Let’s take a look at a retail web­site, the sole pur­pose of which is to drive rev­enue. As the mar­keter for said web­site, some­times your stake­hold­ers will come to you with this vague request: “The traf­fic to our web­site is down, fix it.” The assump­tion that has been made is that the increase in traf­fic will drive an increase in rev­enue. We are already caught in a dilemma that is buried in a haze of assump­tions. This is an exam­ple of a poorly thought out goal and the inabil­ity to cre­ate a met­ric for mea­sur­ing suc­cess. Do your stake­hold­ers really want more traf­fic, or is the real end goal to drive addi­tional rev­enue? You can help your team to focus on the areas of improve­ment for the web­site that will cre­ate addi­tional value to your bot­tom line.

In our exam­ple, the key is to edu­cate your stake­hold­ers and help them to under­stand why an increase in traf­fic isn’t the goal they want to pur­sue. This dis­cus­sion will be futile unless you come to the meet­ing with some solid data ana­lyt­ics that backup your point. The source of your data should came from your own his­tor­i­cal data from the exist­ing web­site. This will make the analy­sis all the more rel­e­vant and convincing.

That lit­tle bit of home­work will serve to cre­ate an oppor­tu­nity for a con­ver­sa­tion about set­ting smart goals rather than ones that are vague and illu­sive. As I dis­cussed in my last post, there are five key char­ac­ter­is­tics to estab­lish­ing S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals and action­able met­rics to pro­vide evi­dence that we are achiev­ing those goals.

  • Spe­cific Goal Aligned to Cor­po­rate Objec­tives: Set spe­cific goals instead of set­ting a vague and hazy goal of increase traf­fic; be very spe­cific. It’s okay if you miss your goal, so long as you learn from it and improve on your actions to reach future goals.
  • Mea­sure­able: By set­ting a spe­cific goal, you are giv­ing your­self some­thing to reach for and mea­sure against. Ensure that you have proper ana­lyt­ics track­ing in place to mea­sure the results of any tac­tics you employ to reach your goal.
  • Attain­able: Does the web­site his­tor­i­cal and pre­dic­tive data sup­port a rev­enue increase of this mag­ni­tude? Data analy­sis will pro­vide insight into the risk and potential.
  • Rel­e­vant: Ensure that the goal you have set is rel­e­vant to cor­po­rate objec­tives. In our exam­ple, increas­ing traf­fic will not nec­es­sar­ily increase the rev­enue for the web­site. Is an increase in traf­fic or an increase in rev­enue the most press­ing cor­po­rate goal to address? A review of cor­po­rate goals and objec­tives is in order before you charge off on the rev­enue increas­ing campaign.
  • Timely: Is there a time­line in place for your actions to achieve this goal? Does the cur­rent eco­nomic out­look and prod­uct demand make the rev­enue num­ber achiev­able in the time expected?
  • Eval­u­ate: How long do we let the cam­paign run before we ana­lyze the data? Each com­pany has dif­fer­ent time­lines to col­lect sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant data. Ensure that you are not pro­vid­ing analy­sis based on an insignif­i­cant data set.
  • Reeval­u­ate: How fre­quently do we rean­a­lyze the data for trends, and what are the set points and options for when to ter­mi­nate the cam­paign or choose a dif­fer­ent strategy?

The guid­ing ques­tion here is, “If a web­site is cre­ated to gen­er­ate rev­enue, is the goal and path to suc­cess always to max­i­mize traf­fic to that web­site?” That answer is elu­sive and unfo­cused. Focus­ing entirely on dri­ving traf­fic to the web­site dis­tracts you from the pri­mary goal of increas­ing revenue.

The abil­ity to attain goals is another key con­cept in being smart about what you do. In my next post, we will dis­cuss the idea of estab­lish­ing attain­abil­ity from the smart goals we’ve just set. The answer lies in an effec­tive and con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tored process that is both agile and adapt­able because what you thought was true today, will change tomor­row. I guar­an­tee it. That data you col­lect and the insights from that data will guide you down the right path so long as you have con­fi­dence in what you mea­sure and have dis­ci­pline in fol­low­ing those insights to success.