164453007_(2)Your SMART Goals have been set. You’ve spent countless hours developing your strategy. Everything is in place. You execute your strategy and you didn’t hit your goal.

Don’t panic.

When you have to report to a supervisor, executive team or board, the thought of telling them that you didn’t hit a goal can be intimidating. The first thing to remember is to remain calm and then follow these tips to determine your next course of action.

1) Keep Implementing Your Current Strategy

Unless there is something drastically wrong, keep implementing your current strategy. I’ve seen it time and time again where marketers just stop because a goal wasn’t hit. There’s great power and knowledge in keeping up with the strategy, even in the face of missing a goal.

Sometimes, it’s just an off month or maybe it was a holiday month and you had fewer days to really get in front of your audience. Whatever the reason may be, don’t stop just because you didn’t hit a goal. Keep going and adjust as needed.

2) Review Your Goals

A good healthy review of the goals is always beneficial whether you’ve hit your goal or not. These reviews might uncover something new and help you continue growing your efforts.

Start with how these goals were created. If your goals weren’t created by using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relative, Timely) Goal practice, then you should consider taking the time to revamp your goals to follow that process.

When setting up goals, it’s easy to get excited and potentially miss a step in the SMART Goal process. Make sure you’ve hit everything to ensure that your goals are solid.

3) Observe Trends

If you’ve been implementing an inbound marketing strategy for a while, then you can look back at various trends to see if there are similar patterns as to why a particular goal wasn’t achieved.

If every October in the past has seen similar results that you’re seeing this month, then that gives you an indication that you might need to update the strategy for that particular month in order to hit your goal.

4) Review Metrics and Results More Often

How often are you reviewing metrics & results? If you’re just reviewing these metrics in an organized fashion quarterly or annually, start adding monthly reviews in there. This will help you keep the goals and results more in your face and can help you take action if something is working.

Just because you’ve got a monthly review on the books doesn’t mean that you should only review the metrics and results then. The beautiful part of marketing today is that we get a real-time snapshot of progress.

If you’re consistently reviewing these metrics, then you’ll have an idea if you’re going to hit your monthly goals or not and have the opportunity to add a blog post, long form content piece or email campaign to get you to your goals. If you get in the habit of always have to add these extra tactics, then you should review your goals and potentially update your strategy.

5) Refocus

It’s crazy how much we have to pay attention to as marketers. Crazy. If there’s anything that you’re working on that doesn’t help your team achieve their goals, then make some adjustments. The energy pulled away from your marketing tactics could be just what your marketing needs to really succeed.

There are so many factors that go into the success of a marketing goal that it’s never just a black and white answer for what to do next. Just take it one step at a time and you’ll be able to refocus your energy and make your marketing the best it can be.

What are your favorite tips or tricks when you’ve missed a marketing goal?

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Originally published Oct 28, 2014 1:00:00 PM, updated January 18 2023