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How To Set SMART Marketing Goals

Published July 30, 2018
/ Updated April 26, 2022

What Are Marketing Goals?

Marketing Goal Definition


Your marketing goal is a specific, measurable, aspirational, realistic, and time-bound metric that drives every marketing effort.

Most audience members care about one thing– the benefits they’ll get.

– name

SMART stands for specific, measurable, aspirational, realistic, and time-bound:

  • Specific: Your goal must focus on one clearly defined metric.
  • Measurable: You must have a way to measure the content you publish against that metric.
  • Aspirational: Your goal must push you beyond the results your content will naturally or organically generate toward that metric.
  • Realistic: In the same breath, keep your aspiration in check with what you can reasonably complete with the resources that are (or will be) available to you.
  • Time-bound: Your goal must have an end date upon which you will achieve that metric.


Marketers who write down their goals and objectives are more likely to make them a reality. So follow this framework to write yours:

By {insert day, month, year}, the {insert your organization’s name} marketing team will reach {insert number} {insert metric} every {insert time frame}.

Here’s a marketing goal example written using that framework to give you more context:

By December 31, 2018, the CoSchedule marketing team will reach 6,000 marketing-qualified leads every month.

In that example, the goal is to influence marketing-qualified leads. Remember, the point of your marketing strategy is to choose, prioritize, plan, and execute projects to influence profitable customer action.

Therefore, marketing metrics closer to the ultimate purchase are often the best goals to set.

However, all goal setting influences the right kinds of behavior. And when you’re just beginning, you may opt to focus on other metrics.

Therefore, here are several other marketing goals examples listed from awareness to closest to the purchase:

  • Page views
  • Email subscribers
  • Trial signups
  • Purchases

Choose your marketing goal metric.

How To Set Marketing Goals

The 10x growth framework suggests focusing on the aspirational part of the goal as much as possible. Therefore, you may opt to calculate your goal with this formula:

Average Current Monthly Contribution To Metric × 10 = Marketing Goal

For example, that would like this this in practice:

600 marketing-qualified leads in an average month × 10 = 6,000 marketing-qualified leads per month goal

For some marketers, however, increasing your goal 10 times over may be unrealistic.

^^^ If you fall into this category, change the 10 to a number that makes your aspirational goal realistic.

The point here is to define an end number that is aspirational but within your practical means of achievement.

As you communicate this number to your team, you will influence the right behavior. And the right behavior often produces the right results.

Amortize Your Marketing Goal Across Your Time-Bound Deadline

If you haven’t already, download the marketing strategy template kit.

The first tab of the marketing strategy template spreadsheet is labeled Goal Tracking.

Look at the Assumptions area in columns A-C, and fill in the goal numbers and time frame in which you’d like to complete the goal.

Enter your Start Goal number in cell C6. This is the amount you influenced toward your goal either the prior month, or you may opt to average several prior months of data.

For our marketing goal example, the Start Goal is 600, which is the average number of marketing-qualified leads generated in the months of October, November, and December.

Enter your Final Goal number in cell C7. This is the number you want to influence by the end of your time-bound deadline.

Back to the marketing goal example, the Final Goal is 6,000. That’s to say, you want 6,000 marketing-qualified leads by December 31, 2018, which is the end of the time-bound deadline you defined in your SMART marketing goal statement.

If you’d like to define a Stretch Goal, enter it in cell C8. This is basically 10x-ing your 10x goal.

In the example, the Stretch Goal is 7,000. That means you want 7,000 marketing-qualified leads by the end of 2018.

The Months To Complete Goal indicates how many months you’ll need to complete the goal.

In the example, the spreadsheet is set up for 12 months, suggesting you’ll start working toward completing the goal in January and reach the goal in December.

At this point, you’ll notice the Final Goal and Stretch Goal numbers in the December column Q match what you entered in the Final Goal and Stretch Goal cells in the Assumptions area. The months leading to December amortize toward that goal, suggesting continuous growth every month leading toward the end of the time-bound structure of your goal setting process.

The marketing goal amortization formula looks like this:

(Final Goal – Start Goal) × (month number / months to complete goal) ^ 2 assumption + start goal = goal conversion goal for a specific month

Congrats! You just set marketing goals for every month for an entire year. Continue on to Chapter 2 to learn how to track and measure your content’s impact upon that goal.