Marketing Objectives

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Table of contents

    - Seth Godin

    'Destroying the industry' might be an example of a marketing objective. Setting marketing objectives, however, is not always that simple. It comes with specific challenges, but it may also provide a lot of value to a company's marketing and corporate strategies. Pricing objectives, market research objectives, and behavioral objectives are some of the primary objectives businesses may set. But why are they so crucial to a business? Let's find out.

    Marketing Objectives Definition

    First, let's look at the definition of marketing objectives and some common marketing objectives that different types of organizations might set.

    Marketing objectives outline the goals a business wants to achieve through its marketing practices.

    Six common marketing objectives that firms might set for themselves include:

    1. Increasing sales volume: the objective to sell more of a product or service.

    2. Increasing sales value: where the business objective is to increase revenues.

    3. Sales growth: where the business objective is to increase the size of the business through sales.

    4. Increasing market share: the business's objective is to increase the percentage of the market they dominate.

    5. Loyalty: where the business objective is to increase customer retention (to encourage customers to keep coming back).

    6. Awareness: increase the number of customers who know about the brand.

    You can find calculations related to marketing objectives in the market calculations explanation.

    Value of Setting Marketing Objectives

    There are numerous reasons why a business sets marketing objectives. The value of setting marketing objectives is as follows:

    1. Marketing objectives are helpful as they keep the marketing team focused on the firm's primary goals. Marketing objectives help the team identify marketing priorities and stick to the main objectives of the business.
    2. Marketing objectives incentivize the marketing team and allow them to measure success (or failure) through clear, effective means.
    3. Marketing objectives can also be necessary to ensure the marketing strategy is aligned with the corporate mission and company vision.
    4. Marketing objectives can also be practical tools to help marketers budget and allocate resources appropriately.

    SMART Marketing Objectives

    One way to ensure your marketing objectives are realistic is by setting SMART marketing objectives.

    SMART is an acronym that stands for:

    • Specific: the objective should be stated in enough detail - what exactly do we want to achieve? A company should avoid setting broad objectives, as these can end up causing confusion.

    • Measurable: objectives should be quantitatively or qualitatively measurable. Measurability helps determine how much of the objective a company has achieved.

    • Actionable/Achievable: the objective should be achievable by those carrying out set tasks.

    • Relevant: is the goal relevant to the business's overall mission? Objectives should also be relevant and understandable to the people who are working on achieving the objective.

    • Time-bound: a specific deadline should be set.

    Setting Marketing Objectives

    Marketing managers must make numerous decisions to address customer wants and needs successfully.

    First, they have to identify what a specific customer segment needs through initial screening and market research.

    They also have to anticipate customers' future wants and needs. They can do this by interpreting and analyzing the data gathered during the market research phase.

    Marketing managers also need to target the right customer segment. Marketers can do this by conducting extensive customer segmentation and developing a plan for marketing campaigns.

    Marketing decision-makers then must satisfy their target customers' wants and needs by positioning products appropriately and implementing the marketing plan successfully.

    Finally, they need to make sure that this entire process is profitable.

    Marketing Objectives Diagram showing the process of setting marketing objectives StudySmarterFig. 1. Setting Marketing Objectives

    Pricing Objectives in Marketing

    'Price' is one of the 4Ps of the marketing mix. Therefore, the company must determine its overall marketing strategy before setting pricing objectives.

    Check out our explanation of the marketing mix to learn more.

    However, many marketing strategies might also stem from pricing. For example, pricing objectives may include:

    • Retaining existing customers and strengthening loyalty by offering attractive prices,

    • Enticing new customers by offering them lower prices or discounts to create 'hype' around a product (e.g., price penetration),

    • Intrigue early adopters by setting high prices for new product developments (price skimming),

    • Prevent new entrants (competitors) from entering the market by setting lower prices,

    • Increase overall sales by offering lower prices.

    To learn more about early adopters and their influence on the market, check out our explanation of the product life cycle.

    Marketing Objectives Examples

    Now that we understand the role of pricing objectives, let's look at some other marketing objectives examples. Marketing research and consumer behavior play a huge role in marketing. Thus, businesses set objectives for both of these areas of marketing.

    Marketing Research Objectives

    On the other hand, marketers also set marketing research objectives. These types of objectives are related to the market research plan and may include:

    • Descriptive marketing research objectives: Marketers set these goals to describe the characteristics of markets and customers (e.g., their buying behavior, market potential, etc.).

    • Exploratory marketing research objectives: These help marketers investigate markets, collect preliminary data, and develop hypotheses. They help identify and understand problems or gaps in the market.

    • Causal marketing research objectives: Marketers use these types of research objectives when they want to investigate cause-and-effect relationships. For example, would a 2% price decrease lead to increased overall revenue?

