Using measurable objectives to establish ROI

The importance of objectives and how to ensure they're measurable

When founding a business or undergoing a period of great change, many business owners will have an idea of long-term organisational goals for what they want to achieve. This could be in relation to the size of the business, the desired amount of profits or the market share they would like to achieve.  

Setting these broad goals can help to provide a long-term vision for the business. However, the broad goals can be far-reaching, making it challenging to understand how they can be achieved.

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A key part of achieving these long-term organisational goals lies with marketing and communications. Translating the objectives into PR objectives can help to form the basis for a communications and marketing strategy, which can be used to develop trust in the brand, improve visibility and ultimately generate sales leads.

Developing a set of clear measurable objectives for your communications and marketing activity can help you to divide the overall organisational goals down into smaller, more achievable aims – with clear plans for achieving these.

In a communications campaign, as well as ensuring all activity is in line with what you want to achieve, objectives also allow you to identify what’s working and what isn’t. It can highlight the techniques that successfully reach your target audience and allows you to determine areas to be focused on or improved.

Setting SMART objectives

For objectives to be reviewed easily and effectively, they need to be SMART:

  • Specific – objectives should be clear and state the key goal explicitly. Unclear goals can make it difficult for team members to understand their responsibility and make it challenging to determine success.


  • Measurable – You should be able to clearly evaluate the success of your objectives, with measurable benchmarks. For example “to increase Twitter followers by 20% by 2021”.


  • Attainable – objectives must be achievable and realistic. Unrealistic goals can result in objectives not being reached, causing in disengaged or disheartened teams.


  • Relevant – communications objectives should be in-line with the overall organisational aims and be related to what the business is trying to achieve in the long-term.


  • Time-bound – it’s important that objectives have a target date or a time frame for completion. This allows the success of objectives to be easily determined.


Examples of SMART objectives include:

“To increase engagement (likes, shares and comments) on LinkedIn by 20% by March 2021”

“To build credibility of brand, over the course of the campaign, developing thought-leadership content to secure four pieces of coverage in authoritative outlets that reach the campaign’s key audience groups.”

“To gain at least 50 newsletter signups by the end of 2020.”

Using objectives to measure ROI

If you begin a PR campaign by establishing a set of SMART objectives, determining ROI for your activity will be a streamlined process. You can do this by following these four simple steps:

1. Have the objectives been achieved? At the end of the campaign period, evaluate whether the objectives have been achieved.

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2. What is the associated cost? Determine the cost acquired from achieving your objectives. For example, if an objective were to gain at least 50 newsletter signups, and this objective was met and exceeded, resulting in ten new clients coming directly from the newsletter (tracked by analytics software), establish what this amount of new client translates to in a monetary value.

3. What was your total marketing spend? Establish the amount that was spent on marketing and communications activity across the campaign period, to meet this objective/set of objectives.

4. Work out your ROI. Take the cost of marketing away from the overall sales growth figure, then divide by marketing cost. This will show you the ROI.

For example:

If sales grew by £1,000, and the total cost of communications activities was £100, the simple ROI is 900%.

(1,000 – 100) / 100 = 9 (a nine-fold or 900% ROI)

Depending on what it is you’re looking to measure, this straightforward calculation isn’t always possible. For example, if your objective is to raise brand awareness, this won’t necessarily translate directly into sales. This is where analytics tools can allow you to better evaluate your progress. Google Analytics and other analytics tools on social media platforms, for example, have advanced features which allow the impact of communications activity to be easily determined.

For advice on how you can set measurable objectives to determine the ROI of your marketing and communications activity, get in touch with a member of the Kinetic team.


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