What do marketing objectives mean to you?
Marketing objectives are specific and measurable targets that a company tries to reach in a given period. Marketing goals are the long-term destinations which marketing objectives are designed to help a company reach. In strategic level market planning you should consider marketing goals as “what we would like to do” and marketing objectives as “what we can do”. Before you go and start outlining your marketing objectives it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the SMART objectives model. SMART stands for; Specific Measurable Actionable Relevant and Time-bound. The model serves as a guide to make sure that the objectives you set are ones that matter and can be reached by the time you are given. The “time-bound” aspect is the primary differentiator between a goal and an objective. A marketing goal is getting enough inbound leads a month to support all operational costs of the business, a marketing objective is getting 20 inbound leads a month in one years time. For more on how SMART objectives fit into your overall inbound marketing strategy check out our post: Inbound Marketing Guide For SaaS Companies. For a startup, marketing objectives are inexorably tied to funding. While the marketing goals of a startup might stay the same after a new round of funding, the marketing objectives for that company will evolve. In this post, we’re going to focus on how the marketing objectives of a startup will need to change after a series A funding round.
Marketing Objectives Before Series A
In most cases, after a startup is seeded much of its budget will go to sales and product development. The marketing objectives that do exist are usually focused on short-term results. The marketing strategies they’ll need to employ in order to accomplish this goal will favor speed over sustainability. Recently seeded companies are looking to make sales quickly so they can start generating revenue before their investment money runs out. If they set an objective of getting 50 sales qualified leads in their first quarter, then long-term inbound marketing strategies will be ineffective. In a case like this, they’ll turn to direct marketing as a source for leads. Everything from email campaigns, phone calls, and in-person marketing strategies can be used to get leads fast. While direct marketing is a usable and time-tested way of getting leads, it’s also costly. Many times the sales team is forced to do their own marketing which means they have less time to focus on selling. While it’s tempting just to keep adding sales people as your revenue increases, starting to build the foundation of an inbound strategy at this stage can put you on the path to consistent and inexpensive lead generation. Something as simple as optimizing your website for inbound early will help ensure that you can convert inbound traffic when you eventually start to receive it.
Marketing Objectives After Series A
It’s a great moment when a startup finally gets to their series A funding round. A series A investment means that whatever you’ve been doing is working and now it’s time to kick it into high gear. Investments that once seemed out of reach become feasible and marketing objectives extend farther into the future than ever before. If you’re having trouble finding the right investors to make your series A happen, check out this post from our blog: How to find investors for your startup. Post series A is the time when your marketing objectives go from static to sustainable. Questions like: “How do we get 50 sales qualified leads by the end of the quarter?” Become: “how do we start consistently generating 20 leads a month within a year?”. The marketing strategies that you’ll need to employ in order to achieve these new objectives will change as well. After your series A is the perfect time to build your audience and start investing in a long-term inbound marketing strategy for your brand. Inbound takes a long time to start working. While it’s ideal to start implementing an inbound methodology as early as possible, it can be hard when the results won’t be seen for months or even years. However, conservative views on marketing should be reevaluated immediately after you have the money to invest in it. Investments in inbound are cumulative. Once you spend money on creating content or building an inbound website, you get paid back exponentially year over year without further investment. This is in stark contrast to other types of short-term marketing strategies which require constant investment for a fixed rate of return.
Your marketing objectives will always be tied to the money that you have available to invest. Be smart about when you start to increase your marketing budget. If you have a goal of being a major player in your market direct marketing will not take you all the way. You need to start building the foundation of an inbound strategy as soon as possible if you want to ensure sustainable lead generation in the future. As you get funded your objectives will change, make sure your goals are high enough to stay the same.