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Marketing Objectives

Marketing Objectives

The best marketing strategy is to destroy your industry before the competition does.

- Seth Godin

'Destroying the industry' might be an example of a marketing objective. Setting marketing objectives, however, is not always that simple. It comes with specific challenges, but it may also provide a lot of value to a company's marketing and corporate strategies. Pricing objectives, market research objectives, and behavioral objectives are some of the primary objectives businesses may set. But why are they so crucial to a business? Let's find out.

Marketing Objectives Definition

First, let's look at the definition of marketing objectives and some common marketing objectives that different types of organizations might set.

Marketing objectives outline the goals a business wants to achieve through its marketing practices.

Six common marketing objectives that firms might set for themselves include:

  1. Increasing sales volume: the objective to sell more of a product or service.

  2. Increasing sales value: where the business objective is to increase revenues.

  3. Sales growth: where the business objective is to increase the size of the business through sales.

  4. Increasing market share: the business's objective is to increase the percentage of the market they dominate.

  5. Loyalty: where the business objective is to increase customer retention (to encourage customers to keep coming back).

  6. Awareness: increase the number of customers who know about the brand.

You can find calculations related to marketing objectives in the market calculations explanation.

Value of Setting Marketing Objectives

There are numerous reasons why a business sets marketing objectives. The value of setting marketing objectives is as follows:

  1. Marketing objectives are helpful as they keep the marketing team focused on the firm's primary goals. Marketing objectives help the team identify marketing priorities and stick to the main objectives of the business.
  2. Marketing objectives incentivize the marketing team and allow them to measure success (or failure) through clear, effective means.
  3. Marketing objectives can also be necessary to ensure the marketing strategy is aligned with the corporate mission and company vision.
  4. Marketing objectives can also be practical tools to help marketers budget and allocate resources appropriately.

SMART Marketing Objectives

One way to ensure your marketing objectives are realistic is by setting SMART marketing objectives.

SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific: the objective should be stated in enough detail - what exactly do we want to achieve? A company should avoid setting broad objectives, as these can end up causing confusion.

  • Measurable: objectives should be quantitatively or qualitatively measurable. Measurability helps determine how much of the objective a company has achieved.

  • Actionable/Achievable: the objective should be achievable by those carrying out set tasks.

  • Relevant: is the goal relevant to the business's overall mission? Objectives should also be relevant and understandable to the people who are working on achieving the objective.

  • Time-bound: a specific deadline should be set.

Setting Marketing Objectives

Marketing managers must make numerous decisions to address customer wants and needs successfully.

First, they have to identify what a specific customer segment needs through initial screening and market research.

They also have to anticipate customers' future wants and needs. They can do this by interpreting and analyzing the data gathered during the market research phase.

Marketing managers also need to target the right customer segment. Marketers can do this by conducting extensive customer segmentation and developing a plan for marketing campaigns.

Marketing decision-makers then must satisfy their target customers' wants and needs by positioning products appropriately and implementing the marketing plan successfully.

Finally, they need to make sure that this entire process is profitable.

Marketing Objectives Diagram showing the process of setting marketing objectives StudySmarterFig. 1. Setting Marketing Objectives

Pricing Objectives in Marketing

'Price' is one of the 4Ps of the marketing mix. Therefore, the company must determine its overall marketing strategy before setting pricing objectives.

Check out our explanation of the marketing mix to learn more.

However, many marketing strategies might also stem from pricing. For example, pricing objectives may include:

  • Retaining existing customers and strengthening loyalty by offering attractive prices,

  • Enticing new customers by offering them lower prices or discounts to create 'hype' around a product (e.g., price penetration),

  • Intrigue early adopters by setting high prices for new product developments (price skimming),

  • Prevent new entrants (competitors) from entering the market by setting lower prices,

  • Increase overall sales by offering lower prices.

To learn more about early adopters and their influence on the market, check out our explanation of the product life cycle.

Marketing Objectives Examples

Now that we understand the role of pricing objectives, let's look at some other marketing objectives examples. Marketing research and consumer behavior play a huge role in marketing. Thus, businesses set objectives for both of these areas of marketing.

