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Performance Marketing Checklist #3: Defining Performance Marketing Goals.

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Often, top management will decide that the company’s products can be sold by direct response / performance marketing methods and will then lay the responsibility for such sales on an existing department. To ensure success, there should be agreement from the beginning about what is important, even before discussing profits, expenses, and other quantitative details.

In some companies, performance marketing is the only source of sales and income, while in others, performance marketing may be used as an adjunct for some other purpose – to help meet corporate goals, for example. The purpose may be, among others:

  • To support a dealer or sales network.
  • To reach markets not served by existing sales outlets.
  • To generate inquiries for the sales force.
  • To reach a niche market.
  • To test new products.
  • To increase awareness of the company among qualified prospects.

Goal Setting

Part 1: Performance Marketing Goals Worksheet will help you determine goals and decide their importance. Take your time to fill in this part of the checklist. It is not a job to be hurried; all your future decisions will depend on what you discover here. Consider this worksheet as a jumping-off point for a company strategic marketing planning meeting.

Copy it onto a flip chart and fill it with input from all concerned. As the discussion progresses and agreement emerges, you should arrive at corporate goals that will serve as the starting point for all future plans.

Remember, you are seeking consensus about your goals and approval from management. This can be critical, because if you are convinced that your goal is, say, a certain percentage response rate on your landing pages, mailings or ads, but management is less concerned about response rate and is more interested in gaining awareness of the product, you could win the battle and lose the war.

That is, you could accomplish your goals but not management’s. This disparity of goals can be avoided by having agreement up front about your performance marketing goals and priorities.

Once you have completed Part 1, you will have determined the relative importance to you and your company of each goal. The next step is to rank each of your goals in order of priority.

A = Most important

B = Very important

C = Moderately important

D = Slightly important

E = Not important

1Increase profits
2Increase sales
3Build a customer database for internal use
4Build a customer database for rental
5Segment target market
6Support field sales force
7Price testing
8Support wholesalers
9Support dealers
10Market testing
11New product development
12New product testing
13Develop international markets
14Market research
15Increase internal resource efficiencies

Part 2: Setting and Prioritizing Goals Worksheet will help you do three things:

  • Rank goals in order of importance.
  • Clearly define each goal.
  • Set dates by which each goal should be accomplished.

The following paragraphs provide guidelines for completing Part 2.

The first goal should be the most important thing you want to accomplish. It should be clearly defined and understood by everyone involved.

It might be too early to quantify your primary goal – how can you put down a sales number if you haven’t even determined the size of your market?

However, you should strive to come up with an unambiguous statement that everyone understands. Sample statements might be as follows:

  • To generate performance marketing profits, as a percentage of sales, equal to the average company profit or better.
  • To add incremental income that exceeds performance marketing expenses and overhead, thereby adding to corporate profitability.
  • To create profitable niche market areas beyond the customers now served, thereby expanding our business.

Put as simply as possible, the primary goal should address the big problems faced by your company – the kind of things that keep you or the boss awake at night.

The second goal should be important, but not up to the measure of the first. Establishing the single most important goal as number one is important, but in the number two spot you might list two or more goals that have equal validity.

No problem! Put them all down. Sample statements of secondary goals might be as follows:

  • To help our field force increase sales through the support of performance marketing campaigns.
  • To test market new products more economically than using our present methods.
  • To increase the productivity of existing resources by creating and running a performance marketing operation without adding to staff.

These are not the great concerns addressed in the first goal. They are the kinds of problems and challenges that appeal to middle management, who are generally concerned about the effective utilization of existing resources to generate incremental business.

Every conscientious manager wants to see the company make more money and avoid waste. This is what ultimately makes a job rewarding.

The third goal should be the kind of result that would be nice to achieve as a by-product of reaching the first two goals.

It is not a goal that is worth the same degree of attention, expense, and risk as number one, but it would benefit the company if it were achieved. Again, you will probably find more than one goal here.

Sample statements might be as follows:

  • To build into our response (sales) mechanisms more demographic information about our customers so that we can segment our customers database more efficiently and increase sales.
  • To build a customer database that we can rent or monetize with affiliate offers for additional income.
  • To maintain a presence in the marketplace so we don’t lose out to our competitors.

The Importance of Continual Goal Setting

Do not skimp on the goal-setting phase of planning. Even if your company has run a performance marketing operation for years, reviewing goals and gaining organizational consensus for them is good strategy for two reasons:

  1. After some years, a company may evolve conflicting goals that will be made more apparent after reviewing them. For example, a company may want its performance marketing manager to bring in sales at a certain level of profit. At the same time, management may insist that certain promotional efforts be made as part of a publicity effort or for market research. You can’t have it both ways and still make a profit.
  2. You will simplify your job and eliminate rationalizing your activities to your boss or higher management if the goals are clear and accepted by everyone. Everything you do or decide not to do can be measured against the agreed-on yardstick.

This goal orientation does not require blind adherence to the past. Goals should be flexible and constantly re-examined in the light of current experience. Moreover, your goal should have checkpoints along the way so that course corrections can be made if needed.

For example: “By June 1, a new order form will be created that will give us more demographic information about our customers.”

By using dates to verify activity or increased sales as checkpoints, broadly stated goals can be made measurable. Goals that are vaguely stated cannot be measured objectively.

RankGoalDue Date

Part 3: Quantifying Marketing Objectives Worksheet provides a format for you to translate such vague or general goals into specific objectives linked to percentage or dollar values and a commitment to a specific date for achievement.

Each objective of this type should have the approval of management and the full understanding and commitment of the entire organization.

For example, the goal “to build a customers database that we can rent or monetize with affiliate offers for additional income” would translate into an objective in Part 3 as follows:

To create a customers database of 15,000 buyers during the next 12 months, to generate $10,000 in additional income by June 1.

Marketing GoalPercentage or Dollar ObjectiveDue DateApproval Obtained

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The expert's thoughts on direct response - growth hacking - performance-based marketing activities - DIRECT MARKETING

About Me, Rafal Lipnicki.

the direct / performance marketing consultant with a strange sounding name


Not your usual "guru" but a real-world performance marketing & innovation consultant based in Europe and an experienced senior executive at leading multinational companies.

What and Where.

I am a consultant for hire, working remotely and on-site all over the world (but Europe is always preferred). See my consulting services page for details.


Contrarian advice most of the time. Document-based audits, workshops, one-off projects, mentoring programs, and more.