Goal Setting for Data Driven Marketing Campaigns

|by Amy Birch

When deciding which marketing channel to use for a marketing campaign, it's important to know what you want to achieve by using goal setting.

You are likely to need a different marketing channel based on your goal.

For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, you need a marketing platform that distributes your content to as many people as possible.

In contrast, if you want to achieve a high return on investment, you are more likely to benefit from marketing channels with targeted messaging.

It becomes much easier to fine-tune your marketing strategy once you have decided what you want to achieve.

Introducing SMART goals

It's important to create a well-defined goal that aligns with your wider marketing strategy. When setting goals, it's useful to structure your goal using the SMART target framework.

When goal setting for a data-driven marketing campaign, it's useful to use the SMART framework.

The framework states that goals must be:

  • Specific: To set a well-structured goal you need to decide exactly what you want to achieve. Goals need to have a defined and narrow intent. Before you begin a campaign, you need to know exactly what you want to achieve and why.
  • Measurable: You should be able to measure the progress you are making towards achieving a goal. This measure should be objective, not influenced by opinion. You can amend this measure if you find that your campaign is more or less effective than you first thought.
  • Achievable: The goal that you set for your team should be within their capabilities. Setting goals that are unrealistic increases the chance that your team will lose motivation. Setting several smaller goals which build towards a larger target focuses your team on success.
    However, your goals still need to be ambitious. If you fail to achieve an ambitious goal but still make progress, you will find yourself in a better position than before you started.
  • Relevant: Every goal that you want to achieve should be relevant to your business. Although a goal may seem achievable, if it is not going to drive your business forwards, there is little point in investing time and money to achieve it. Outline how each smaller goal will contribute to your overall performance.
  • Time-based: Goals need to have a set deadline or time-frame for completion. This helps to give the goal a sense of urgency.

When should I use SMART goals?

You can use SMART goals for any target you need to achieve.

The SMART goal structure is particularly useful when you need to break a larger strategic vision into smaller, more achievable targets.

Once you have decided on the nature of your goal, you need to use the framework to track progress towards completion.

You may want to schedule a weekly progress meeting so that you can discuss any problems that you encounter. This also keeps your team engaged with the process.

After achieving your goal, you can review your performance to see where your future strategy can improve.

How to collect data from your audience

Before you can use a data-driven marketing approach, you first need to collect data.

It's important to collect data using a diverse range of data collection methods. You need to decide how you want to collect data on the behaviours, preferences, and personal details of your contacts.

Here are some methods for collecting data from your audience: 

Questionnaires, surveys, and forms

One of the easiest ways to collect data about your customers is to ask questions on key subjects and issues. When asking people directly about their preferences you can get honest, direct feedback.  You can use these insights to influence future campaigns.

Surveys are a good example of a primary data collection method

This data collection method relies on knowing what questions to ask to elicit the responses you need.


Conducting interviews is another primary data collection method. You can collect information about the preferences, wants, needs and desires of your clients.

When using this data collection technique, marketers need to be careful to ensure they do not lead the respondent into giving a preferred answer.


Observing the behaviour of your customers is one of the most effective ways to gather accurate data.

However, when conducting observations, marketers should be aware of the observers paradox which was first noted by William Labov in his 1972 study.  The paradox states that the behaviour of the data subject changes as a result of the observer’s presence.

Customer service

Your customer service interactions can highlight common problems that your customers have and also show you where your business is performing well.

The benefit of this data collection method is that the data is both real-life and collected naturally.

Focus groups

Focus groups take a small group of customers and allow them to discuss issues and topics relating to their specialist area.

When choosing individuals for a focus group it is important to consider whether the people chosen are reflective of your overall customer demographic.

Lead magnets

Lead magnets are a useful way to encourage a company’s contacts to give their details to a company. We have recently published a post discussing the benefit of using lead magnets in email marketing campaigns.

Web behaviour tracking

Inserting a tracking code into your marketing campaigns allows you to monitor the behaviour of your contacts.  Use an analytics package such as Google Analytics to review customer behaviour data.

The pros and cons of primary data collection methods

Marketers have direct involvement with primary data collection techniques. Methods such as data collection forms, interviews and focus groups can be used for primary data collection.

The benefit of using primary data collection methods is that you can verify the data's quality and validity.

Each time the data's collected, it's both timely and relevant as it reflects current behaviours, opinions, preferences, and needs. They are fully in control of the way that the data's collected and recorded and can ensure that data processing remains consistent.

However, there are some disadvantages of primary data collection. The main issue associated with these methods is the observer's paradox. The paradox states that the presence of an observer influences the response that respondents give to questions.

Primary data collection is a time-consuming process which takes up many resources.

The pros and cons of secondary data collection methods

Secondary data collection methods involve indirect data collection. 

This means you're not involved in the collection process. These collection methods tend to be less costly as there's no requirement to invest in data collection techniques.

Secondary data collection methods include research papers and case studies.

One of the main drawbacks to secondary data is that it refers to a point in the past and may not be a reflection of current trends and behaviours.

Although the processes are both cheaper and less time consuming, marketers have less control over the data that's collected and may collect some data that isn't fully relevant or verified.

Marketers may struggle to verify the accuracy of data collected with secondary data collection methods.

Irrespective of the selected data collection technique, you still need to ensure that the data you use is of a high enough quality. When collecting data, it's important to use a representative sample of your data subjects.

The chosen data collection method should be used consistently and should be monitored throughout the collection process.


Effective goal setting is essential for data-driven marketing campaigns.

Aiming for specific business goals with a well-defined strategy and clearly targeted campaigns enables businesses to create effective long term strategies to aide business growth.

Want more help with your marketing? Get in touch.

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