Objectives into action
Management by Objectives (MBO) is a system that seeks to align employees’ goals with the goals of the organisation. This ensures that everyone is clear about what he or she should be doing, and how that is beneficial to the whole organisation.
Peter Drucker outlined the five-step process for MBO shown below. Each stage has particular challenges that need to be addressed for the whole system to work effectively.
- Set or Review Organisational Objectives
MBO starts with clearly-defined strategic organisational objectives.
- Cascade Objectives Down to Employees
To support the Mission, the organisation needs to set clear goals and objectives, which then need to cascade down from one organisational level to the next until they reach everyone.
- Encourage Participation in Goal Setting
Individuals within an organisation need to understand how their goals fit within the overall organisational objectives. This is best done when goals and objectives for marketing at each level are shared and discussed, so that everyone understands “why” the marketing approach has been taken, and then sets their own goals to align with these.
This increases people’s ownership of their objectives in alignment with the marketing objective. Rather than blindly following orders, managers, supervisors, and employees in an MBO system know what needs to be done and thus don’t need to be ordered around. By pushing decision-making and responsibility down through the organisation, you motivate people to solve the problems they face intelligently and give them the information they need to adapt flexibly to changing circumstances.
Through a participative process, every person in the organisation will set his or her own goals, which support the overall objectives of the team, which support the objectives of the department, which support the objectives of the business unit, and which support the objectives of the organisation.
- Monitor Progress
Set up a specific plan for monitoring goal performance. Here is where you take control of performance and demand accountability. Having good intentions and goals isn’t enough; you need a clear path marked by accountability checkpoints. Each goal should have mini-goals and a method for keeping on top of each one.
- Evaluate and Reward Performance
MBO is designed to improve performance at all levels of the organisation. To ensure this happens, you need to put a comprehensive evaluation system in place. All that is left to do is to tie goal achievement to reward, and perhaps compensation, and provide the appropriate feedback.
Considerations in Marketing Plan Launch
It is also important to investigate what other considerations may exist in ensuring a successful marketing plan launch.
Reviewing the launch plan through the perspective of the marketing mix can help to create understanding and define each of the four elements of the marketing mix to guide how delivery on the stated objectives will occur:
- What does the customer want from the product/service? What needs does it satisfy?
- What features does it have to meet these needs?
- Are there any features you’ve missed out?
- Are you including costly features that the customer won’t actually use?
- How and where will the customer use it?
- How is it branded?
- How is it differentiated versus your competitors?
- What is the most it can cost to provide, and still be sold sufficiently profitably? (See also Price, below).
- Where do buyers look for your product or service?
- If they look in a store, what kind? A specialist boutique or in a supermarket, or both? Or online? Or direct, via a catalogue?
- How can you access the right distribution channels?
- What do your competitors do, and how can you learn from that and/or differentiate?
- What is the value of the product or service to the buyer?
- Are there established price points for products or services in this area?
- Is the customer price-sensitive? Will a small decrease in price gain you extra market share? Or will a small increase be indiscernible, and so gain you extra profit margin?
- What discounts should be offered (if any) to specific segments of your market?
- How will your price compare with your competitors?
- Where and when can you get across your marketing messages to your target market?
- Will you reach your audience by advertising in the press, or on TV, or radio, or on billboards? By using direct marketing? Through PR? On the Internet?
- When is the best time to promote? Is there seasonality in the market? Are there any wider environmental issues that suggest or dictate the timing of your market launch, or the timing of subsequent promotions?
- How do your competitors do their promotions? And how does that influence your choice of promotional activity?
- What role does social media play in promotion?
Communicate Strategic Marketing Plan
Given this need for a co-ordinated effort, good communication is key to achieving desired outcomes. Great communication begins with great planning.
Begin in the shoes of the audience. What do they need to know, and want to hear? What’s their preferred way of receiving information? What will stop them listening? And how will you know that they have got the message?
Effective corporate communication is much like effective marketing.
The business has a message (product) that needs to be sold to the audience (customers). If they are going to “buy it”, it must be packaged so they can both hear it and understand it.
- Value and benefits must outweigh any downsides (the “price”)
- The message must reach the audience through the right communication channels
- It must then be possible to measure the effectiveness and how well the message is “bought”
Understand the Objectives
Step 1: Be clear about your overall communication objectives. What do you want to achieve, when and why? Record your overall objectives in your plan.
Understand the Audiences
Step 2: Now identify and list your different audiences. This can initially seem quite difficult. For all but the simplest communications plan, it’s good to use Stakeholder Analysis to help you do this. Stakeholder analysis can help identify who to communicate with and why.
Step 3: Drill down into the communication objectives and clarify specific objectives for each audience. A good way to do this is to think about the audience’s needs, clarifying what they need to do and what they want to know. List all the objectives for each audience in the communication plan.
Plan Communications Messages and Channels
Once objectives have been clarified and a full understanding of the different audiences that require communicate has been prepared, it’s time to plan the messages needed to meet objectives and when and how these will be delivered.
Step 4: Before starting on the detail of your plan, consider all possible communications channels that could be used to communicate the marketing concepts and plans internally. Think broadly and consider:
- Email and newsletters
- Notice boards and posters
- CEO briefing
- Intranet article or podcast
- Launch events and team meetings
Step 5: To plan out the message for each audience, prioritise the broadest audience groups first asking the following questions:
- What does the audience need and want to know?
- When do we need to communicate?
- What is the regular or preferred channel for reaching this audience?
- For this specific audience and message, what is the most effective way to get your message across?
Several messages over time may be required to reinforce and meet the objectives of each audience.
Step 6: It’s good to get feedback on the communications you have planned and implemented. Ask people from different audiences how you are doing. Check they understand the messages you need them to hear. By getting timely feedback, you can tune any future communications that you have planned to better meet the team’s needs or fill any gaps so far.
Develop a marketing and communications plan
A marketing and communications plan is a tool that outlines the scheduled marketing events, media campaigns and merchandising efforts. It outlines when and where, and defines the anticipated results.
Most marketing and communications plans break down the weeks of a year and address the marketing activities that will take place in each week. A calendar will be best used if it is specific, spelling out individual promotions or events. This also allows businesses to quantify the spend per-month and align to the required return from the activity in sales growth. Summarising information in this way makes it easy to see at a glance which events and strategies are scheduled and post-implementation allows the capture of information on the productivity of the activity and impact on target market. This aids in planning marketing in the future and building a consistency in planning.
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