Objectives need to be set, and all too often people get confused by jargon such as what a marketing objective is versus a communication objective versus a channel/media objective.
Let’s sit back and look at exactly what each objective actually means. This leads to a better understanding, which in turn leads to a clear brief, which then leads to an insightful and sales driven media strategy.
When defining any objective, we all know the SMART acronym: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-focused. We all know them, but do we actually think about each point when defining objectives and the subsequent strategies?
Pinky and The Brain knew exactly what they wanted to do and when they wanted it done by. Their objective was always very clear and single minded:
Pinky: “Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?”
The Brain: “The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world!”
Objectives define a course of action. They lay out a set of goals that any project aims to achieve. They must always have an action linked to them: Increase, Reduce, Initiate, Develop, Lower, Improve, Become, Achieve.
Objectives are not fate; they are established for direction. They are also not commands; they are commitments – for example: brand share to increase by x%. They show us what we want to achieve, or even in some cases, to avoid. A strategy is developed and crafted in order to meet the set objectives.
All client objectives are ultimately to make money via sales. This means the business objectives set out the course of direction for the brand to deliver more value (profit) for shareholders.
So, what are our objectives as media and channel strategists? We invest the clients’ communication and marketing objectives to assist in building these sales and delivering the best possible return on the advertising rand. Communication objectives come from business objectives; which then drive how the communications strategy will interact with the defined consumer.
We then formulate the channel objectives (which are derived from the communication objectives). Our objectives essentially focus on defining how to structure ‘the where’, i.e. where we can influence the defined target market to meet all the other defined business objectives (awareness, sales, etc.)
We need to understand that there are four types of objectives: business objectives, marketing objectives, communication objectives, channel objectives.
Business objectives: This is the way a business defines its goals and direction.
- Brand X: Maintain number one position in the category on value (not volume), or grow from 12.5% to 13.2% SOM.
- Multinational company: Grow sales from emerging markets (from 2% to 3% volume contribution) while maintaining sales in emerged markets (hold 15% value share).
- Launch a new variant by a specific date and capture x% of sales with a set period of time.
- In a recessionary climate (particularly in the lower income segment) this could apply in growth versus profit for a new product -for example, achieving higher sales in the short term (e.g. by undercutting prices or by making them very competitive).
- Other aspects: Ethical – promote black economic empowerment, create more jobs for historically disadvantaged people
Marketing objectives: They are the desired or needed result to be achieved in a specific time frame.
- If the business objective is growth:
- Offer the product at 10% less than competitors to the lower income segment to increase sales by 20%
- Functional marketing objectives might include:
- We aim to build customer database of at least 250 000 households in the middle-income segment within the next 12 months.
Communication objectives: These are derived from the product and its virtues; the competition; the nature of the market segment; the product promise or claim. Communication objectives need to create awareness, impart knowledge, project product attributes, stimulate and drive trial, drive sales. They need to be achievable and have measures in place to track progress.
We then translate these business/marketing and communication objectives into channel/media objectives. In essence, the ‘Who, When, Where, How Often and in What Way’?
- Ratify the Who: the target market
- Establishing the When: advertising timing pattern: burst, continuity, drip.
- Determining the Where: national or regional
- How Often: recency, month end, are there specific KPI’s that determine a frequency level.
- What Way: this is the actual strategy that is determined by the business, marketing and comms objectives. What Way needs to ensure that objectives are met.
As mentioned upfront, all objectives have to be measurable. The KPIs set out in the objectives allow us to look back on a year and see what objectives were set, whether they were met or not and why.
We then use this history to determine the course of action for the next fiscal.
Margie Knap is senior media strategist at Meta Media. People fascinate her! Insights into what makes them tick, what they do with their time, where they go, what they do – this intrigues me. Knap thrives on coupling those consumer insights and a client’s business challenges. This is what she thrives on, this is what intrigues her. Knap loves the diversity of advertising and media. The new digital technologies offer a whole new learning experience that is dynamic and intriguing.
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