Are Your Objectives Smart?

Are Your Objectives Smart?

18th March 2015
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Last time I wrote about how important I believe it is to take risks and sacrifice to achieve success in the music industry (Here’s a link if you’ve yet to read it).

However, what I hadn’t mentioned is that you need a well formulated plan to achieve your goals. You can’t just shoot in the dark so to speak.

Therefore, never spend your money and time on something that you’re uneducated about! You will be destined to fail.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be introducing the basics of marketing. It’s simple stuff, I promise. Some of you may already know the basics, but will it hurt for you to revisit the subject one more time? You may pick up on something new in the process.

Anyway, to start us off I’m going to talk about marketing objectives.

You’ve Set Yourself Up For Failure Again!

You probably know what objectives are. Objectives are a simple way to measure your progress and are a vital part of any plan you create. They are a tool you use to define what you will deem successful, after performing a certain set of actions.

Objectives can tie in with your finances, customer relations and every operational aspect of your business you can think of.

You probably have some objectives in mind that you are trying to accomplish in your music career right now. However, do you know your objectives might be the reason you’ll fail and not succeed?

Here are a couple of common mistakes:

1. “I want people to know me.”

2. “I want more people to buy my music.”

3. “I want to make $50,000 selling $1 beats.”

How do you know you’ve completed an objective that’s so vague? How will you achieve something so ambitious? By having these sorts of objectives, there’s nothing you’re really aiming for. They don’t carry any sort of value. No deadline, no real numbers, nothing specific…

And like I said earlier, you need a well thought out plan to have any chance of success.

Are You Smart?

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed objectives. The framework will aid you when you develop your objectives and tell you what information they should include.

Your Objectives Need To Be Specific

What is the specific thing you’re trying to achieve?

Say you’re a music producer and you want “more people to know you”. Your specific objective could be to improve your brand awareness in your city to local artists.

Maybe you’re an artist wanting “more people to buy your music”. Therefore, you may want to increase sales of your last album.

It Must Be Measurable

How are you going to know if you’ve succeeded when you can’t measure it?

Keeping the examples consistent, if you want to increase your brand awareness in your city, how would you measure it?

You could approach a sample of artists at a few studios with a survey. After that, you could try and build your brand awareness by implementing marketing strategies. A period of time later, you could then approach artists at a few studios with the same survey. You’d then simply compare results and hope you see an increase in your brand awareness.

What about increasing sales of that album you put out a little while ago?

You probably have sold X amount of the album. All you need to do is increase your marketing efforts and then compare sales figures, hopefully seeing an increase in sales. Your distributor should be able to supply these figures.

It’s Achievable

Is it possible to achieve what you’re aiming to achieve?

If you want your survey to have a response of 100% of participants knowing your brand, is that really achievable? It’s near impossible for everyone to know your brand. There’s always going to be at least one person you ask who doesn’t.

It Also Needs To Be Realistic

Okay, this maybe a bit confusing for you.

Yes, it’s very similar to the achievable aspect to the S.M.A.R.T. framework. However, while achievable is based on the possibility of something happening, the realistic aspect ties in more with your resources and assets.

For example, you want 30% of your final survey participants to know your brand. While this is possible, if in the first survey only 10% know your brand, a 20% increase when you’re a very small producer (who’s located in a very big city) will be a lot harder than you first think.

Perhaps in that situation an objective of 20% will be more realistic depending on your resources and assets.

It Must Include The Element Of Time

Objectives must be time-based, otherwise how are you going to know if you have achieved it?

Your objective can’t last forever.

For example, if you want to increase the sales of your last album from 20 to 100. The time you set to achieve those sales is vital and can also tie in with some of the other aspects of S.M.A.R.T.

Wanting to increase your sales to 100 in a week may be out of your reach and over-ambitious, while wanting to complete the objective within 6 months may be a little too safe and relaxed.

You want your objectives to put some sense of urgency into you, as it helps motivate you to go that extra step, but you don’t want them to be so urgent, that you have no chance to complete them!

A Few Things To Consider

Like any established business framework, there have been many authors who have spoken about S.M.A.R.T. If you read a variety of sources on the subject, you might find a couple of differences to what I have discussed.

Added to that, you might find some academics that are against the S.M.A.R.T. framework, with good reason too.

In my experience, I’ve found that I have to amend my objectives every month or so because the world is living. If you’re not keeping up with it, you will be left behind. That’s not to say I don’t find the framework useful. The use of the tool has been vital to my achievements and success in business, and in life.

However, it’s important to give yourself room to adapt. I set myself the objective of completing this blog post last week. But due to unforeseen circumstances, I didn’t and I had to delay publishing it. No biggy!

Also, it’s important not to get too carried away and spend too much time on setting objectives. I’ve known a few people who have created huge lists of objectives for the smallest things.

If you do produce a long list, you could group them under certain titles. For example, you may have 5 objectives which are concerned with your digital social media efforts, and then another 10 which are for your offline networking efforts. Group them logically and life will be easier!

Finally

I hope you’ve enjoyed the post. I know it’s a bit of a long one this time around, but hopefully you’ve found it interesting and more importantly useful.

To recap, here’s a list of four things you’ve learnt in this post:

1. Planning is vital to accomplishing anything you wish to.

2. Objectives are the key to determining what success is to you.

3. Objectives should be S.M.A.R.T. for them to carry real helpful value.

4. Objectives should always be adaptable.

Now, why don’t you apply the S.M.A.R.T. framework?

Create one objective you want to accomplish, it doesn’t matter what it is! Leave a comment below and share it with the community and I. I’d love to see what you are hoping to accomplish.

Additionally, if you’ve yet to sign up to the Internal Affairs newsletter, why not do so now? Sign up below!

Thanks for reading,

Jordan

2 Comments

  1. Arthur D 19th March 2015 6:40 am

    Hmmmm? So exactly what would one ask these artists in this survey anyway? What do they hope to achieve, goals, demographics, what kind of beats do they want? I agreed with a lot of this but that survey notion stood out the most for me. That could really come in useful and coincide with an idea that I have. Asking the artist what they want.

    Reply
    • Jordan Brace
      Jordan Brace 19th March 2015 8:39 pm

      Hi Arthur,

      This may sound like a poor answer, but it depends on what you want to find out. It’s really that simple.

      If you were looking to measure brand awareness within your survey, then you’d ask questions along the lines of “Have you heard of the local producer called *insert name*?” A simple closed question resulting in a yes or no answer.

      Obviously, you can word your survey questions however you like. Keep in mind that the psychology behind research questions is literally a science in itself. Therefore, reading up on how to word and deliver research questions is very important.

      If you ever want to set up a survey, I’d recommend Survey Monkey. They have plenty of content on their blog which will help you create an effective survey. Their service should have everything to fulfill your survey needs as well.

      Cheers,
      Jordan

      P.S. I’m in no way affiliated with Survey Monkey. It’s just a company I highly recommend.

      Reply

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