As marketers we have gotten very good at setting measurable goals for projects, moving away from work that attempts to influence intangible business objectives.   In my experience with most agencies, we usually take a look at our KPIs at the end of the campaign, and then try to do a post-mortem on what worked or why we missed the target (thankfully, I have found that this is not the case at Three Deep, where measurement often drives the campaign).

There is another way, but it requires commitment to flexibility – that is to reserve funds and plan resources to adjust as you go.  We should be reviewing results regularly and having a “plan B” to step up traffic generators, or adjust content or functionality to improve results if we aren’t on track to reach our initial goals.

Let’s take a minute to review the criteria for a focused goal.  It must be:

S – Specific
M – Measureable
A – Actionable
R – Realistic
T – Timebound

The mark we often miss is the Measurable part – looking to influence the way our audience feels about the company, product or brand; or trying to “create buzz” in a way that can’t be tracked.

The key with the Timebound criteria is to set milestones for the duration of the campaign.  Let’s say we are launching a new product and kicking off by seeding viral media to spread the word.  In this case, you can estimate the trajectory of the traffic you would like to see, and if it isn’t on track, have a traditional PR campaign in your pocket.  You may not need to spend this money, but it is hard to get additional funds to boost a campaign that is “failing” mid-stream.

I am going to work in a plan for change into my next few projects and see where this goes.  If you have examples where this has worked in the past, please share!