Setting Goals – Foundation to Great Real Estate Marketing Plans

At some point during the year, just about every business goes through a process of evaluating what's been accomplished. For public companies, that usually happens at the end of the fiscal year, as shareholders and other stakeholders anxiously await earning reports and other performance metrics. For other businesses, the process may be less formal and less ritualistic, but it happens.

The thing about doing this type of evaluation is that it is an opportunity to step back and measure success (or maybe lack of it), gauged against what it is that you hoped to achieve. As a marketer, that hope was most likely encapsulated in your commercial real estate marketing plan.

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A marketing plan includes everything from defining your target market and how you'll reach them with your branding and strategy, to how you intend to communicate with that market using tactics like email marketing and direct mail, as well as how you'll differentiate your business from the competition in order to make your next sale, earn the trust of your next investor or secure your next tenant.

The good news is that a commercial real estate marketing plan doesn't have to be an overly burdensome undertaking. A marketing plan is really just a statement of how you plan to engage the marketplace. By incorporating five or six key components, you'll have what you need to get started. Over the next few weeks, we'll dedicate this column to looking at each of those pieces in a bit of detail so that when you put them all together, you'll have the plan you need for marketing your commercial real estate business.

Every plan starts with a goal

It seems logical that in order to create a plan, you have to know where it is you want to go. In talking about their organization, whether that's a multi-national firm, a small or mid-size business, a charity or a government institution, business leaders are often quick to cite their goals and hold them up as testament for where they are going. While most businesses will acknowledge the importance of the goals, not so many refer to those goals in evaluating their business. So, it's no surprise that in a survey conducted a number of years back by office super store Staples, of 300 businesses, more than 80 percent of those surveyed said that they failed to track or revisit goals after setting them. Wow! Why even bother setting goals in the first place? Jackie Nagel of the Huffington Post does a nice job exploring the rationale for this failure but also points out that “Goal setting is one of the most important skills to achieve optimal performance. In fact, those who invest in goals display greater persistence, creativity, and risk-taking in the achievement of their goals.

So, just by setting goals, you can inspire creativity and better performance against your marketing plan. Are you inspired to set some goals?

Establishing goals for your commercial real estate marketing plan means looking at where your business as a whole wants to go over the next year and in, say, five years. It also means looking at how you'll develop your marketing program to help meet those company-wide goals. Your goals should be realistic and achievable. Clear, straightforward goals will mesh easily with your plan and enable you to naturally build in flexibility for changes and or adjustments that you may need to make over time. Here's a few rules for goal setting:

  1. Goals should simply state what you want to achieve
  2. Skip the details and save that for your marketing plan
  3. Establish a timeline for achieving goals
  4. Think of both short term and longer term goals
  5. State how you'll measure your goals
  6. Get input from others
  7. Test that goals are not competing with other goals or those of the broader organization
  8. Make someone accountable for attaining each goal

With your goals in hand, you'll know exactly where you want to go. That's a big achievement because it's as if you already know the end of the story and now you just need to figure out how to get there. We'll explore those steps next.

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