One of my favorite quotes about articulating and pursuing goals is from climber and author Todd Skinner: “To stick to the plan instead of the summit can make you fail to climb the mountain.”
In marketing as in mountaineering, being able to separate the purpose of our actions from the process of our actions is imperative for success. As marketing has wisely moved increasingly toward using analytics to quantify its contribution to the organization, often we can get caught up in the analysis over the objective. It isn’t enough to celebrate the sales directly correlated to a promotion, or the movement of a new product’s valuation from an analyst review following a presentation. These are useful metrics and benchmarks, not the overall objective.
Instead it is important to recognize how those results impact broader corporate goals. The clear articulation of easily understood goals is critical not only in gaining support for your actions, but in identifying when those actions deviate from the intended effect so corrective action can be swift.
The objective is a constant, so be careful that you do not use numbers to defend your actions, but rather to define them. You want to clearly articulate and get support toward the shared organizational objective, not the steps in the process.
No one ever asked Sir Edmund Hillary how many steps he took to reach the summit of Everest.