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Laying The Groundwork: Setting Goals, KPIs, and Objectives for Marketing

Introduction: After establishing your brand identity and target audience, it's time to develop a strategic marketing plan.

This can include the plays you will run as a team

In this second post of our Comprehensive Marketing Strategy Guide for CEOs, we'll delve into the process of setting KPIs, marketing goals, and objectives that align with your overall business strategy.

This is a beefy topic with lots of moving parts, if you don't have questions that should be a red flag and a good indication you need to dive deeper to understand. This structure will be how you have a pulse on marketing being successful or not

High-level Overview of what we'll cover

  1. Aligning Marketing Goals with Business Objectives - Structuring your funnel

    1. Identifying key business objectives and how marketing can support them

    2. Ensuring marketing goals contribute to overall revenue and growth targets

    3. Don't get caught in the vanity metrics and don't let your leaders either

    4. Remember one-size does not fit all. just because you read it or saw it doesn't make it right for your business. Make sure you

    5. Go Through a Backwards Funnel Regression Model with your marketing leader

  2. Creating OKRS or SMART Marketing Goals or you can use a different methodology too

    1. Setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals

    2. Examples of SMART marketing goals and how to track progress

  3. Prioritizing Marketing Objectives

    1. Evaluating the importance and impact of each marketing objective

    2. Allocating resources effectively to maximize ROI

  4. Playbooks

    1. I will dive into these in a separate blog post and give examples

Marketing goals Examples

Structuring the funnel is probably one of the most crucial things to do. Remember one-size doesn't fit all but here is some tried and true structures that have worked.

Funnel Structure and Insights:

  1. Awareness: Attract potential customers through targeted content marketing, social media advertising, and search engine marketing. Measure the increase in website traffic, social media engagement, and ad impressions.

  2. Interest: Encourage visitors to explore the website and learn more about the products. Track time spent on the website, page views per session, and email sign-ups.

  3. Consideration: Provide potential customers with compelling reasons to purchase through promotions, product demonstrations, or customer testimonials. Monitor the number of users adding items to their shopping cart and those engaging with promotional content.

  4. Conversion: Optimize the checkout process to reduce friction and increase the likelihood of a purchase. Analyze conversion rates, average order value, and abandoned cart rates.

  5. Retention: Encourage repeat purchases through personalized email marketing campaigns, loyalty programs, and targeted offers. Evaluate customer retention rates, repeat purchase rates, and customer lifetime value.

Example KPIs:

  • CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) = This is the total cost to acquire a customer including marketing and sales expenses

  • CAC Payback Period = CAC/(ARR - Average Cost of Service)

  • CPL (Cost Per Lead) = This typically is auto calculated for your marketing leader in paid media channels. However, it is not auto calculated for other channels and it should be measured and tracked.

  • LTV (Lifetime Value) = This is the overall calculation of the the value the customer brings in a single year multiplied by their contract terms

  • LVR (Lead Velocity Rate)

  • Customer churn rate

  • Conversion Rate between Funnel Stages

  • Net New Pipeline Sourced by Marketing

  • Volume of Demos and meetings booked

  • Conversion Rate of Traffic to Lead

  • Sales Cycle in time

  • Net Burn Rate - how much money you're losing each month before a new fund comes in

Naturally it will take time for your business to mature through the stages a start-up goes through, ensuring that you are measuring the right things at the right time will help empower your decision making based off of data. Don't feel like you have to boil the ocean, start where you are and build on it.

Seed to Series A

  • MRR (Monthly recurring revnue)

  • Growth rate - month over month, quarter over quarter, and year over year

  • LTV

  • Social Reach

  • Website Visits

Series A to B

  • Revenue run rate

  • gross margin percentage

  • LTV:CAC ration = you are striving for a 3-5x

Series B

  • YoY revenue Growth

  • NRR (net Retention Rate)

  • GRRCR (Gross Recurring Revenue Churn Rate)

  • If you are in SaaS: Magic Number = (Current Quarter ARR - Prior Quarter ARR)/ Prior Quarter Acquisition Cost

Series C

  • Customer retention Rate

  • Customer Churn Rate

Series D

  • Gross margin

  • Gross revenue Churn

Many CRMs have pre-built funnel stages you can use. However, my experience has been that rarely works for the business. Have discussions with your leaders on what you feel would be best to measure. Is it lead volume, the cohort of leads that move to a demo, the cohort of leads to mqls or mqls to closed bookings? This will help you build a foundation to your funnel architecture that can scale with your business.

