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Marketing goals – the most important at a glance

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Maurice – September 20, 2023 – 10 min read

For many people and even some executives, there is still a completely wrong image about marketing: funny presentations, colorful graphs and designing promotional posters? Well, not quite. That marketing is a serious discipline within a business should be obvious to any aspiring or successful business owner. Functioning marketing that generates added value for a business also includes a sophisticated marketing strategy, clear marketing objectives and suitably implemented marketing measures.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to set marketing goals correctly and what exactly you need to pay attention to. After reading this article, you will be able to properly define marketing goals with real-world circumstances in mind.

Marketing goals do not define themselves. There are many details that go into setting these goals. Poorly defined goals are not only unhelpful, but can actually have a negative impact on the company. It is therefore all the more important to know what is important when defining marketing goals.

What are marketing goals, anyway?

Have you ever had a big, complex plan that you had to work long and hard to achieve? Which was so complex that you had to divide it into many small steps in order not to lose the overview and fail in the worst case?

You want to travel to Shanghai by car? Then you need stopovers, milestones, currencies, visas and many other things to think about. You can’t just go for it and not worry about anything – otherwise it’s very likely you’ll fail.

If you’ve ever had such a plan, you probably have an idea of why goals are so important in business. If not, you’ll be a little smarter in no time. After all, companies are generally extraordinarily complex – especially when they exceed a certain size and can no longer simply be managed by one or two people.

So a marketing goal is something you want to achieve in the future with the help of your marketing activities. Whether a goal relates only to a specific product, to an entire department, or even to the entire company is initially irrelevant.

To measure success or failure, you need metrics. These can vary greatly depending on the target, department or industry. Sales, clicks, followers, conversion rates – the list of metrics that matter in marketing is almost endless.

Goals are often set in companies using the SMART formula, usually together with representatives from other departments. You can read more about the SMART formula later.

But why are marketing goals so important in the first place? Let’s take a look.

Why are marketing goals so important?

Marketing objectives ensure that higher-level corporate goals can be achieved by setting clear and realistic milestones. In addition, well-reasoned marketing goals give meaning to employees’ day-to-day activities and can thus increase motivation.

Why are marketing goals so important?

Although creativity is worth a lot in the field of marketing, a marketer in a large company can’t just work on it. Large marketing projects are expensive, they cost resources, money and working time.

Marketing goals do not automatically ensure that marketing projects will succeed. Nevertheless: In the best case, they do. This is because goals are specifically scrutinized before they are set.

Does the marketing objective really help achieve the overall business goals? Is the goal realistically achievable?

In the same way, everyday measures that are subordinate to marketing objectives are also dealt with.

In addition: Goals ensure cohesion within the team. Without common, well-reasoned goals that ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction, chaos quickly breaks out in departments. It is no different in marketing. Comprehensible goals that everyone can identify with ensure that everyone shows commitment.

Failures are still normal. Even finely crafted marketing plans can fail. It is important to measure the reasons for failure. Goals can also help here, as well measurable key figures should always be defined in connection with them.

What are the marketing objectives?

Marketing goals aren’t just there. They must be derived from something and then defined. In almost all cases, marketing objectives are based on business objectives.

What are the marketing objectives?

Let’s take a look at a simple example from inbound marketing:

1. find out how much revenue you need to generate.

Let’s assume your company has a turnover of €1,000,000 in 2021. Your boss has set a company target for 2024 to increase sales by 30%. In this case, that would be €1,300,000.

2. look at how many sales you need.

The next step would now be to figure out how many products you need to sell to reach that goal. Let’s assume that one of your products goes over the counter for €10,000. So you have to sell 130 products in the coming year.

3. think about how many opportunities you need.

So if your close rate is 50%, meaning 50% of the customers you start negotiations with eventually buy your product, you need 260 opportunities to realistically reach your goal.

4. How many Sales Qualified Leads do you need?

Sales Qualified Leads are potential customers who are promising enough to later become opportunities. Let’s assume that 50% of the leads you land are promising enough to pass on to the sales team. Then you need a total of 520 Sales Qualified Leads to reach 260 Opportunities and 130 Sales.

5. How many Marketing Qualified Leads do you need?

Marketing Qualified Leads are customers that are not quite as promising as Sales Qualified Leads. You may not be very familiar with the product on offer, or you may not fit 100% into the target group. So the chance of them backing out after all is quite high. However, 50% of them could turn out to be Sales Qualified Leads. So you need 1040 Marketing Qualified Leads.

6. how many leads do you need?

Not all leads are Marketing Qualified leads. Some leads may have only subscribed to your newsletter or visited your website but are not really interested in your products. Again, we assume about 50% will eventually turn out to be Marketing Qualified Leads. So about 2080 leads are needed.

7. how much traffic do you need?

Nowadays, online marketing is the most important area of marketing. You need to generate traffic to generate leads. Your company probably already has past numbers here from which you can infer how much traffic you need to get to your 2080 leads. So if we assume a fairly high conversion rate of 5%, you need 41,000 people to visit your website.

You see: a single company revenue target can be pretty much unraveled. The same works with other goals in the company. Often, goals set in this way, such as the 41,000 website visitors, are then broken down even further into quarterly goals.

