I have long held that most marketing goals
are pretty much figments of someone’s imagination. Let’s review a typical list
of marketing goals found in most marketers’ plans:

  1. Increase sales revenues
  2. Improve customer service
  3. Introduce breakthrough new services
  4. Establish new dealer/distributor network
  5. Create a more effective sales marketing program

Pardon me, but most ceo’s turn their
attention to introducing these top five “goals” at the beginning of each year
saying “If all of you will just do these simple things we will all benefit”
from their impacts. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Problem is it rarely works.

It’s a lot like a set of New Year
resolutions that start with excitement and fizzle out after a few months, if
they last that long. Back in Chicago where I am originally from, there was a
fitness center that I frequented. Every year a large number of new members
would sign up in January. The center learned to charge the full year upfront
for first-time clients arguing the high cost of setup, orientation, diagnostics
and related coaching associated with the first year. The real reason was they knew
that after one to three months the majority would be gone and after six months only
10% would remain for the balance of the year. Year after year this pattern
repeated so they grew at around one to three percent a year when adjusted
against other customers who moved away, among other factors.

Marketing goals work in pretty much the
same way because companies don’t take the time to really figure out what their
key customers really need from them and
how to continuously meet these needs. Instead, they start a year with a general
set of goals with a general set of brand messages and of course, nothing changes.

On the other hand, a To Do List at least
focuses on specifics that have been thought through with items like: Send this
email to this prospect, follow-up in one week with a printed piece, call the
prospect and offer them a free demo, etc. Action points tend to lead to further
actions that tend to lead to customized services that are far better than
general platitudes.

So at the
end of the day, I would much prefer to work with a company that has a well
thought through set of To Do’s than a general set of goals.