How to Use Data in Goal Setting

Underestimating the importance of your numbers will start your 2020 off on the wrong foot.

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Q4 is an exciting time for multiple reasons. Many businesses obviously see a bump in their sales during the holidays. But it’s also the end of one year and the beginning of another, meaning it’s a great time to look back on your company’s progress and forecast some goals and ideas for the new year.

But goals aren’t always easy to make. If you’re trying to grow, it’s difficult to create a realistic speed of growth and know which marketing tools will really get you there.

That’s why data are such important aspects of goal setting. Goals shouldn’t be randomly pulled out of the sky and written down in marketing reports because they sound good.

Gather the Data

This is a step in and of itself because it can take a while. Going through your various marketing tactics and looking at your technology stack will allow you to pull your numbers and create a master spreadsheet.

Look at This Year’s Growth

When you’re looking at your marketing data from 2019, it’s important to look at not just where you are now but also where you were in January. For instance, if you have 30,000 Instagram followers and you had 20,000 in January, that’s very different from going from 1,000 to 30,000. The same goes with sales numbers, customer satisfaction ratings, and Yelp reviews. Looking at where you are right this second without searching for overarching trends is going to give you a very narrow view of your marketing strategy and how well it worked.

Identify Focus Areas

Now that you’ve seen your growth, which areas do you think had the largest effect on sales? The truth is, marketing carries with it a lot of vanity numbers. You could spend all day trying to increase your webinar views, but if those views aren’t converting, it’s pointless. See where most of your sales came from and which marketing efforts really led to those sales.

Forecast Some KPIs

Lastly, create some key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help keep you on track this year. Now that you’ve identified which areas of marketing you’re going to pour the most time and resources into, you can more easily make goals that feel relevant, realistic, and aligned with where you want to go. It helps to know if your business is looking to grow rapidly or simply maintain some of its growth from the year before. Then, set out dates throughout the year when you’ll reevaluate these KPIs and check in with new data.