Con­grat­u­la­tions! Using the S.M.A.R.T. out­line, you’ve now scoped out some goals that are spe­cific, mea­sur­able, attain­able, rel­e­vant, and timely. These form the basis of the action plan behind your mar­ket­ing cam­paign strat­egy. How care­fully you defined these goals will dic­tate how effec­tively you mea­sure your suc­cess and, ulti­mately, whether you see a pos­i­tive return on investment.

If being S.M.A.R.T. is good, it’s even bet­ter to be S.M.A.R.T.E.R. So let’s move to the last two steps of our process.

To eval­u­ate and reeval­u­ate whether you’re meet­ing, exceed­ing, or fail­ing to reach the goals you’ve defined, you’ll need a way to mea­sure the per­for­mance of your cam­paign. The best way to do this is to iden­tify, track, and record a set of key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors (KPIs) on a reg­u­lar basis.

For exam­ple, you might decide to track the num­ber of unique vis­i­tors to your web­site, the num­ber of vis­i­tors from a par­tic­u­lar cam­paign, the cost per click (CPC), and the num­ber of sales or con­ver­sions you’ve made. These actions are mea­sure­able, and you prob­a­bly decided on them when you did the mea­sure step. If you’ve done that work thor­oughly, then the results of your mea­sur­ing will allow you eval­u­ate and reeval­u­ate with the best pos­si­ble outcome.

Eval­u­a­tion means assess­ing your progress in attain­ing your goal. It also means eval­u­at­ing the goals them­selves after com­ple­tion. Here, you can use the S.M.A.R.T. model again. Were the goals spe­cific enough? Did you mea­sure the right things? Were the goals attain­able and rel­e­vant? Did you set a rea­son­able time­frame? What might need to be changed in the future?

It’s impor­tant not only to look at your KPIs but to record them reg­u­larly so they can be reviewed and com­pared with pre­vi­ous weeks, months, or years. This enables you to track the suc­cess of your cam­paign and gives you insight into which met­rics affect oth­ers. For exam­ple, the num­ber of vis­i­tors may have a pos­i­tive effect on the num­ber of sales. Con­versely, the num­ber of vis­i­tors from a cer­tain cam­paign may have no effect at all on sales.

A case like this will show when a cam­paign isn’t work­ing. This is really valu­able infor­ma­tion. With solid data you can then decide whether to stop or change the cam­paign before spend­ing any more money on it.

Peo­ple are some­times afraid to alter a strat­egy once it’s been imple­mented. This is a nat­ural response, but change is con­stant and new infor­ma­tion is always com­ing to light. So expect the unex­pected and look for any­thing action­able. For instance, you might find that a key­word you pre­vi­ously missed is attract­ing a lot of searches but you aren’t focus­ing on it in the search engines. The best goals and strate­gies will be flex­i­ble enough to accom­mo­date new infor­ma­tion and the needed alterations.

Attain­ing a pos­i­tive ROI relies on cre­at­ing a well-thought-out cam­paign and then eval­u­at­ing and reeval­u­at­ing your data reg­u­larly. It also requires that you take the appro­pri­ate action (that is, change the cam­paign strat­egy) based on that data.

The S.M.A.R.T.E.R. model is one of the best tools a data mechanic can have in her bag of tricks to help accom­plish these results. It pre­vents many prob­lems from hap­pen­ing and allows for cor­rect­ing small ones as they develop.

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