I dive deeper into funnels and how to select the one that best meets your needs in a later blog post (Flywheel, Bow Tie, Triangle, Upside Down Triangle)

Example funnel:

TOFU (Top of Funnel)

Visitor (unknown web visitor) --> Lead (known by min of email address) -->

MOFU (Middle of Funnel)

MQL -Marketing Qualified Lead(an engaged lead that meets marketing criteria) --> SQL - Sales Qualified Lead (Someone converted from an MQL into a meeting) -->

BOFU (Bottom of Funnel)

Deal (Net new pipeline creation) --> Here you define the stages of your sales funnel - Stage 1 = Discovery | Stage 2 = Product Specs | Stage 3 = Contract Terms |Stage 4 = Win -->

Customer Funnel

Here you define post-purchase stages - Current Customer | Churned Customer | Brand Advocate |

Backwards Funnel Regression Model

here are the steps:

  1. What do you need in revenue?

  2. What percent of that do you need to come from marketing?

  3. What is your ACV?

  4. Do this calculation: 1 (Total Revenue) / 3 (ACV). This will give you the # of deals you need.

  5. Now multiply 2 - percent from Marketing by the product of 4. This will give you the total amount of close-won deals you need.

  6. Now go through this table below with each stage of these percentages based on your industry best practices and standards (most should fit in the range of 10% below or above the number i listed).

Example: Total Wins Needed = 20 --> 20 wins /30% conversation rate from pipe to win = 66.6 --> New Deals = 66.6 deals needed --> 66.6 deals / 42% conversion rate from SQL to deal = 158.7 SQLs needed. SQLs = 158.7 --> 158.7/31% = 512 total MQLs needed. 512/22% = 2,327.4 new leads needed. 2,327.4/4.5% = 51,720.48

Funnel Stage

Total Number needed

Conversion Rate



4.5% (avg conversion of web traffic)





New Deals




This means you'd need the budget in marketing to produce 51K visitors over the course of a year and to maintain these average conversion rates to hit your projected revenue number. If you are coming up with a crazy high number, it means it's not realistic if the math doesn't work.

SMART Goals Breakdown & OKRS

OKRS (Objectives and Key Results)


CMO/VP of Marketing OKRs:

Objective: Increase brand awareness and customer acquisition

Key Results:

  • Increase organic website traffic by 25% quarter-over-quarter

  • Boost social media following by 15% on all platforms within the quarter

  • Increase the number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) by 20% quarter-over-quarter

  • Achieve a 10% improvement in email marketing click-through rate by the end of the quarter

Objective: Improve customer retention and loyalty

Key Results:

  • Increase the customer retention rate by 5% within the quarter

  • Achieve a 15% increase in upsell and cross-sell opportunities by the end of the quarter

  • Boost the Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 10 points within the quarter

Head of Sales OKRs:

Objective: Accelerate revenue growth and expand the customer base

Key Results:

  • Increase the total sales revenue by 20% quarter-over-quarter

  • Achieve a 15% increase in new customer acquisitions within the quarter

  • Reduce the average sales cycle length by 10% by the end of the quarter

  • Maintain or improve the average deal size by 5% within the quarter

Objective: Optimize sales team performance and efficiency

Key Results:

  • Improve the lead-to-opportunity conversion rate by 10% within the quarter

  • Increase the percentage of sales reps achieving

Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals is a proven method to help businesses focus their efforts and achieve success. In this blog post, we'll explore real-world examples of SMART goals that demonstrate how businesses have effectively applied this approach for growth.

  1. Specific

    1. Goal: Increase the number of monthly website visitors by 25%.

    2. Example: An e-commerce company set a specific goal to attract more potential customers to their website. By focusing on targeted marketing campaigns, optimizing their website for search engines, and creating engaging content, they were able to increase their website visitors by 25%.

  2. Measurable

    1. Goal: Boost email marketing click-through rate (CTR) by 10%.

    2. Example: A B2B software company set a measurable goal to improve their email marketing engagement. They A/B tested different subject lines, email layouts, and call-to-actions, and closely monitored their email CTR. As a result, they successfully increased their CTR by 10%.

