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How to integrate objectives and strategy when creating a marketing plan

A tool for aligning your goals with your strategy

Lack of integration between goals, strategies and tactics is a problem I often find when reviewing online marketing strategies. This is true whether I'm reviewing student assignments or mentoring marketers creating real-world digital strategies. This happens simply because the different aspects of strategy often aren't well integrated because of the way the report is split up into separate sections.

Although online marketing strategies are usually well structured, for example into PR Smith's SOSTAC® structure featured in our free online marketing strategy template, the sections aren't often well related. It's not clear how each strategy is supporting a goal or the analysis on which the objective is based.

Here's a simple method to show alignment between objectives, KPIs and strategy which provides a one page summary of the digital strategy using a table that we feature in our member's Online Strategy Toolkit and explained in our guide to Delivering Results from Digital Marketing. I first created it working with clients and then featured it in the 4th 2009 edition of Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice book. It's in the 4th chapter if you have access to that!

The four columns in the table below are:

1. SMARTER objectives i.e. quantified objectives grouped around customer acquisition, conversion or retention or our RACE framework.

2. Substantation i.e. Evidence proving your goals are realistic based on situation analysis or creating conversion models

3. Strategies to achieve objectives. Outline the main ways you will reach your objectives.

4. KPIs and CSFs. The Critical Success Factors are the detailed measures, for example those collected within Google Analytics which will help you review to prove you're on track or make adjustments.

I recommend this table layout for aligning your strategies with your objectives since it provides a simple one to two page summary of your marketing strategy. Much more effective than a long report your colleagues or clients won't read...

A tool to align strategy and objectives

A tool to align strategy and objectives

By Dave Chaffey

Dave is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our Expert members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing. For my full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Emarketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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