Marketing OKRs: Our 7 Best Marketing OKRs

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Founder and CEO
CMOx®, The Fractional CMO Company

Do you have some audacious goals you’d like to reach for company growth? Without a structure in place, it may feel like you are stabbing in the dark and merely hoping your assumptions will work towards those ends. 

You might not even have a clear vision for which goals should have the highest level of priority. And, if you aren’t goal-setting with marketing OKRs, you may not have a full picture of what key results are needed to support those top objectives.

SMART goals on their own are no longer enough. You need multiple Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) goals to accomplish large objectives.

So, let’s talk about marketing OKRs and how you can use them to do big things.

What are Marketing OKRs?

Objectives and key results (OKRs) are a method for setting overarching goals that might otherwise seem vague. The OKR spells out how a business can set, track and reach those lofty goals. Marketing teams use OKRs because it forces transparency and communication.

When you establish clear marketing OKRs, you realize where some goals simply cannot exist on the same level as others—one has to take precedence over another because the key results are conflicting.

This keeps your team from overpromising and underdelivering. Rather than making promises that might fall flat because they are unsupported and undefined, objectives are established in a clear and concise way with measurable results to show success or failure.

Spelling out objectives and how they will be accomplished with OKRs really helps your team get on the same page as other departments.

In the book Measure What Matters by John Doerr, The Chief of Pizza at Zume, Aaron Butkus, summed up the value of OKRs perfectly: 

“If I’m creating a new seasonal pie, I can’t do it on the spur. Marketing needs to know at least a week ahead of time, and then photo and design have to take pictures. It affects every department—the product manager’s website, the tech team and their mobile app. The OKRs keep me centered and on track. They guarantee that I get the recipe done in time for everyone who’s waiting on it. My deadline’s built into a key result. I can see the bigger picture more clearly.”

Zume Measure What Matters OKRs

7 Marketing OKRs Examples

So in order to really understand how this can benefit your business, let’s look at some important objectives that most companies would love to achieve. 

Of course, every business is going to have different top objectives and their key results are going to look different based on their current status. So you will adjust the specifics to fit your own company and the numbers to line up with what growth looks like for you.

But here are some of our favorite marketing OKRs with examples of how they would be defined.

1. Organize marketers and strategies

First and foremost, every marketing department should have a marketing strategy to oversee every detailed part of the marketing strategy for a given amount of time (maybe the month, quarter or year). If that isn’t already in place for your team, you can use it as a top OKR to drive performance management.

Objective: Plan, implement and measure content marketing and advertising campaigns

KR1: Complete existing content audit, noting gaps and content that needs updated

KR2: Create a content calendar for the next 3 months, including content audit results

KR3: Increase website traffic by 20% through social media, PPC and email marketing efforts

2. Improve customer satisfaction

When customers are happy, they are likely to make a referral to friends and family. You want to build the kinds of post-purchase relationships that extend marketing beyond the bottom of the funnel with the conversion point.

Objective: Understand customer needs and increase satisfaction rates

KR1: Collect customer feedback from 10 loyal customers or clients

KR2: Get feedback from 20 active users or customers each month

KR3: Measure and increase Net Promoter Score (NPS) to 9 on average

3. Increase traffic from organic search

You can pay for ads all day, but the number of qualified leads finding you in a top search engine position (for free!) is hard to beat. These are people who are already looking for the topics, products or solutions you are covering on your pages.

Objective: Improve indexing and ranking for higher organic traffic

KR1: Build ten new backlinks per month

KR2: Compress all images and infographics for faster loading and add optimized alt text and titles

KR3: Optimize content to achieve 50% of all content on the first page of Google SERP

4. Generate more qualified leads

Not all leads are created equal. Marketing teams shouldn’t just shoot for vanity metrics (likes, traffic or CTR), but KPIs (key performance indicators) that consider deeper meaning—like the quality of the leads they bring in. The goal isn’t to attract just anyone, but to attract those who want what you offer and have the power to buy it.

Objective: Support sales by targeting marketing qualified leads (MQLs)

KR1: Create 3 new case studies pinpointing and exploring new customer segments

KR2: Segment contacts lists to increase targeted marketing and inbound strategies

KR3: Maintain a sales pipeline of SQL valued at $300k quarterly

5. Create loyal customers

Retaining existing customers is much cheaper than continually bringing in new ones. Harvard Business Review reports acquiring a new customer can cost anywhere between 5-25 times more than retaining a current one. 

In order to capitalize on what you’ve already done, you will want to increase the lifetime value of your customers (LVC) by both extending that timeline and increasing your remarketing strategies. Some industries will have this much easier than others, just by the nature of their product or service (especially those that require a subscription).

Objective: Improve customer retention and increase loyal customer sales

KR1: Examine top customers and conduct post-purchase debriefs for all sales over $5,000

KR2: Create a formal loyalty program and increase customer email list subscribers by 20%

KR3: Implement top CRM software and achieve annual average customer retention of 75%

6. Build up local brand awareness

Local SEO (search engine optimization) is often easier to achieve than national SEO spots because the keywords are much more specific. Localized marketing also helps increase the number of competitors your customers are looking at when they are hoping to find a nearby business. After these basics are implemented, you might work to target leads by location on social media ads, sponsor local events or connect with local industry influencers (or industry experts) already in front of your audience.

Objective: Increase local clientele and brand awareness

KR1: Get at least 80% of local content to the first page of Google SERP, adding 3 a week

KR2: Create Google My Business and Yelp profiles with correct information and images

KR3: Build location-based landing pages for every area where you serve or have a presence

7. Construct a seamless customer experience

With so many channels and content, it can start to feel disjointed. Marketing teams should keep it all together with a clear understanding of the buyer’s journey and customer’s experience. From white papers published on LinkedIn to the live phone support given by your customer service reps, the entire experience should remain consistent.

Objective: Implement a seamless customer experience across all channels and locations

KR1: Solidify branding (including values) and define your messaging framework template

KR2: Create a clarified view of the customer with a CRM that integrates all data to one place

KR3: Audit department reps, webpages, ads, email and social media for cohesive messaging

CMOx OKRs List

How to set and manage Marketing OKRs

So, now that you know you want to get OKRs in place, what should you do?

Start by defining the OKRs most important to your marketing and company goals. You can take this a step further and break down the OKRs for the whole company, each department and even individuals. All objectives must be clarified to see where certain points overlap or could cause conflict. If, for example, you want to target some of the younger generations in one objective, your objective to retain loyal customers from older generations could be impacted.

There is software you can get put into place to help manage these OKRs and keep them visible for your whole team. Top OKR software tools include:

To get the best OKRs in place for your company, you will want a top marketing exec. Not all businesses are ready to bring on a full-time CMO. This is where we can help. CMOx can help you hire a Fractional CMO for part-time management services or a marketing strategy consultant to kickstart your game plan. Talk to us today about how we can help you set and manage your marketing OKRs.

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Casey S. Stanton is a marketing strategy expert and founder of CMOx®, the Fractional CMO company. For over 10 years Casey has been leading marketing strategy for 7 and 8 figure businesses in both digital and brick-and-mortar markets.

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Casey S. Stanton is a marketing strategy expert and founder of CMOx®, the Fractional CMO company. For over 10 years Casey has been leading marketing strategy for 7 and 8 figure businesses in both digital and brick-and-mortar markets.

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