  3. Achievable

    1. Goal: Grow social media following by 1,000 new followers within six months.

    2. Example: A local restaurant set an achievable goal to expand their social media presence. They consistently shared appealing food images, promoted special offers, and engaged with their audience through comments and messages. This strategy led to the addition of 1,000 new followers within the specified time frame

  4. Relevant

    1. Goal: Improve customer retention rate by 5% within one year.

    2. Example: A subscription box company set a relevant goal to focus on customer satisfaction and loyalty. They implemented personalized recommendations, improved their customer support response times, and offered exclusive perks to existing subscribers. As a result, they increased their customer retention rate by 5% in one year.

  5. Time-bound

    1. Goal: Generate 20% more qualified leads through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising within three months.

    2. Example: A digital marketing agency set a time-bound goal to improve the effectiveness of their PPC campaigns. They conducted thorough keyword research, optimized ad copy and landing pages, and continuously monitored campaign performance. Within the three-month time frame, they successfully generated 20% more qualified leads.

Conclusion: By setting SMART goals or OKRS, businesses can create a clear and focused roadmap for success. These real-world examples demonstrate the power of specificity, measurability, achievability, relevance, and time constraints in guiding businesses towards growth and improved performance. By incorporating SMART goals or OKRS into your business strategy, you can significantly increase the likelihood of achieving your objectives and driving meaningful results.

Prioritizing Marketing Objectives

Prioritizing marketing objectives is essential to ensure your marketing strategy is aligned with your business goals and resources are allocated effectively. Here are some ways to prioritize marketing objectives:

  1. Align with business goals: Ensure that your marketing objectives are in line with the overall business goals and mission. Prioritize objectives that have the most significant impact on achieving these goals.

  2. Assess potential impact: Evaluate each marketing objective based on the potential impact it will have on your target audience, brand visibility, customer acquisition, and revenue generation. Prioritize objectives that promise the highest returns or have the most significant potential to drive growth.

  3. Use a scoring system: Assign scores to each marketing objective based on criteria such as importance, urgency, feasibility, and resource requirements. This will help you rank the objectives and prioritize them accordingly.

  4. Consider resource constraints: Take into account the resources required for each marketing objective, such as time, budget, and personnel. Prioritize objectives that can be accomplished with the available resources or require minimal additional investment.

  5. Analyze competitor strategies: Examine what your competitors are doing and identify areas where you can differentiate yourself or capitalize on unmet needs in the market. Prioritize objectives that address these gaps and give you a competitive edge.

  6. Break down objectives into smaller tasks: Breaking down marketing objectives into smaller, more manageable tasks can help you better understand the time, effort, and resources required for each. This can aid in prioritization based on the resources available and the potential impact of each task.

  7. Regularly review and adjust priorities: Continuously monitor the progress

Resource Allocation

  1. Develop a budget: Based on the prioritized marketing objectives, create a budget that outlines the financial resources allocated to each objective. Consider the expected return on investment (ROI) for each objective and allocate funds accordingly.

  2. Assign personnel: Determine the skill sets and expertise required to execute each marketing objective. Assign team members with the appropriate skills and experience to each task. If necessary, consider hiring new talent or outsourcing specific tasks to external agencies. Do not skimp on the ops function it is the single most overlooked area of marketing and it can determine whether you can run at the pace you want vs the pace you have to

  3. Allocate time: Estimate the time required to complete each marketing objective and allocate the necessary time in your marketing calendar. Ensure that deadlines are realistic and achievable, taking into account other ongoing projects and commitments.

  4. Invest in tools and technology: Identify the tools, software, and technology needed to accomplish each marketing objective. Allocate budget and resources for acquiring, implementing, and maintaining these tools to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

  5. Prioritize tasks within objectives: Break down each marketing objective into smaller tasks and prioritize them based on importance, urgency, and resource requirements. Allocate resources to tasks that contribute the most to achieving the objective.

  6. Monitor progress and adjust allocations: Continuously track progress towards each marketing objective and measure the effectiveness of resource allocation. Make adjustments as needed, reallocating resources to objectives that may be underperforming or require additional support.

  7. Foster collaboration and communication: Encourage collaboration and open communication among team members working on various

This is just a small example of the work needed to build a strong plan. I'll dive deeper into subjects in the future around: Content marketing and how to build it around pain points, SEO and how to get the most leverage out of it, email marketing, and so much more. If you want to

and you'll get notified when I drop new framework and strategy topics like this.

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