August 6, 2018

1.3 : Developing SMART Objectives

1.3 : Developing SMART Objectives

Dr. Tahir Rashid, Senior Lecturer, Salford Business School, UK

In unit 3, we’re going to look at what objectives the organization is going to set itself in terms of its digital marketing strategy. Remember in Unit 2, we looked at the long-term planning in terms of identifying the SWOT, well the objectives tell us what the company needs to do achieve that long term goal or long term ambition that it has.

An Objective is a specific and measurable result that is planned to be achieved within a certain time-frame

The objectives are normally set in terms of SMART:

  • S – specific
  • M – measurable
  • A – achievable
  • R – realistic
  • T – timely

SMART being Specific – in that the organization needs to know exactly what it needs to do in order to achieve its long term goals and long term objectives.

It has to be Measurable – so that we can understand whether those objectives have been successful or whether they are not successful.

It has to be Achievable – there is no point setting objectives which cannot be achieved. So therefore this leads to the point whether this objective can be realistic.

Realistic – the company needs to understand whether the objectives set are realistic in terms of its resources and its capabilities.

And finally, in terms of SMART, it has to be Timely – that the objectives can be achieved within a given time period.

Colin Telford, Managing Partner, The Candidate Ltd, UK

In terms of SMART Objectives, we do use those within the business and we use that particular model more regularly than a SWOT Analysis.

SMART objectives can be set for different purposes –

  • a business plan for 3 years
  • a yearly objective
  • a quarterly objective and employees objectives

SMART Objectives are used alongside objective planning for the business, and also on an individual employee level so that objectives for the quarter, that we set everyone here within the business, which come from the overall plan, are SMART-based so that we’re able to be completely specific about the objectives that we put in place and they’re also measurable, they’re attainable, they’re relevant, and they’re time bound.

Whilst the first letters of SMART are used by many consistently – Specific and Measurable, there are also other ways of “ART” – here is an example used by The Candidate Ltd:

  • A – for Attainable
  • R – for Relevant
  • T – for Time bond

If you follow those particular procedures and you will ensure you have a robust business that’s based on SMART Objectives that are completely accountable. So, in terms of SMART Objectives being applied to Harriet Wright, our Digital Marketing executive, in addition to that we’ll also have SMART objectives that revolve around our marketing plan that we have with our PR and marketing agency.

Digital marketing manager has objectives as well as a contract with a Public Relations (PR) company

We have a quarterly layout of activities and possibly for6 months ahead as well. But we do find that, because the business is so young and we are so flexible, there isn’t any need to be producing a plan that is much longer than that. So therefore we’re really sticking to the objectives that we have in place for our Digital Marketing executive and the plan that we have with our PR and marketing agency. And that really is the area where our SMART objectives lie, right across the business.

Alex Charalambidis, Digital Marketing strategist, MONKS, Greece

One of the main benefits of Digital Marketing is that you can measure everything, or almost everything. Our SMART Objectives are connected with our KPIs. Sometimes, in this industry, you can connect your contract with specific objectives, so you have to measure them.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are a good link for Smart objectives

KPIs are a small number of metrics chosen by a company as crucial indicators of its success or failure


What is your SMART objective?

Share with other course participants your own SMART objective for joining this MOOC. Explain how your objective is SMART.

Check the objectives of a few other members of the course and consider how you can relate to their objectives as well.

Additional materials

The importance of being clear

Dick Costolo (Twitter) Disrupt Highlight about management

He is not directly mentioning SMART objectives but implies the importance of being clear and communicating what is needed to be done by a team:


From SMART to SMARTER marketing objectives…

Please follow these chapter 1 related links:

Why is Digital and Social Media Marketing important today and in the future?
1.1. Introduction to strategic planning
1.2 SWOT analysis
1.4. Digital Business Maturity Model
1.5. The consumer journey to online purchase
1.6. Introduction to core concepts and technologies of digital and social media marketing
1.7. Introduction to online branding