No matter the project, one must always have set up a numeric goal and a plan by which way to get there. Because the second half of marketing is the sales function, there are no doubt steps along the way you can chart to know when you are on the way to reaching your objective.
As with all things, there are extremely sophisticated ways to going about charting your course, or you can use ‘paper and pen’ to create a simple methodology to track your progress. I personally endorse an easy-to-follow spreadsheet which has all of the figures you need that allows you to quickly compare what you should be doing with what you’ve actually accomplished. By working far enough ahead on the planning of the project, you should give yourself attainable goals, and ways to adjust them along the way.
In a word, it ain’t sexy, but it is certainly effective.
Here’s a simple plan to follow. Suppose your current project is to support the chief fundraiser in your organization to increase the number of donors by 20% year over year. One must always be realistic in setting one’s goals, and never agree to goals which are far beyond the capabilities of the current staffing levels in numbers and competence. The fight for success usually takes place as much upfront in the goal setting process as does the execution. That is not to say you should sandbag, but all parties should leave the negotiation with a feeling that they gave a little, but not too much.
Once the numbers are set, context is as important as achievement. Setting up a simple spreadsheet with columns having actual vs. goal in each category should be enough to provide you, you team and your management with an easy report at a glance.
As for the categories, one must consider every step of the process from the tedious work of research and database cleansing through the labor intensive steps of emails, snail mail, calls and connects and closed sales, make sure to always be counting and chronicling your steps to success. By meticulously charting each step, you will know exactly when you need to make changes to your plan to either ramp up intensity or look for new ways to re-engage. Let the numbers tell you what must be done.
How to set the goals is another easy step to take, and if done correctly, will not make you feel overwhelmed by the task(s) at hand. By simply dividing the number of tasks by the number of days you’ll have an easy plan to follow.
In the event you are doing a campaign, we encourage you to put the goals out there for everyone to see and to work toward. Working in a vacuum, where there’s no context for your fans to follow prevents, engagement on any other level. Creating competitions between different factions of supporters or versus another entity entirely can create the relevance needed to stay on top of the newsfeeds until you accomplish your goal.
Lastly, celebrating your goal internally with your team as well as externally with the fans who get you to your goal is an important way for everyone to feel part of the success. Too many times a goal is reached, and is shortly thereafter forgotten because we move on to the next challenge. Take a few minutes to thank everyone who helps you reach your goal before digging in on your next project, no doubt there always will be one following very closely behind.