Defining the Marketing Objectives

Defining the Marketing Objectives

Marketing objectives should capture opportunities in the market while leveraging internal capabilities to achieve profitable outcomes.


Identify the anatomy of a good marketing objective, and recognize the importance of strong market research


Key Points

  • When defining the marketing objectives, organizations should take into account external marketing research. Models like the PESTEL framework are useful in measuring external forces.
  • The audience and potential approaches to segmentation are critical aspects of the external environment. Determining target markets is a required input for a marketing objective.
  • Understanding the organization’s vision and core competency is the next input to a strong marketing objective, which should represent what the organization stands for.
  • Profitability is also a central input to marketing objectives. Objectives should be financially relevant and measurable. Business have to stay in business, after all.
  • Coupling the internal competencies and vision with external forces in a profitable way is a strong starting point for creating good objectives.

Key Terms

  • core competency: An organization’s unique capability to add value through internal strengths that are difficult to replicate by the competition.

Marketing plans have quite a few inputs and outputs; one of those outputs is the organization’s overall marketing objectives. Objectives are set later in the marketing plan development process, as they should be quantifiable and based off of comprehensive market research (another part of marketing plan development). The marketing objectives are, in a sense, the conclusions of a strong marketing plan development process, and should be agreed upon by all stakeholders.

Developing Marketing Objectives

The process of developing and defining marketing objectives has a few stages. As the marketing objectives themselves are a conclusions based on internal capabilities and external opportunities, identifying and understanding both is a required input.

External Factors

From the economic landscape to the technological advancements in the industry, organizations must understand the needs, habits, influences, and barriers in the marketplaces. The PESTEL framework and Porter’s Five Forces are both useful models in measuring certain environmental factors. Marketing research should also include segmentation considerations, target markets, and a competitive analysis to determine positioning.

A diagram that shows how industry rivalry is generated by the bargaining power of buyers, threat of substitutes, bargaining power of suppliers, and threat of new entrants.

Porter’s Five Forces: Porter’s Five Forces are a few key industry measures that indicate the competitiveness and key considerations when operating in a given industry.

Internal Competencies

A marketing plan is critical in aligning the organization’s vision with the communications and marketing materials that potential consumers and other stakeholders will receive. In short, the marketing objectives must take into account what the organization believes in, and what the organization is good at. Understanding internal strengths, and identifying external segments that would respond well to those strengths, is a good recipe for setting strong, profitable, and realistic objectives.


Finally, all marketing objectives should be financially quantifiable. This is to say that objectives should lead to results that generate profit for the organization (unless it is a non-profit, in which case objectives should maintain solvency). Marketing objectives should indicate the appropriate volume, margin, and subsequent financial impact of success (or failure). Ultimately, organizations have to stay in business. Marketing plays a key role in this.

Marketing Objectives

Once the external environment, core competency, and financial requirements are clear and understood, the upper management team can begin refining precise marketing objectives that are realistic, profitable, aligned with the organization’s vision, and aligned with the expectations of key consumers. If a series of marketing objectives fulfills each of these requirements, they should be fairly effective at guiding the organization in the optimal direction.