality, compliance, and employee engagement goals. Inserting thoughtful and considered strategic goals into your daily operations will lead to dramatic improvements company-wide!
Setting marketing goals for your IDD service company is critical for defining success, determining progress and changing direction if the current plan is not working. Vague goals can be worse than no goals as they allow us to delude ourselves that progress is being made while marketing dollars are wasted.
Part 3 of this series will address refining those strategies to clarify each team member’s specific responsibilities, deadlines, and use of resources.