Setting Marketing Objectives for Your Business

graph illustrating company meeting an objective
••• Getty Images / Gary Waters


Marketing objectives have identical principles regardless of purpose. Typically, they are specific, easy to measure, possible to achieve, not too ambitious and designed with a time frame in mind. Successful marketing objectives, however, are formulated and written in a particular way to secure the desired results In recent years, traditional methods have not been enough due to the advent of the internet, social media and the sheer number of 75 million millennials in the U.S., according to the Brookings Institution, and the 76.4 million baby boomers.

Experts recommend that a successful marketing objective be specific and measurable. For example: “ increase market share by 15 percent within the next six months."​

But because millennials and baby boomers have fragmented demographics, marketeers are finding themselves forced to create messaging by generation, according to Andy Latimer, CEO and founder of Bluewater Media.

“When you’re targeting baby boomers, it’s for an audience that’s on Facebook or watching television,” he said. “Engaging millennials is different because they are less brand specific, their messaging requires a social hook and they need a reason to believe.”

Types of Marketing Objectives

Considering your marketing plan or strategy from all angles is necessary when creating objectives based on four main types of marketing objectives:

  • Market share objectives determine how much of the market you wish to gain, which can be measured with consumer data. “We pull data from various associations that have the intent of understanding market share for their entire organization,” said Latimer. “Another way to measure is to compare the ad spend against other products.”
  • A profitability objective determines the amount of expected income based on promotional strategy across the overall life of the campaign and overall effect. “A lot of marketing and advertising agencies are still looking at it from a front end metric side perspective,” Latimer told The Balance. “The front end metric is a good way to judge but it's not for the overall campaign profitability because the world has changed.”
  • A promotional objective, whether it be commercial advertising, couponing, a digital campaign or an in-store promotion, is the desired level of product or service awareness, which can be measured by sales from beginning, middle and end of a campaign. “Measure what the net effect is of the lift against what the baseline was and how the promotion is causing a temporary lift,” Latimer said.
  • Growth objective determines your current business size and how much you wish it to grow, which is measurable through likes, shares on social media, for example, and reach.


    Develop objectives within each of the four P's: product, price, promotion, and place. Under product, goals should focus on the sales of products and services. For price, examine the cost plan and whether it requires modification and if so, objectives that accommodate adjustments. The promotional element of a marketing strategy generally yields objectives on raising awareness and brand recognition while place requires setting goals and explaining how to get products or services to clients.

    Expert Insight​

    Antioch University’s marketing team upholds a 3-prong digital media strategy, which fuels their marketing objectives and assists the team in determining what efforts work.

    First, there’s paid media, which includes advertising dollars spent on a variety of media channels, such as Google AdWords, social media ads and print.

    “Paid media allows us to target audiences versus just having a push strategy of placing digital ads in as many places as possible and hoping someone sees it,” said Michael Metcalf, Antioch University marketing director. “It facilitates measurement so that we know we've reached our targeted audience, which in our case is socially responsible individuals.” 

    Secondly, owned media refers to properties that the university owns, manages and upon which the marketing ream shares information, such as websites and social media.

    “Our measurable marketing objectives around owned media include SEO optimization, user experience and helping consumers make decisions once they land on our websites,” said Melinda Garland, director of marketing at Antioch University.

    Finally, earned media is any publicity that is non-paid, according to Karen Hamilton,Antioch University marketing director.

    “We consider it public relations,” Hamilton said. “Earned media can be faculty expert stories, student profiles or placing our faculty as experts in news articles.”.

    Purpose of Marketing Objectives

    • Target Markets: Many goods have the greatest chance for sales in highly specific markets and demographics. But target markets often shift. “Because what the data results show is not aligned with who the client believes their demographic is, they have to adjust,” said Latimer. For example, video games are bought most often by males between the ages of 13 and 49. Although this does not imply that people outside of this demographic will never buy a video game, it suggests that spending money to put ads right in the hands of members of this demographic will result in more sales than money spent advertising to different demographics.​
    • Brand Recognition: A typical goal of a marketing objective is to improve brand recognition among a target demographic or to lay the foundation for a cold call to specific individuals or businesses. Also, consider market saturation.
    • Increase Revenue: The ultimate aim of marketing objectives is to boost company revenue. To reach this goal, it’s common to employ all the marketing techniques that work with a particular audience.
    • Marketing Objectives Versus Sales Objectives: A common mistake is to confuse marketing objectives with sales objectives. While marketing and sales are both aimed at increasing overall revenue, the marketing objective is the message and or tool that assists and equips the sales professional to sell the product and or service.
    • “When your brand awareness increases, you're able to spend more and secure more penetration,” Latimer said. In other words, the marketing objective is in the communication while the sales objective is to close the deal with the message.

    Updated by Juliette Fairley on June 5, 2019