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Topic: Strategy

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Posted by Anonymous on 125 Points
Can you please define the differences between goals, objectives, and strategy? Some real world examples would help clarify as well, as would any recommended readings. Below is a definition I found on the internet, and it did not help me too much.

Thanks much.


What is a Goal?
Goals should be directed toward a vision and consistent with the mission.
Something the organization wants and expects to accomplish in the future.

What is an Objective?
An object is: a specific measurable result expected within a particular time period, consistent with a goal and strategy. A clear "milepost" along the strategically chosen path to the goal.

What is a Strategy?
The action path the organization has chosen to realize goals. Strategies establish broad themes for future actions and should reflect reasoned choices among alternative paths

  • Posted on Member
    It would help to have some context for a answer, but not impossible. These terms all relate to an organization's overall purpose and plan for existing. Without an objective...usually more than would be difficult to create the strategy(s) or goal(s). If this is a student question, you will need to place it in the appropriate forum. If not, maybe you have a particular reason for asking this question.

    Good luck, Debi Brady
  • Posted on Author
    Let me expand on my question. In developing a marketing plan for an organization, should I try to use the goal and objective approach, or should I set a goal (or an objective) for each marketing activity, then establsih strategies and tactics to reach that goal?

    From the definitions I have come across, there is not a clear difference between objective and strategy, at least one that I can see,

    Thank you!
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted

    The objective is what you want to accomplish: e.g., grow market share by 3 percentage points within 18 months.

    Your strategy tells how you plan to accomplish that objective: e.g., double sales commissions and advertise on television.

    You may want to set specific sub-objectives for each element of the marketing mix, once you have determined the overall strategic approach. Examples: maintain market price 10% below the market leader; reach prime target audience with 800 gross rating points on cable television every 4 weeks; create special packaging that effectively communicates product news; etc. Those are the sub-objectives that will deliver the strategy.

    Don't get hung up on the semantics. Figure out what you want to do (your objective). Then figure out how you are going to do it (your strategy). Then set sub-objectives and strategies for each element of the marketing mix. Those will tell you how you're planning to accomplish the overall objective, and how you'll know if you're on track along the way.
  • Posted on Accepted
    My colleagues are absolutely correct about the definitions of goals, objectives, and strategies, and I have found that, because people use different words to mean the same thing (e.g., goals and objectives are often used interchangeably, and should be separate), it is good to define them. Here are the definitions (and while you can find others, the “goal” for you is to determine what you want to use and STICK WITH IT.

    Each of the following definitions includes two examples – (A) a personal trip, and (B) a business objective – a real-life explanations.

    (1) First a GOAL is broad in purpose. At the corporate level, it is most often affiliated with the mission statement. It is the primary goal(s) to which the org is committed. A GOAL can occur at the “business” level as well – that is, as a GOAL of Marketing that is in line with corporate goals and strategies. It needs further definition to make it real (objectives and strategies). Here are two examples of OBJECTIVES:
    (A) Arrive in Seattle to meet colleague
    (B) Increase Internet revenue

    (2) Next, an OBJECTIVE should be S.M.A.R.T. – that is, the GOAL has been further analyzed and made Specific, Measurable, Actionable (or attainable), realistic (do-able), and Timely (set a date). Examples:
    (A) on 6/11 by 5 p.m.
    (B) 15% of total revenue in 18 months

    (3) Next, a STRATEGY is the approach to achieve the GOAL and make it a reality – what will happen.
    (A) Leave early; avoid rush-hour traffic
    (B) Improve online ordering system

    A STRATEGY can be broad – for example, my company helped a client who wanted to increase leads (GOAL) and do so by 15% in 12 months (OBJECTIVE). We implemented a STRATEGY that consisted of a core trade show program (the market segment attended shows and needed personal contact early on in the buying process to move forward) as well as a ranking and contact program effected through their upgraded CRM system.

    (4) FINALLY, TACTICS are the definitive actions to take – the work that will take place based upon the previously defined objectives, goals, strategies:
    (A) Gas up (20 gallons); leave by 10:30 a.m.; pack the night before to save time
    (B) Create personalized response system (steps and milestones); promote the system (Web, collateral, letters, PR, etc.).

    In truth, these definitions change from article to article! But my research and application have found these definitions to be practical and relevant.

    NOW, you asked if you should set a GOAL (and OBJECTIVES) for each marketing activity, then establish strategies and tactics to reach that GOAL.

    First, you should have an overall MARKETING GOAL that is in line with the corporate goal. For example, if the corporate goal is to increase market, you need to make SURE the marketing goals support the achievement of this corporate goal!

    So in this example, your GOAL needs to be to increase market share and you need to set an OBJECTIVE – increase market share by 40% over the next two years. Next you build a strategy that encompasses the marketing activities that will support this objective – it can be several promotional tactics – or one marketing program which is supported by multiple individual promotions. Finally, the TACTICS are built into the action plan – that is, you will need to carefully plan and integrate all actions that support the PROGRAM, which in turn supports the OBJECTIVE and the primary GOAL.

    I trust this helps. Good luck!
  • Posted by adammjw on Accepted

    Everything that has been said so far makes perfect sense.
    I would complement it with the following example:

    Goal- retain existiong customerbase
    Strategy-implement new loyalty program
    Metrics-retention rate in %
    Target- 85% retention rate

    I additionally put in metrics as you have to be able to measure the progress and results

  • Posted by ReadCopy on Member
    mgoodman is right, forget the semantics, write the plan to a basic template, you know what needs to be done, you can work out how to get there and your done :-)

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