Many companies have essentially the same overarching goals: increase sales, decrease operating costs, and reduce churn. All of those goals result in growing a company's net revenue and profitability.

Seems pretty simple, but the way those business goals translate into objectives, specifically with marketing, is the secret sauce that ultimately determines whether an organization stands a reasonable chance of achieving success or whether it will blow another budget on a creative refresh that fails to better communicate or motivate the consumer to convert.

Turning Goals Into Objectives

A good starting point would be to provide Marketing with the sales goals. Without the integral intermediary step of translating that type of purpose into concise and actionable marketing objectives that align the product attributes, brand assets, and user needs, Marketing will most likely end up producing fantastical tactics and catchy messaging taglines, such as "Let's message the benefits of the product," or "We need a branded application for the iPhone!"

Meanwhile, the what, why, and who have vanished into the interdepartmental/agency abyss, leaving the business and the consumer at the mercy of Marketing's creative interpretation of best sellers.

Instead, at such a critical stage, marketing teams need to formulate actionable objectives and working strategies in cooperation with those who set the goals, make the product, and know the target audience.

According to Jan DeLyser, vice-president of marketing at California Avocado Commission, "It's imperative to have clarity of common purpose and freedom to work together." That means that individual departments and agency partners should work toward common business objectives in a collaborative fashion.

Though getting agency partners to cooperate (as opposed to compete) for working dollars is worthy of its own article, if not a book series, having a clearly actionable working objective that spans all agency partners is the key ingredient for collaboration and unity in purpose.

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Brett Johnson is senior strategist at Red Door Interactive, an Internet presence management firm that helps organizations profit from their Web initiatives. Reach Brett via