Why Marketers Should Set SMART Goals Before A Marketing Campaign

Marketing Goals

Are you having trouble meeting ROI?

Have your marketing campaigns failed to deliver the results you desired?

In this article, you’ll learn one of the strategies used by successful businesses and marketers for effective planning and execution of a marketing campaign using the SMART goals technique. 

This article will also explain in detail the meaning of every letter of the SMART goals technique - including important questions to ponder for every letter, and examples of the errors most marketers make and how they can be solved.   

Before we dive in, let’s first define the meaning of SMART goals and their importance 

before creating a marketing campaign.

SMART goals is a goal-setting technique created by Peter Drucker in his 1954 book The Practice of Management. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

By knowing this technique, you can easily define and track the success of a goal for all your future marketing campaigns. 

What is the importance of setting SMART goals?

When you outline a marketing plan that has specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals, you increase your chance for success by:

  • Working on an achievable goal
  • Enhancing concentration to focus on a specific objective 
  • Keeping you and your team motivated to beat deadlines   

S: Specific 

customer sepcific

Be clear with what you’re trying to achieve. The more straightforward your goal, the better. 

Ask yourself the following questions when setting a specific goal:

  • What are you trying to achieve from this campaign?
  • Who will help execute this campaign?
  • Where will you market this campaign? Will it be through social media? Tv commercials? Or print advertisements?

To help you answer the questions above, take this for example. Don’t say: “The goal is to sell a couple of T-shirts.” But say: “The goal is to sell 15 T-shirts of design A with the help of a landing page.” 

We’ll dive deeper into this example as we move along the SMART goals.  

M: Measurable

measuring success

Make sure you have a barometer for your goals. 

Questions to ask are:

  • How will you measure the success of this goal?
  • How will you know if the goal has been accomplished?
  • What data will you use to track the progress of your goal? 

For example, your goal is to sell X pieces of T-shirt design A for this month. Most marketers make the mistake of only saying: “The goal is to increase the sales of T-shirt design A from the previous month.” 

The error there is you don’t have a real measure for success. Going back to the T-shirt example, say, last month you sold 5 pieces of design A, this month you sold 6 pieces.

Yes, there is an evident increase in sales, but can you call this an achievement?   

To help you effectively measure the success of a goal, you can track the weekly progress of your sales through store traffic or analyze important digital ad metrics

This will help you monitor the performance of your campaign, adjust when needed, or celebrate small milestones.

A: Achievable

man pumping his fist while looking at the sun

Make sure your goal is ambitious but also realistic. Before you set a goal of, for example, selling 2,000 T-shirts of design A for the month, analyze your business’ sales within the past months and use that as a benchmark to create a new marketing strategy focusing on increasing the number of sales for T-shirt design A in the upcoming months. 

The downside of setting unrealistic goals will discourage your staff to put in any effort to achieve them as they feel they’re being set up to fail.  

Questions to help you come up with an achievable SMART goal could be to ask:

  • What’s going to stop you from achieving your goal?
  • How confident are you that this goal can be achieved?

R: Relevant

woman looking at a piece of paper

If you’ve clearly defined the S, M, & A of the S.M.A.R.T. goals concept, the R (relevant) shouldn’t pose much of a problem.

You should understand by now the relevance of what you are trying to achieve.

Ask yourself questions such as: 

  • Is what you’re doing going to align with your long-term goals?
  • Why do you need to achieve this goal?
  • When you achieve this goal, do you know what to do next?
  • Have you taken into account the challenges you’re going to face?

T: Time-bound

moving wall clock

Ever watched a swimming competition where the swimmers just swim until they’re out of breath? That’s what setting a goal without a deadline can feel like. 

You’ll ask yourself questions like:

  • Is what we’ve achieved so far good enough?
  • When will we make changes to our current marketing plan?
  • Is this the right time to execute this plan?
  • What is the target date to achieve this goal?
  • How long will our activity, promo, or incentive run? 
  • How soon can we expect to see results for our goals?

We know these questions can feel overwhelming, so let us give you another example.

This time we’ll take a deeper look at the example of the swimmers. 

If you’re just swimming without having to beat a certain time limit or number of laps, you’ll have no idea when to stop. This will leave you worried about how your competitors are doing when in reality, you should focus more on yourself. 

Having a clear time frame of what you want to achieve will create a sense of urgency and motivation that you can achieve your target goal.   


Nothing is a given nowadays. Setting SMART goals will not guarantee an increase of your expected goals, but will help you stay organized and motivated to achieve them through brainstorming sessions with your team to come up with innovative ideas, collaborating with other professionals, and by asking the opinions of your customers. This way, not only will you have new ideas, but will increase brand awareness and trust. Nothing makes a customer feel more valued than having a genuine connection with your business.

For more useful marketing tips, we’ve prepared a blog of the top 10 Free online social media marketing courses you can use to become a digital marketing expert.

“You can do anything if you set goals. You just have to push yourself.” - RJ Mitte

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