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You may find this rather unbelievable, but many marketing programs lack performance targets. Performance target setting is a distinguishing capability between best-in-class marketers and their colleagues. 

Marketers that utilize performance management best practices intelligently set performance targets that are relevant to the organization’s objectives and outcomes. Unfortunately, difficulty in setting performance targets is one of the most common problems encountered on the Marketing Performance journey which is so many marketers neglect to set performance targets for their tactical programs.  However, without a stake in the ground, any results reported, while useful, do not necessarily demonstrate that marketing met its performance commitment. Without a performance targets it is just as easy for leadership to arbitrarily declare failure as it is for Marketing to declare success.

Therefore being able to set a performance target for your marketing program, initiative and/or objective is a critical component in developing your marketing performance framework and system. A performance target represents a commitment to achieve a specific and better quality or level of performance over a specified time frame. It is used to evaluate performance achieved compared to performance expected. For example, a performance target for a tactical program may be generate a specific number of qualified inquiries from a particular specified set of customer targets.

How to Set Marketing Performance Targets You Can Meet

If you decide to make performance target setting a standard of excellence for your Marketing organization, these 10 steps will help you set performance targets you can meet.

  1. Have clear measurable outcomes and objectives. You need to know what where you’re headed and what you’ re aiming for.
  2. Define the time period for achieving these outcomes/objectives.
  3. Determine a performance baseline for affecting this type of outcome and objective. Historically, what have your programs produced? If you can’t use your own data to establish a baseline, consider using a benchmark from your industry.
  4. Identify the performance measures you need to improve. Remember, a performance target is about taking your performance to the next level. You want to set a target that demonstrates improvement but not one that sets you up to fail.
  5. Establish the purpose of the performance target. Be clear about what you are trying to improve.
  6. Assess whether you need intermediary or milestone targets. You may find out that there are some interim performance targets you need to achieve before you can reach your ultimate target.
  7. Choose the target value. For example, some improvement in the number of qualified leads, or some improvement in the average order value, or some improvement in the number of referrals that will convert to qualified leads, and so on. It’s often a good idea to use a range for your target value.
  8. Develop an action plan to achieve the target.
  9. Implement your plan of action.
  10. Monitor, Report and Evaluate.
Set Performance Targets for Marketing Accountability

Marketing Accountability Requires Excellent Performance Target Setting

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