In January, Happy Medium held its annual company retreat. It’s important to take time every year and reconnect with one another, get to know our newer coworkers and remind ourselves that despite the different work we do, we’re still one team.
But our retreat is about more than food and friends. Like many teams, it’s a chance for us to set goals for the upcoming year.
The ability to measure success is essential for our work. It’s not enough to say that a website launches on time and within budget. Rather, we think about our larger objectives and the key results that indicate that we have achieved that goal. This is a common framework known as OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). Popular among tech companies, OKRs are mainly a way for HM leaders to outline a goal and allow the team to find the best solution for achieving it.
We won’t recreate a big post on OKR setting, as there are many excellent articles available on the topic. However, in short, your objectives should be a qualitative expression of what you want to achieve. Your key results should then be quantitative markers that indicate progress toward that objective.
For example, let’s say you run a pickle company. An objective might be to improve the spicy dills recipe. This is a qualitative goal because “improve” is not an exact target, but rather an achievement to work toward. Key results for this objective could be
Create 15 test batches using different hot peppers
Conduct 10 tastings with consumers
Reduce cost to produce a jar by five percent
These are all qualitative, measurable results that will eventually lead to an “improved recipe.”
Your Marketing Goals
One of our recurring company objectives is, unsurprisingly, to have successful client outcomes. Our key results for that objective may change but ensuring our clients succeed in their business as a result of our work is an obvious objective for an agency.
One way we do this is by going through an OKR-type exercise with our clients. Again, it’s not enough to say that a project will finish on time and within budget — that’s a basic expectation, not a goal.
Maintaining User Focus
When setting marketing goals, most clients can easily name off a list of objectives for their business, like generate leads, support sales, convert visitors, etc. However, it’s often more difficult to list objectives for their users. Happy Medium has always been a user-focused company. That means that we care what our clients think but more importantly, we care what their users think. Having a beautiful website or a clever media campaign is good, but if it doesn’t meet the needs of the audience, it has failed.
When creating OKRs for your marketing project, try to include at least one user-focused objective. For our pickle company, it might be to improve customer satisfaction with core line of pickles or perhaps help customers discover new products.
We look forward to working on your OKRs then next time we work with you. In the meantime, try gathering your team or even a few coworkers and create a set of OKRs.
Ready to define your 2019 objectives? Let’s do this.