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Introducing the OGSM model framework

Author's avatar By James Story 19 May, 2015
Essential Essential topic

A practical tool for linking business or digital vision with goals, objectives, strategies and KPIs

OGSM is a widely-used approach for getting focus to translate a vision into business and marketing strategy.

What is OGSM?

OGSM stands for objective, goals, strategies and measures. It's a way of defining what you want to achieve, and how you will get there. The model divides your aims into broad objectives, fixed and measurable goals, strategies to guide your actions, and measures to give you a direct way of monitoring your progress. Here is how the parts of the OGSM model link together.

OGSM model framework

Here's a more specific definition of OGSM:

Objective: Defining an over-arching breakthrough vision

  • Stable, concise and linked to company mission

Goals: Stepping stones to achieving the higher level objective

  • Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Compatible

Strategies: the choices we make to achieve our objective

  • Where we choose to focus
  • Should be flexible

Measures: Numerical benchmarks on our progress

  • KPIs used as checkpoints to determine if our strategies are working

How to create an OGSM plan

An essential part of the beauty and versatility of the OGSM model is how easy it is to implement. You don't need any special software or technical skills - you just need a single page. The most important part for success in creating an OGSM plan is making sure that you carefully and accurately define your terms: objective, goals, strategies and measures.

Objectives refers to your vision for what you need to achieve in the long term, taking into account your fundamental principles and mission statement.

Goals are about specific long-term targets aligned to your objectives, which should be measurable and will often have a financial basis.

Strategies are the ways you will deploy resources to achieve your goals. Measures are the things you will monitor to judge whether your strategies are working.

Overall, all stages of the model need to be strategically aligned, so that all your efforts feed back to your overall objectives for success.

An example OGSM plan

Let’s image a finance company called EZCash. They’re a growing company that prides itself on making money simple by letting customers synchronize their online banking information into one profile. There, customers can see an estimate of their credit score, their current and savings accounts, credit cards, and loan/mortgage information. However, they’ve noticed that the majority of their customers are over 40 years old. At the start of the year, EZCash decides to make a change.

Objective: Grow the number of customers in the 16-25 age group

In order to achieve this overall objective, EZCash sets three goals.

Goal 1: Create 30 educational resources by the end of the year that young customers can use to learn about financial matters

Goal 2: Work with 10 youth/student organizations in the next year

Goal 3: Host 5 public events in the next year that are aimed towards increasing the financial knowledge of young people

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Each of these goals requires separate strategies in order to achieve them. To achieve each goal, some of the strategies that EZCash could undertake include:

Strategies for Goal 1:

  • Identify keywords that have high search volume
  • Create a content library structure, wherein pages have dedicated keywords to optimize for
  • Create a timetable for content creation, working with freelancers where possible
  • Standardize a process for asset creation (video/illustration)

Strategies for Goal 2:

  • Conduct surveys/interviews with persona group members to better understand their needs
  • Identify applicable youth/student organizations in the local area/nationwide
  • Negotiate activity/promotion activities between the two parties

Strategies for Goal 3:

  • Brainstorm/estimate budget for event concepts
  • Select event locations (nationwide) and scout venue options
  • Formulate invite list (existing customers, bloggers, public invite through local event site etc.)
  • Create event giveaway collateral
  • Schedule social media activity surrounding events (both in-house and encouraged activity from event attendees)

To monitor if each strategy will succeed, important measurements need to be monitored. For the strategies mentioned, these measurements could be:

Measurements for Goal 1 Strategies:

  • Monthly keyword search volume
  • Article word count/image usage
  • Budget spent
  • Video views/view time
  • Organic search volume
  • Goal completions (signups, credit checks etc.)

Measurements for Goal 2 Strategies:

  • Survey question analysis (approval percentage etc.)
  • Contacted/interested engagement list
  • Referral traffic from partnership sites
  • Engagement with co-authored content/social media posts
  • Budget spent
  • Goal completions (signups, credit checks etc.)

Measurements for Goal 3 Strategies:

  • Venue size/attendee totals
  • Outreach engagement numbers
  • Authority of pages hosting event invite news
  • Social media impressions, mentions, engagements (including use of encouraged hashtags)
  • Goal completions (signups, credit checks etc.)

You can now see how each measurement directly feeds into specific strategies that will help achieve goals and, in turn, the overall company objective.

Where did OGSM originate?

The true origins of OGSM are unclear, but it's claimed that it was first devised in Japan in 1950 before being translated for American corporations. Research suggests that consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble played an important role in refining and championing the model, and it has been taken up by such major businesses as Coca Cola and Mars and of course applied by  consultancy firms.

It has been developed and adapted by different consultants and you will find strong parallels in the Smart Insights approach to aligning goals with strategies.

Things to watch for

Although OGSM is a widely used model people tend to define goals and objectives differently in different businesses. For example, it's common to refer to broader goals and specific SMART objectives which we do as we explain in this article on goals vs objectives.

In the OGSM model, it all starts with your objectives - and everything else in the model should be aligned with this first element. When defining your objectives, it's vital to think big, and to think long term. Create a compelling vision for where you want to be in the future. Paint yourself a picture of what success will look like. The better your picture, the greater your chances of achieving those objectives with the help of the OGSM model.

We hope you find this explanation of OGSM useful. It’s a great tool since it's a simple way to show the importance of aligning strategy with goals and then putting in place measurement to check you're on track and can be agile to adjust tactics to meet the broader objective. It's similar to the techniques we cover in our guide to aligning goals, strategies, objectives, KPIs and dashboards.

Like all business models, OGSM is a framework that can adapted to different situations. If you have used it, we'd be interested to hear how you find it and any adaptations you have made.

Auhtor's avatar

By James Story

James Story has worked in the world of digital marketing since 2014 as a content and online PR executive. Specialising in content creation, he has been part of award-nominated projects and instrumental in the creation of content hubs. With a passion for the written word and an eye for detail, he is currently the Senior Content Manager for Lead Tech, a financial lead generation company providing high-quality leads for financial advisers and financial advice firms. You can connect with James on LinkedIn

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