You’ve seen the acronym, SMART for communication objectives, right? It’s not so much a demand as it is a guide, a how-to for creating a good objective.
It’s also how you set the stage for effective measurement in communications, and in pretty much every other endeavor.
The key is to have a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish. What do you want people to think, feel and/or do as a result of your communication activity? Let’s look more closely.
Specific: Too many objectives in communication cover “awareness.” We need to know more. Awareness among whom? The general public? Segments? Existing customers? Let’s be sure to get to right set of stakeholders.
Measurable: Back to awareness. We need to stipulate how much awareness among our target. That means we need a benchmark, a baseline – we have to know the current level of awareness and describe how much we want it to increase.
Achievable: Is the objective actually possible? For example, setting an objective that every person in a company will know the strategy is a worthy goal – but isn’t likely to happen. There are too many things that might get in the way of it, including turnover, illness and lack of relevancy. Another issue? We did some work for a start-up not long ago, and no one had ever heard of their product or their company. We’re not going to create an objective that says half the population will be aware – not going to happen without spending a boat load of cash. Let’s make sure we actually can deliver on the objective.
Relevant: Assigning an objective to a team that doesn’t have direct responsibility for it is a recipe for failure. Communication people seldom have accountability for sales. We create the environment that is conducive to increased sales – engaged, productive employees; higher reputation scores, good relationships with key constituencies – but someone else actually produces the sale. Make the communicators responsible for the things within their control.
Time-bound: Good, measurable objectives have time scales – we have a benchmark, a target and a time frame. We want to increase awareness among a certain target audience X amount over the Y time period.
When the business objectives are SMART, they become measurable!
Original post written by Sean Williams, Vice President & Practice Lead, True Digital Communications.