Efficient marketing planning derives from short- and long-term organisational Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) communicated—not only to members of administration and management—but also to staff and external partners, such as agencies and freelancers.
OKRs that are recognised and agreed upon by all parts of an organisation are the key to efficient organisational, business and financial management and should guide all organisational planning and decision making.
The biggest mistake organisations make when stating OKRs is not to quantify them. A common but poor OKR, as an example, is “happier customers.” The problem with this OKR is that it does not define what substitutes as “happier customers” and as such is impossible to track, measure and act upon. Instead, this OKR should be quantified, for example as “X-percent fewer complaints to customer support by 2020-01-01.”
OKRs should be established on four organisational levels:
- 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 clearly expressed short- and long-term OKRs that motivate and guide decisions and work for the people within it. Deriving directly from ‘organisational OKRs,’ ‘departmental OKRs’ are an essential tool for evaluating work performed by organisational entities.
- 3. Project OKRs
- Projects always should have explicit and quantified OKRs that make it clear whether it 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- and short-term, and should motivate and guide the work of each individual employee.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
KPIs are stated measures to help an organisation and its employees to assess if work progress as planned. Good KPIs acts as early warning signals and can help management to act on problems early and before it is too late.
Examples of marketing KPIs:
- 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 explicit 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 simply impossible to know whether a marketing campaign or activity has been successful or not. Each OKRs also should have quantified and clearly articulated KPIs working as early warning signals if a strategy fails to perform according to the plan. A goal-driven marketing process is the key to effective marketing planning, regardless of organisational size or marketing budget.