SMART Objective Setting in the New Year

By Kaylin Staten

It’s the start of a New Year, and you’re probably hyper-focused on your goals and objectives for 2019.

In today’s world, Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Expectations (ROE) drive PR professionals and the C-Suite to want to learn more in the Evaluation phase. That’s where SMART objectives come in.In the world of public relations and other industries goals are comprised of SMART objectives, which include: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound.

Whether your professional goal is to publicize a new product or service, SMART objectives are vital to define the opinion, attitude of behavior you want to achieve from your specific audience (in PR, we call them publics); how much change you want each public to achieve; and express the deadline for the changes you seek (APR Study Guide).

You could be wanting to unleash a full-fledged RPIE (Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation) plan to launch a new product or service or plan to lose weight in the New Year. No matter the professional or personal goal, you can use SMART objectives to plan and help you reach your wildest dreams:


Be honest about what you want to achieve. Cultivate a clear call to action for your publics to identify and follow. Speaking of publics, you’ll want to clearly identify them. This is where your customer avatars and other research comes into play.


Make sure you can keep tabs on your objectives from start to finish. Do your research and define clear measurements. For example, if you want to boost sales of your new product, set a number of sales you want to achieve per month, quarter and year. Keep track of those figures at every touchpoint.


Being an overachiever has its benefits, but don’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to making your objectives achievable. Make sure your objective is something you want to achieve individually or for your company.


Honesty also comes into play when you establish if your objective is realistic or too lofty. It’s OK to daydream, but you also have to maintain a level of logic with your goals and objectives.


To borrow from a classic cliche, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be clear about your timeline, but do not overreach. There is a chance your goals and objectives are more long-term that you initially expected. They could take more than a year or they could take less. Spend 2019 outlining and reaching the foundation and other building blocks of your goals. Every small step will be part of the larger outcome.

Many of us have too generic of objectives, and that doesn’t serve us well as we prepare a strategic plan, business plan or another internal steering document. Here’s a sample of a SMART objective for your reference:

To increase our company’s annual health and beauty sales with millennial women (ages 22 to 37) by 15% by the end of 2019.

Copyright © MMXVIII Hourglass Media, LLC

Kaylin R. Staten, APR is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer. She owns Hourglass Media, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV. 

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