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Setting Objectives

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Purpose of the objective phase

The objective phase sits at the heart of the process of creating a digital strategy. Setting clear objectives for your digital marketing activity should be the starting point to build an appropriate digital strategy.

Objective setting activities

These objectives should be business objectives that can be realized through digital marketing, for example, increase e-commerce sales, drive more leads, build audience engagement with your brand. The objective phase should be focused clearly on beginning with your key success outcome and then identifying your KPIs. Once you have achieved this, then you can begin designing the strategy that is measurable and clear.

The biggest challenge for digital is that there is so much that you can do. Being clear and concise is crucial. You have got to make use of all your resources in an efficient manner; know where your money is best spent and try to minimize budget waste.

Some key objectives throughout a digital marketing strategy are:

  • Conversion/sales: That is commercial success.
  • Consideration: That is evaluating if the product or brand meets your needs.
  • Awareness: This is about audience reach
  • Retention: This enables you to establish customer engagement.

Digital can help deliver on any of these goals and it’s important to establish what is your priority to help choose channels and measure success.

Business performance is an important expectation because it is often misguided in solely looking at direct sales. Outside of just focusing on sales, it is important to understand success can also be measured in leads and engagement. It's important to know what metrics or KPIs are most suited to measuring the success of your overall strategy as well as its different channels that make up the strategy.

For example:

  • PPC and SEO, when used as conversion channels, can be measured in sales or leads delivered
  • Email and Mobile Apps when used as customer retention channels can be measured in customer retention, repeat use, engagement, leads and sales
  • Display and Social media when used as awareness channels can be measured in reach and engagement
  • When you understand what the measurement and goal of a channel is, you can use diagnostic metrics to evaluate success even further. Some examples of metrics used to diagnose success include:
  • CPA and CPL for conversion channels
  • Sentiment and Awareness for customer engagement channels
  • New versus returning users and increased sales or conversions for customer retention channels

SMART goals

Objectives are the resulting outcome of a number of KPIs combined to create an outcome that is used as a marker of success. Firstly, you should create a rough list of all the possible success outcomes that are relevant to your brand. Then, using the SMART goal system, you should stress-test your objectives.

As a quick reminder, SMART goals are:

  • Specific: Is the goal clear and singular. Try to avoid multiple results and being vague, for example, “we want more site traffic and positive sentiment”.
  • Measurable: How are you collecting and generating data from your activity?
  • Achievable: Is the goal feasible given the circumstances and the resources available to you? Can you do it?
  • Realistic: Is this a goal that is realistic for the business?
  • Timely: Can you achieve results within your given time period?

SMART goals are important for your organization as they are the success outcomes on which your performance on digital channels will be measured.

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Please note that the module slides are designed to work in collaboration with the module transcript document. It is recommended that you use both resources simultaneously.

Digital Marketing Resources:

Jessica Preddy

Jessica is a consultant with experience in marketing and an in-depth knowledge of the latest marketing techniques. Her previous roles have included working in a marketing agency and numerous customer-service-facing positions that have given her exposure to a wide range of customers and clients.

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful. While relevant to this module, you will not be assessed on this content.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library


Digital Marketing Strategy
Jessica Preddy
Skills Expert

This module identifies the core components of an effective digital marketing strategy and explains how to develop an effective budget plan and measure the ROI for digital activities. It covers how to set clear and actionable objectives and measurable KPIs as well as the key research activities to undertake to guide channel selection and messaging. It also explains how to develop a creative strategy based on campaign research to engage an audience and deliver on campaign goals. The module concludes by explaining how to execute a digital marketing strategy supported by a channel plan, a paid media plan, a campaign action plan, and succinct strategy documentation.