I came across a quote from Apple's CEO Tim Cook last week in an article I was reading and it inspired me to write a piece for my blog:
"We're not focused on the numbers. We're focused on the things that produce those numbers."
Everyone is in business to make money. It's the hard truth but the truth nonetheless. However, if our sole focus is on the endgame i.e. the profits, the revenue, the bottom line, then it will make the journey to get there that much more difficult. We need to be focusing on how we get to that endgame. But, how do we get there?
One thing most of my clients will hear me say and something I continue to drum into them is that you need to have objectives, you need to have a strategy and you need to know who your customers are in order to be successful. These are the things that "produce the numbers" in my mind. When you are writing a marketing plan, you need to know what your objectives are - why are you investing money into your marketing efforts, what are you trying to achieve? If you can't answer these questions in relation to your business, let alone your marketing then what is the point in being in business? These objectives are essentially your goals and developing a strategy to achieve these goals stands you in good stead to be successful.
If you aren't sure about how to develop your objectives, following the SMART principles is a great way to begin:
Specific - don't be ambiguous or broad, being specific will ensure you have clearly set-out goals; essentially you know exactly what you want. The more focused you are the better the outcomes.
Measurable - this will keep you focused and help you to keep track of whether or not your are achieving your goals. For example, a measurable objective might be to generate 15% more revenue than the previous financial year through targeted marketing communications.
Attainable - there is no point setting goals or objectives that are out of reach. You would be better served setting smaller goals that will help you to achieve your overall goal. There is no point putting more pressure on yourself and your business than is required.
Relevant - you need to make sure that your goals and objectives are relevant. For example for goals that are financially driven, you need to consider current/forecast economic conditions.
Time-based - you need to give yourself a deadline; this will keep you accountable and ensure you have something to work towards. If there is no time-limit there is no drive to get something completed and it will just get put on the back burner.
Once you have set your objectives you need to work on a strategy to achieve them. In the marketing world this strategy might be your branding strategy or simply your marketing strategy. Either way, you will be assured your goals will be much more attainable if they are well thought out.
So in closing, focus on the things that produce the numbers, employ the SMART principles, set your goals and you'll be well on your way to success.