How ridiculous would it be if the pilot of your next flight didn’t know where his or her destination was? Imagine boarding the plane and just…flying. It’s a terrifying thought (especially for those of us who prefer terra firma). Planning marketing activities (especially campaigns) without knowing what your objectives or end goals are should be just as terrifying. How will you know if you have succeeded if you’ve never defined “success”?

The truth is, most marketers dive into planning campaign activities without first setting strategic goals. This is allowed in traditional marketing because, really, no one is looking. No one is holding marketing accountable for achieving any goals. However, in Revenue Marketing™, we marketers are on the hook to prove that our activities ultimately helped to close deals and make money for the company. Still, I see many Revenue-Marketers-in-training diving into designing campaigns without setting their objectives first.

Three questions to ask yourself BEFORE you start planning a campaign:

1. What is the ultimate goal of my marketing efforts this month/quarter/year?

You should know where you’re at with your promised revenue contribution – and how you agreed with Sales to achieve your goal. Are you targeting a particular market vertical? Product? Region? Keep this in mind as you decide to whom to campaign and what campaign messaging should be about.

2. What is the specific goal of this XYZ campaign?

Not all campaigns have an immediate goal of spiking pipeline for sales – sometimes it’s a step leading towards that. Is your campaign goal to flush out MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) to hand to sales? Or is it to move leads from one stage of their buying cycle to another? Or is it to drive upcoming service renewals? Whatever it is, set numerical goals for “how many”.

3. How will I know if I have achieved those specific goals?

What actions will signal that the prospect has become _______? Is it hitting a certain score? Responding to a certain call-to-action? Downloading a certain collateral? Filling out a certain form? Figure out what success looks like and shape your campaign around those “triggers”.

With your goals clear and your objectives set, your chances of arriving at your destination (results!) are much greater.