So to reach your revenue goal of €1,300,000 in 2024, you’ll need to attract 10,250 people to your website each quarter. To accomplish this, targeted measures are defined based on the marketing objectives.

Target types in marketing

The above example is a quantitative marketing objective. However, not all marketing goals are quantitative in nature. In practice, a distinction is made between different types of marketing objectives. The types differ in that different metrics are used and measures are required.

Target types in marketing
  • Quantitative marketing goals
    Quantitative marketing goals are based on key figures that can be easily measured. Examples are sales, market share, contribution margin, traffic or profit. They form the basis for the company’s commercial success and are usually directly linked to the company’s objectives.Quantitative marketing objectives leave no room for interpretation. The key figures must be chosen in such a way that they are resilient and meaningful.
  • Qualitative marketing goals
    Qualitative goals are somewhat more abstract. For example, it is about customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, purchase intensity or brand awareness.Accordingly, the measurement of success here is also more difficult and is usually based on surveys or similar qualitative research methods that allow insight into the psychology of customers.
  • Strategic marketing goals
    In business, strategy describes the behavior of a company with the aim of achieving certain goals in the long term. It is the same in marketing.Strategic marketing goals focus on long-term developments. For the most part, therefore, activities related to the achievement of strategic goals are not expected to have an immediate impact.
  • Tactical and operational marketing objectives
    Tactical as well as operational marketing goals are aimed more at short-term success. Tactical goals have a target horizon of about three years and operational goals of about one year. They are subordinate to the strategic marketing goals and often contribute to their fulfillment. An example of a tactical marketing objective is to achieve higher sales.

Now that we know the types of goals in marketing, let’s look at how best to define and formulate them. The five letters S, M, A, R and T play a decisive role here.

SMART goals in the marketing strategy

When setting marketing goals, it is important to keep reality in mind. Unrealistic, too short-term or over-demanding objectives do not help anyone in the company – on the contrary.

The SPART formula for goals

They can even cause frustration and demotivation among employees. Very helpful in formulating the marketing strategy and setting the goals is the SMART method:

S for specific:

Objectives must be specific. Under no circumstances should they be interchangeable or open to interpretation. This prevents misunderstandings and ensures that measures to achieve the goals can be defined more easily.

M for measurable:

The goals must be measurable by qualitative or quantitative factors.

A for accepted:

Goals should be acceptable to all stakeholders. If individual employees involved do not agree with the goals, this can jeopardize the entire project. It is therefore important to obtain opinions in advance and take them into account when setting goals.

R for realistic:

Goals must not be unrealistic, overwhelming, or unattainable. The available skills and resources must be sufficient to achieve the goals. If they are not, this can have a negative impact on employee motivation.

T for terminated:

Goals must be given a clear deadline. Only then can success be measured by numbers and data and results reliably monitored.

If you use this as a guideline when defining your goals, you can’t go far wrong. But you should not only keep an eye on the formulation of the goals, but also on possible conflicts of goals. What this can be, we explain to you in the following.

How are marketing goals related to each other?

Goals are usually related to each other in one way or another. By achieving one goal, companies sometimes get closer to achieving others. In other cases, goals oppose each other, interfere with each other, or are completely independent of each other. Entrepreneurs therefore speak of goal indifference, goal harmony, goal conflict and goal antinomy.

Let’s take a look at what’s behind it:

  • Target Indifference:
    Indifferent targets are completely independent of each other. If goal A is achieved, this has no effect at all on the development of the degree to which goal B is achieved. Example: Goal A is to reach new target groups, Goal B is to enroll sales staff in two training courses.
  • Target harmony :
    Harmonious or complementary objectives have a positive interaction. This means that if goal A is achieved, this has a positive effect on goal B. For companies, this is very desirable, but especially in larger, complex companies with many departments, harmonious goals are often just wishful thinking. A simple example is a higher market share and a subsequent increase in sales.
  • Conflict of objectives :
    Conflicting goals make the achievement of certain other goals more difficult or even impossible. Most of the time, conflicting goals have to be resolved, but every now and then they are deliberate in order to find creative solutions to deadlocked problems.Reducing advertising costs while simultaneously increasing sales, for example, does not promise success and makes life unnecessarily difficult for marketing departments.
  • Goal Antinomy:
    Antinomian goals are fundamentally mutually exclusive. Achieving both goals in such a case is completely impossible. An increase in the advertising budget to value X, for example, can never be achieved at the same time as a reduction in spending on advertising.

So also keep the relationships between marketing goals in focus, so that, they are actually realistic.


The achievement of marketing goals depends to a high degree on well-formulated marketing objectives. Defining marketing goals must be learned. Various tools such as the SMART method, which is the most widely used tool for setting goals, can help.

The marketing actions taken on a day-to-day basis depend heavily on the marketing objectives set. Without a clear definition of goals, it is difficult to ensure reasonable implementation and achieve the desired state.

Thus, the marketing objectives are the basis for a functioning workflow in the marketing department and in other areas.

Key figures such as sales, profit or reach play a major role in evaluating the achievement of goals.

Even if previously set targets are missed at the end of a period, such key figures ensure that mistakes in implementation can be identified and avoided in the future.


8+ years of Growth Marketing
Published September 20, 2023


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