Marketing Research Objectives

On the other hand, marketers also set marketing research objectives. These types of objectives are related to the market research plan and may include:

  • Descriptive marketing research objectives: Marketers set these goals to describe the characteristics of markets and customers (e.g., their buying behavior, market potential, etc.).

  • Exploratory marketing research objectives: These help marketers investigate markets, collect preliminary data, and develop hypotheses. They help identify and understand problems or gaps in the market.

  • Causal marketing research objectives: Marketers use these types of research objectives when they want to investigate cause-and-effect relationships. For example, would a 2% price decrease lead to increased overall revenue?

Behavioral Objectives Marketing

Finally, marketers may set behavioral objectives. These types of objectives are related to purchasing behavior and may include:

  • Increase brand awareness or product benefits to encourage routine and habitual purchases,

  • Adapt marketing and sales strategies to guide customers through the purchase journey when making complex and informed purchases,

  • Increase impulse purchases through effective marketing communications tactics.

To learn more, take a look at our explanation of understanding markets and customers.

The Limitations of Setting Marketing Objectives

Unfortunately, businesses may face some difficulties when setting marketing objectives.

Marketing Objectives: Potential Problems

One of the limitations arises when marketing objectives are unaligned with the company's corporate mission. A misalignment between different departments can lead to a massive issue with the image a business portrays to stakeholders.

In certain situations, a conflict between different market objectives may also arise.

If the company's main objective is to increase sales volume (sell more of its products), it can do this by decreasing the price at which the product is sold. However, this can lead to problems if the cost of goods sold exceeds sales revenues. As a result, it may damage the business's profitability even though marketers have achieved the specific marketing objective.

Marketing objectives Sales volume strategies StudySmarterFig. 2 - A sales team deciding on strategies to increase the sales volume

Businesses can sometimes set objectives that are too ambitious. For example, a small business may aim to own 50% of the market share of a particular industry by the end of the year. However, this objective could prove unattainable if they do not have the right resources and capabilities to do so.

Marketing Objectives: External Influences

External influences are influences that a business cannot directly control. Sometimes these can also cause conflict with marketing objectives. An example of an external influence is competition.

Imagine a company decides its primary objective will be increasing sales growth. However, a competitor brand enters the market with a newer, more innovative product that satisfies the wants and needs of the target customer segment. In this case, the competitor brand will likely experience the sales growth the original company aimed to achieve.

Competitors are an external influence that our business has no control over.

Another example of an external influence is legislation. Governments and other official bodies create legislation. They can include new advertising and environmental regulations, among others, that can impact whole industries. Such actions can substantially affect the operations and marketing outcomes of a business.

Finally, average customer income is also an example of an external influence that can affect marketing objectives. A firm may have set all the correct objectives, targeted the right customer segment, and mastered its marketing decision-making. Yet, with decreasing customer incomes, customers are likely to cut back on their consumption - especially when it comes to luxury or non-essential products.

Benefits of Setting Marketing Objectives
Limitations to Setting (Bad) Marketing Objectives
Keeps the focus on objectives.Could lead to issues with the corporate image.
An incentive for the marketing team.Conflict between different market objectives.
Allows you to measure success/failure.Damage to profitability.
Budgeting and allocating resources.Objectives that are too ambitious.
To make sure marketing strategy is aligned with corporate objectives.External influences.

Table 1 - Benefits and Limitations of Marketing Objectives

Table 1 above summarises the advantages of setting appropriate marketing objectives and the downfalls of setting poor marketing objectives. Marketing objectives can significantly impact organizations, so it is crucial to set them in a specific, measurable, relevant, and achievable way.

Marketing Objectives - Key takeaways

  • Marketing objectives outline the goals a business wants to achieve through its marketing practices.
  • Marketing managers need to identify, anticipate, target, and satisfy the wants and needs of customers profitably.
  • There are numerous reasons a business might want to set marketing objectives. However, a company needs to ensure that the objectives are realistic and achievable.
  • Marketing objectives can help improve focus, help allocate resources, and provide attainable incentives for the marketing team.
  • One way to ensure your marketing objectives are realistic is by setting SMART objectives.
  • Potential problems with marketing objectives can occur when there is a conflict between different objectives or if the objectives set are too ambitious.
  • External influences can also limit marketing objectives. These influences are beyond the control of the company.