    Behavioral Objectives Marketing

    Finally, marketers may set behavioral objectives. These types of objectives are related to purchasing behavior and may include:

    • Increase brand awareness or product benefits to encourage routine and habitual purchases,

    • Adapt marketing and sales strategies to guide customers through the purchase journey when making complex and informed purchases,

    • Increase impulse purchases through effective marketing communications tactics.

    To learn more, take a look at our explanation of understanding markets and customers.

    The Limitations of Setting Marketing Objectives

    Unfortunately, businesses may face some difficulties when setting marketing objectives.

    Marketing Objectives: Potential Problems

    One of the limitations arises when marketing objectives are unaligned with the company's corporate mission. A misalignment between different departments can lead to a massive issue with the image a business portrays to stakeholders.

    In certain situations, a conflict between different market objectives may also arise.

    If the company's main objective is to increase sales volume (sell more of its products), it can do this by decreasing the price at which the product is sold. However, this can lead to problems if the cost of goods sold exceeds sales revenues. As a result, it may damage the business's profitability even though marketers have achieved the specific marketing objective.

    Marketing objectives Sales volume strategies StudySmarterFig. 2 - A sales team deciding on strategies to increase the sales volume

    Businesses can sometimes set objectives that are too ambitious. For example, a small business may aim to own 50% of the market share of a particular industry by the end of the year. However, this objective could prove unattainable if they do not have the right resources and capabilities to do so.

    Marketing Objectives: External Influences

    External influences are influences that a business cannot directly control. Sometimes these can also cause conflict with marketing objectives. An example of an external influence is competition.

    Imagine a company decides its primary objective will be increasing sales growth. However, a competitor brand enters the market with a newer, more innovative product that satisfies the wants and needs of the target customer segment. In this case, the competitor brand will likely experience the sales growth the original company aimed to achieve.

    Competitors are an external influence that our business has no control over.

    Another example of an external influence is legislation. Governments and other official bodies create legislation. They can include new advertising and environmental regulations, among others, that can impact whole industries. Such actions can substantially affect the operations and marketing outcomes of a business.

    Finally, average customer income is also an example of an external influence that can affect marketing objectives. A firm may have set all the correct objectives, targeted the right customer segment, and mastered its marketing decision-making. Yet, with decreasing customer incomes, customers are likely to cut back on their consumption - especially when it comes to luxury or non-essential products.

    Benefits of Setting Marketing ObjectivesLimitations to Setting (Bad) Marketing Objectives
    Keeps the focus on objectives.Could lead to issues with the corporate image.
    An incentive for the marketing team.Conflict between different market objectives.
    Allows you to measure success/failure.Damage to profitability.
    Budgeting and allocating resources.Objectives that are too ambitious.
    To make sure marketing strategy is aligned with corporate objectives.External influences.

    Table 1 - Benefits and Limitations of Marketing Objectives

    Table 1 above summarises the advantages of setting appropriate marketing objectives and the downfalls of setting poor marketing objectives. Marketing objectives can significantly impact organizations, so it is crucial to set them in a specific, measurable, relevant, and achievable way.

    Marketing Objectives - Key takeaways

    • Marketing objectives outline the goals a business wants to achieve through its marketing practices.
    • Marketing managers need to identify, anticipate, target, and satisfy the wants and needs of customers profitably.
    • There are numerous reasons a business might want to set marketing objectives. However, a company needs to ensure that the objectives are realistic and achievable.
    • Marketing objectives can help improve focus, help allocate resources, and provide attainable incentives for the marketing team.
    • One way to ensure your marketing objectives are realistic is by setting SMART objectives.
    • Potential problems with marketing objectives can occur when there is a conflict between different objectives or if the objectives set are too ambitious.
    • External influences can also limit marketing objectives. These influences are beyond the control of the company.
    Frequently Asked Questions about Marketing Objectives

    What are marketing objectives?

    Marketing objectives outline the goals a business wants to achieve through its marketing practices. 

    What are marketing objectives examples?

    Examples of marketing objectives may include sales objectives (like increasing sales), pricing objectives (like preventing new entrants by offering lower prices), research objectives (like identifying gaps in the market), and behavioral objectives (like encouraging routine purchases). 

    How to set marketing objectives?

    To set marketing objectives, marketing managers need to identify, anticipate, target, and satisfy the wants and needs of customers profitably. 

    What are pricing objectives in marketing?

    'Price' is one of the 4Ps of the marketing mix. Therefore, the company must determine its overall marketing strategy before setting pricing objectives. However, many marketing strategies might also stem from pricing. For example, pricing objectives may include enticing new customers by offering them lower prices or discounts.

    What are smart objectives in marketing?

    One way to ensure your marketing objectives are realistic is by setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, actionable/achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Which of the following statements is correct? Marketing objectives can be useful for budgeting. Marketing objectives should be aligned with corporate objectives.

    Which one of the following actions is not part of the process behind setting marketing objectives?Identifysegment Satisfy Anticipate 

    Which of the following is not an external influence?Legislation CompetitionAdvertising regulationsCorporate mission. 

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