In Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Daysthe late founder of guerrilla marketing, Jay Conrad Levinson, and guerrilla marketing expert, Al Lautenslager offer a dynamic marketing blueprint to help business owners attract more customers and maximize profits. In this edited excerpt, the authors explain how you can set realistic marketing goals that will help you achieve business success.

If you don't know where you're going, how do you know when you get there? This same question can be asked about guerrilla marketing and, more specifically, your marketing. How do you know how effective your marketing is if you don't know what you want it to accomplish?

What are your marketing goals? Your marketing goals are nothing more than a statement of what results you want to achieve with your marketing. What's the primary reason you are marketing?

Marketing goals should fit into and support your overall business goals. Just like any other goal, marketing goals should be measurable. Goals must be specific and realistic as well.

Your goals are the building blocks of your marketing plan, the starting point of the plan. The first component of the guerrilla marketing attack is envisioning the goals--having a crystal clear vision of what will be accomplished during the current year and each subsequent year, with great attention to detail. As an example, Disney's goal is to make people happy. This is the mission guiding all of its business and marketing activity. It's a clear vision, and it's measured along the way. When there's a question about the relevance of a particular activity, it's always reconciled to that crystal clear, overall goal of making people happy.

In creating your marketing plan, you force yourself to focus on the specific goals you want your marketing to achieve for you and on the outcome. The marketing plan also states actions to achieve those goals.

A marketing goal can be a big number, such as a certain year-end revenue figure. It might be a smaller number over a shorter period of time, such as four new clients per month. Goals, although specific and measurable, can be a simple statement of a company's culture or attitude: to be number one in customer satisfaction in a particular industry.

Marketing goals can also be quantitative translations that fit with your company's financial objectives, stated in marketing terms such as to increase:

  • Sales dollars
  • Units sold
  • Market share
  • Mix of products or services
  • ROI on advertising expenditures
  • Awareness
  • Public relations placements
  • Number of new accounts/relationships
  • Share of customer's business
  • Sales conversion rates

You might read this list and think that all these goals apply to your marketing and your business and that they'll all become your goals and part of your plan. Although this attitude is valiant, it may not be realistic. Even though the assortment is broad, true guerrilla marketers don't burden themselves with too many goals.

The right number of goals is the one that offers you a reasonably (with some stretch) high probability of success over a given period of time. "Reasonably," "period of time" and "success" all have to be defined by you and be consistent with your overall business goals and management commitment.

Not only must the number of goals be realistic but so must the actual goals. Setting realistic marketing goals contributes to your marketing success. Making goals too easy isn't realistic. Easy goals require no stretch. Stretching yourself will produce the best results. But setting goals that are unreasonably high will cause you to become frustrated, discouraged and defeated.

Here's a quick checklist of questions to give your goals a reality check:

  • Can I really and truly do this?
  • Have I come close before with similar efforts?
  • Do the numbers, time frame, and dollars seem somewhat practical?
  • Has my competition or have other companies done similar things?
  • Am I avoiding the attitude/mindset that says, "There is no way possible this can be accomplished"?

If you answered yes to the questions above, then your goals are realistic.

The biggest reality test is whether your goals are credible. Do you believe in your goals? Believability is what motivates you toward accomplishment. We're not talking about whether others believe your goals are possible but whether you do. You're the one who must believe because it's you who must be motivated to complete them.

Your marketing goals should be recorded. This allows for tracking, evaluating, measuring and managing. There's nothing better than scratching an item off a to-do list. The completion of simpler goals is the foundation of loftier, more challenging goals.  Inherently, your goal list will have a mix of the two goals.

Prioritizing Goals

When people think of prioritization, they usually think of "What's most important?" or "What will give me the greatest return in the shortest amount of time?" While this is a good approach, you'll invariably run into situations where two goals are of equal importance. So how do you prioritize these goals?

Prioritization relates to focus. Which goal will you work on next? Which goal will get resources allocated to it? Just because you do one before the other doesn't always mean it's more important. Focus on completion as well as importance.

This doesn't imply that you should work on goals one at a time. In today's fast-paced environment, multitasking is the name of the game. Managing multiple goals and activities simultaneously can be done, directing focus and resources as situations change and progress.