Setting Data-Driven Goals in 2021

Welcome to 2021, the year where “it can’t be worse than 2020, right?” We’re all aspiring to bigger things this year, so in this spirit, we put together our top three tips for setting digital and data goals in 2021.

Benchmark Against Your industry

When setting goals, it’s important to benchmark against industry standards you have a clear understanding of how you stack up to the competition. 

Thankfully, there is no shortage of places to find great benchmarks for digital marketing! We often use Wordstream’s benchmarking reports, which are updated regularly for both Google Ads and Facebook Ads

On the email side of things, Mailchimp maintains excellent email marketing benchmarks, likewise split by industry and regularly updated. Finally, Google Analytics maintains great industry benchmarks that you can access directly from your Google Analytics account.

Benchmark Against Yourself 

At the heart of it, why do we set goals? To help our future self be better than today’s self. In this spirit, we frequently recommend that our customers set benchmarks based on their own past growth. 

This could come from any number of sources. For typical digital marketing and communications programs, this is often Google Analytics historical data for your site or domain. For larger business-wide goal-setting, this might be past sales and revenue. 

Important to consider in 2021 is the “COVID effect” and how this may impact your goals, for good or bad. One of our clients, an international provider of healthcare education, has chosen to set 2021 goals based on a 3-year rolling average after a record-setting 2020, knowing they will likely “come back to earth” in 2021. 

In a similar fashion, several other customers saw a lower-than-expected performance in 2020, so they are also setting goals based on 3-year historical averages to push themselves to greater heights in 2021. Ultimately, the choice is yours based on your industry and competitive standing.

Benchmark Against Your Future Self 

We often find great value in taking some combination of both tactics above, but a commonly overlooked part of goal setting is setting goals based on where you know you need to be by this time next year. 

This has the corollary of also forcing us to focus on our single, #1 KPI that we must achieve, whether that be subscribers, visitors, or revenue. 

For example, what metric must improve at the risk of alarming leadership or board members? Take that metric and attach a number to it; say, 5% growth in same-store sales. If you’re keeping this in the forefront of your mind, the rest will naturally fall into place.

If you need help goal setting, or have already made goals and need help reaching them, give us a call. We’re here and ready to help you with your digital marketing and data analytics efforts.

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