Frequently Asked Questions about Marketing Objectives

Marketing objectives outline the goals a business wants to achieve through its marketing practices. 

Examples of marketing objectives may include sales objectives (like increasing sales), pricing objectives (like preventing new entrants by offering lower prices), research objectives (like identifying gaps in the market), and behavioral objectives (like encouraging routine purchases). 

To set marketing objectives, marketing managers need to identify, anticipate, target, and satisfy the wants and needs of customers profitably. 

'Price' is one of the 4Ps of the marketing mix. Therefore, the company must determine its overall marketing strategy before setting pricing objectives. However, many marketing strategies might also stem from pricing. For example, pricing objectives may include enticing new customers by offering them lower prices or discounts.

One way to ensure your marketing objectives are realistic is by setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, actionable/achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

Final Marketing Objectives Quiz

Question

What are marketing objectives?

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Answer

Marketing objectives outline the goals a business wants to achieve through its marketing practices.

Show question

Question

Name two common marketing objectives. 


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Answer

  • Increasing sales growth 

  • Increasing brand loyalty 

Show question

Question

Explain the first two steps of the process behind setting marketing objectives. 


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Answer

First, marketing managers have to identify what a specific customer segment needs through initial screening and market research. They also have to anticipate customers' future wants and needs. They can do this by interpreting and analyzing the data they have gathered during the market research phase.

Show question

Question

Name an advantage of setting marketing objectives. 


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Answer

  • Help the marketing team stay focused on marketing goals. 

  • Provides the marketing team with a clear and measurable incentive.

Show question

Question

Which of the following statements is correct? 


  1. Marketing objectives can be useful for budgeting. 

  2. Marketing objectives should be aligned with corporate objectives.

Show answer

Answer

Both statements are correct.

Show question

Question

Which one of the following actions is not part of the process behind setting marketing objectives?

  1. Identify

  2. segment 

  3. Satisfy 

  4. Anticipate 

Show answer

Answer

B.

Show question

Question

What does the acronym SMART stand for?


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Answer

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.

Show question

Question

Why do businesses aim to set SMART objectives?


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Answer

To make sure marketing goals are realistic and attainable.

Show question

Question

What is an external influence? 


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Answer

An external influence is a factor beyond the control of the business that can impact its marketing objectives and strategy.

Show question

Question

What is an external influence? 


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Answer

An external influence is a factor beyond the control of the business that can impact its marketing objectives and strategy.

Show question

Question

Name two external influences that could limit marketing objectives.


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Answer

  • Competition 

  • Legislation

Show question

Question

Name two potential problems that can occur when setting marketing objectives. 


Show answer

Answer

  • Objectives are not aligned with the corporate mission. 

  • Objectives are too ambitious.

Show question

Question

Which of the following is not an external influence?

  1. Legislation 

  2. Competition

  3. Advertising regulations

  4. Corporate mission. 

Show answer

Answer

D.

Show question

Question

Marketing objectives outline the goals a business wants to achieve through its marketing practices.  

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Is "increasing sales volume" a marketing objective? 

Show answer

Answer

No

Show question

Question

One of the marketing objectives is to increase sales value. 

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Is "Increasing market share" a marketing objective? 

Show answer

Answer

No

Show question

Question

How do marketers anticipate customers' future wants and needs?

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Answer

By conducting and analyzing market research. 

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Question

What is the aim of customer segmentation?

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Answer

To target the right customer segments. 

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Question

What is the main aim of setting marketing objectives?

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Answer

To ensure increased profits. 

Show question

Question

  1. Marketing objectives are important for ensuring that marketing strategy is aligned with the corporate mission and company vision. 

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

Can a business control external influences? 

Show answer

Answer

Yes

Show question

Question

Is customer retention also a marketing objective? 

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Answer

Yes

Show question

Question

Customer retention means attracting new customers. 

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

Potential problems with marketing objectives can occur when there is a conflict between different objectives or if the objectives set are too ambitious. 

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Answer

True

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