We hear it time and again, “New Year, New You.” But you don’t need a totally new you, maybe it’s just time for SMART-structured goal setting. Resolutions, while well-intentioned, sometimes miss the mark when it comes to changing behaviors. We’re not here to create unattainable-magic-wand-necessary changes. We are here to help you come up with an action plan and set goals that take things to the next level from a place of empowerment, can-do, and a foundational belief in your abilities. Goals serve as a tactical approach to reach an outcome, and can be either personal or professional. As an intro to our MarTech series, we’re going to talk about why goal setting is vital to marketing success and how to make SMART goals. When we’re all done, we’ll leave you with a goal and intention setting journal. Let’s get started!

Why Goal Setting is Important

Marketing is all about reaching your target audience and then looking to metrics — like open rates or impressions —  to understand how your messages are landing. It’s about moving a prospect from researching to leasing, renting, or moving-in — fast. Marketers are often asked to show the impact of their marketing strategy. Did the new website increase signed leases or phone calls? Did offering virtual tours increase occupancy? To know if our actions have impact we need to set measurable benchmarks, and times to check-in and see if we’ve accomplished what we set out to. 

It’s a goal setting cliché, because it’s true: If you write down your goals, you’re more likely to achieve them. In fact, if you vividly envision your goal and what success would look like you’re 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to achieve your goal. While the act of setting goals can sometimes feel cheesy, the data doesn’t lie. This isn’t a step you want to skip.

Neuropsychologists attribute this to an effect called the “generation effect,” which means that we tend to remember things better when we’ve generated them — or written them down — ourselves. By writing our goals down we’re locking them in our brain as important information.

How Goals Change Your Brain

We touched on this briefly with the “generation effect,” but goal setting is powerful, and is intertwined with the most mysterious part of the human body — the brain. According to Inc., there are three things that happen in your brain when you set a goal. First, your amygdala, the part of your brain that creates emotion, evaluates how important the goal is to you. Second, the problem solving part of your brain, aka your frontal lobe, identifies the specifics of the goal. Finally, the emotional and rational parts of your brain work as a team to keep you focused on and progressing toward the achievement of your goal. Once you’ve set a goal and are working to achieve the desired outcome, your brain literally functions differently. Plus, by setting SMART goals, you put yourself in the driver’s seat in determining these desired outcomes. How cool is that?!

Research also shows that ambitious goals are far more motivating than small steps. In fact, according to the Journal of Experimental Psychology, “in 90% of the studies, specific and challenging goals led to higher performance than easy goals, ‘do your best’ goals, or no goals. Goals affect performance by directing attention, mobilizing effort, increasing persistence, and motivating strategy development.” Which is all to say, feel empowered to set big, audacious goals. You’ve got this!

SMART Goals

While there are several structures or formats to setting goals, the most important part is to make sure that they are specific and measurable. The format we prefer at G5 is SMART goals. When we say SMART we mean Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. 

  • Specific

    As a marketer and communicator, you know that vague language tends to confuse. Make sure your goals are dialed by including precise language to describe what you are trying to accomplish. If you’re working collaboratively on a team, consider who needs to be included in this goal to make it a success. 

  • Measurable

    The ability to quantify your progress toward a goal is vital to identifying if and when you’ve achieved your goal, or where you are in the process of achieving your goal. Choose an applicable metric for success to make your goals measurable. As we covered before “Doing your best,” while applaudable, isn’t motivating. Plus “best” isn’t a measurable outcome as best looks different for all of us. Be sure to include a number in your goal that will serve as a benchmark. 

  • Attainable

    It’s important to dream big, so please do that. But also be honest, and set achievable goals. There is nothing more discouraging than working toward something that will constantly remain out of your reach. 

  • Relevant

    Your goals need to be applicable and impactful to a facet of your job, life, or interests. 

  • Time-bound

    Deadlines help motivate action. Set a date, or line in the sand of when you want this goal accomplished.

So, for example, instead of saying “I want to do my best at marketing,” a SMART goal would give you metrics to know if you’ve hit the mark or not. A SMART goal might be more like, “I want to increase our Google My Business review ranking to above 4 stars.” To be a more empathetic human, your goal might be something like, “I’m going to read 5 memoirs in 2021, written by authors who have a different background and worldview than myself.” 

Goal Setter = Goal Getter

Goals provide the roadmap for our personal and professional lives, and they have the power to change the way we think and the actions we take in our daily lives. At G5, we’re here to empower your goal setting and marketing goal achieving (you’ll need to handle the memoir reading 😉). So, say goodby to 2020 and hello to 2021, and take the time to set yourself up for success with our Goal and Intention Setting Journal. We’ll walk you through 38 prompts to unpack 2020, leave it behind, and make your 2021 #Goals. 

This is just the beginning, over the next few months we’ll be covering actionable insights with our upcoming MarTech Series. We’ll go over how to be authentic, agile, savvy, grounded, and creative in your marketing through digital marketing trends, technology, data science, brand, and user experience. But first, let’s determine how you want to BE in 2021. Let’s start SMART.