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How to Make S.M.A.R.T. Marketing Attribution Goals & See Results

Volume 3, Issue 9 - September, 2013

Editor, IQ Advisor

As readers of The IQ Advisor, you already realize that marketing attribution is a necessary component for optimizing the ROI of your advertising spend. You may have also heard of the acronym S.M.A.R.T. used in association with goal setting, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based. Here’s how you can combine these two into one powerful cross channel marketing planning aid.

S is for Specific: Who, What, When and How?
First, S.M.A.R.T. attribution goals should be specific. Specific goals let your team members know exactly what needs to be accomplished by answering the questions: who, what, when, and how. For example, telling your staff you want to “increase conversions” isn’t going to motivate anyone into action. A more meaningful goal would be, “The search and display teams (who) will leverage advanced attribution (how) to increase overall conversions from their paid search and online display campaigns (what) within six months (when).

M is for Measurable: Set Criteria to Measure Progress.

Measurable goals are just that - measured. Setting criteria to measure progress helps you reach your goals, experience success, and keep your team excited for the next goal. They answer the question: How will I know when I’ve accomplished this goal? When setting goals for marketing attribution, consider giving your team a specific percentage to aim for so progress can be measured, such as “increase overall conversions from paid search and online display campaigns by 15%.”

A is for Attainable: Set Yourself Up for Success!
Setting goals that are difficult, yet attainable, is very important. People like to be stretched, but not so much that they feel the objective is impossible to achieve. For example, meeting conversion goals within six months may not be feasible if your average sales cycle is eight months or longer. Ask yourself, how can this goal be accomplished? What do I need to accomplish this goal?

R is for Relevant: Will This Goal REALLY Make a Difference?

Your marketing attribution goals need to be relevant to the situation at hand. Team members who see the relevancy to themselves are more likely to be successful. A goal must be something that you and your team are both willing and able to work towards. Good questions for relevancy are: Why is this important to me? To my team? To the company?

T is for Time-based: A Goal Without a Due Date is Just Wishful Thinking.

Finally, S.M.A.R.T. goals have a specific time frame. Having a goal to increase conversions from paid search and online display campaigns by 15% means nothing without a date. Setting to a deadline helps your team focus their efforts while creating a sense of urgency and importance. It also encourages you and your team to unconsciously find a way to get the work done.

A S.M.A.R.T. Example
Putting it altogether, an example of a S.M.A.R.T. marketing attribution goal might be: “The display and search teams will leverage advanced attribution to more effectively integrate paid search and online display campaigns to increase conversions by 15% within six months.”

Since attribution analysis can help to answer many marketing questions, it’s essential to understand what’s important to you and your particular business KPIs, so you can define your S.M.A.R.T. goals accordingly. Conversions are a critical measure since they directly impact the bottom line, but setting and measuring goals around spend, unique reach, true cost per acquisition (CPA) and other metrics may be equally important.

So why wait? Develop a set of S.M.A.R.T. attribution goals now, hold your team accountable to these goals, and then establish new goals once your initial goals have been achieved.

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