Marketing plans are written documents that help you communicate your marketing efforts for the following year. One of the most important parts of the marketing plan is the objectives and issues section, which helps internal employees or external stakeholders understand your marketing goals. You should communicate your objectives in the very beginning of your marketing plan. Write your marketing plan objectives and issues so they are "SMART," which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
The first aspect of writing SMART marketing plan objectives and issues is to make sure they are specific, detailed and results-oriented. Write your marketing objectives so they communicate exactly what has to be achieved and by whom. For example, an objective statement like, "Increase efficiency" is much too generic. To make this more specific, you can write, "Increase efficiency within the project management team by 12 percent by increasing our number of billable hours." You can see how being more specific can help you clearly define and address your issue in your marketing plan.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, to set a measurable marketing goal, start by reviewing your sales numbers, market growth, market size and product performance. For each of your marketing objectives, describe what you intend to accomplish along with quantifiable numbers to give you a concrete goal to shoot for. For example, saying you want to, "Enter into the health care market segment" is not a measurable goal. Instead, say something like, "Go from 0 percent to 5 percent of the health care market share in Royal Oak in two years" is a measurable goal.
SMART objectives in a marketing plan also need to be achievable. If you set objectives that you think you can't achieve in the coming year, you may waste resources and lose motivation. While writing your goals, make sure you set achievable expectations in your plan.
Your marketing plan objectives also should be realistic. While this aspect of SMART goals is similar to "achievable," the difference is making sure you have the necessary resources in place to accomplish the objective. Examples of resources include employees, budget, technology and time. The key here is to closely review each of your objectives and issues, and make sure you have the resources in place for them to be realistic.
Finally, the objectives of your marketing plan should be time-based. Setting a date for when you want to accomplish each of your goals gives you a specific mark to measure against. Saying, "Increase sales by 15 percent by October 2011" leaves no doubt as to the time you have to complete the goal. Once you specify a time frame, you can then lay out a detailed plan for how you will accomplish the goal or address the issue in the rest of your marketing plan.