Goals are crucial to success in business and in your personal life. Yet they are sometimes neglected in both realms, as people often don’t follow goal-setting frameworks that provide continuity for business cycles and personal resolutions.
Over the past few years, I created the VOSTEK model, an acronym for vision, objectives, strategy, tactics, execution and key performance indicators. This is a model I have successfully used for setting goals in my personal life, as well as with Fortune 100 and nonprofit clients. I’ll break down each of the steps and explain how you can apply the VOSTEK model to goal generation in your marketing efforts.
At the top of my office whiteboard are the words, “It all starts with a vision.” It helps me remember that no matter what I do as a marketing professional, I need to keep the big picture in mind. Start with envisioning what it is that you want to accomplish. The vision is big and bold: it’s your blue sky, perfect-world idea. I like to think of this as what you want your company or project to be when it grows up. Write it down in as much detail as possible and ask yourself sensory questions about how things look, feel, taste and sound. Ask yourself situational and relational questions. This begins to frame your goal into something tangible.
Objectives are what you want to accomplish. They are the supporting pieces that help you accomplish your vision. The key is having them directly relate to and support your vision. When defining the objective or objectives, be more specific than the vision, and begin to more clearly define the results. An effective objective would be equivalent to a SMART goal because it includes specific levels of accountability. If your vision contains language about being the market leader in your vertical, then an objective could be, “Our company will increase net revenue by 7% by the end of the calendar year.” This objective is specific, measurable, attainable and realistic (depending on the company), and it has a deadline.
Strategy is how you are going to accomplish the objectives. In the example above, the general how is to increase net revenue by 7% by the end of the calendar year. In this case, a strategy might be to acquire new customers through a multichannel marketing effort. A strategy can be broad or narrow, as long as it feeds into the objectives.
Tactics are the tools that need to be in place to accomplish the strategy. What is specifically needed in order to ensure the strategy is fulfilled? If my strategy is to acquire customers through a multichannel marketing effort, then my tactics will include channel methods like social media, email, website and search engine marketing.
Execution involves the action within the tactics. Tactics mean nothing unless execution is in place. If you have a social media account but do not publish any actionable content, then you aren’t executing your tactics. In our example, execution means that you’ve created an editorial calendar for social media and scheduled posts, created and scheduled email campaigns, and set up AdWords campaigns through Google. This is where the rubber meets the road.
6. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Now that the plan is being executed, measurement needs to be established to determine the goal’s success or failure. KPIs help identify if you’ve hit your target. KPIs should actually be established when you create your objectives (remember, begin with the end in mind), but keeping it last in the VOSTEK model serves as a reminder to measure your progress. In the case of marketing planning, monthly or quarterly dashboards can be created for your company, allowing you to monitor KPIs and make adjustments as necessary to move the needle.
Steps cannot be skipped in this model, as each step depends on the next. I’ve seen many situations when businesses jump into tactics before considering strategy or jump to executing SEM campaigns without having clear goals on what they want to accomplish. Here is the takeaway that will help keep this model organized for your own goal-setting efforts:
What tips do you use when you develop your own goals and strategies? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
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