Understanding the Use of OKR in Marketing

OKRs provide a way for organizations to focus their marketing efforts (OKR in marketing) around the same important initiative. This alignment is a core concept to OKR in marketing. In fact, it is the golden ticket to OKR success. But alignment isn’t something you can set and forget. You must make sure OKRs are aligned up front and stay aligned throughout the quarter.

When we talk about OKR alignment, we’re referring to the notion that all of an organization’s OKRs support the achievement of the same overarching goal. If the business is a ship, then it will only get to its destination if everyone is rowing in the same direction. OKRs ensure that everyone is rowing in the same direction; that is, that they are working on what matters most to the organization. Alignment is critical. Just one person rowing in the wrong direction can steer the entire ship off course.

From legendary investor John Doerr, Measure What Matters makes the case for ambitious goal setting and meticulous execution. How would you break down the KPIs for an OKR like “make some noise on social media”?This question is meant as commentary on the way many marketing objectives are broad in nature and seemingly difficult to measure. But that’s where key results come in. Individual units of measurement such as reporting, cadence, or followers all contribute to more overarching objectives such as “build press buzz” or “optimize the blog.”

Bringing quality and quantity together in your OKRs can be difficult, but it makes for a strong objective. I would use something like:

  1. Ramp up posting by 2x.
  2. Increase daily audience interactions by 20%.
  3. Identify 3 brands to cross-promote with a quarter.

OKRs can assist in hitting targeted goals like impressions or MQLs.There’s a lot to measure when it comes to marketing. Setting targeted goals to make improvements and become better is what OKRs are all about – but how do we really do it?OKRs work as a compass that guides you to your results. In marketing, there are a lot of objectives to consider: followers, MQLs, RSVPS, etc. By writing dedicated OKRs for each of these objectives, you can map the KPIs that will lead you to your goal.

You may also find it valuable to have insight into your marketing team’s OKRs.While it’s no secret that having transparency into the goals of various departments is beneficial, it’s important for marketing, specifically.

At betterworks, we provide full transparency into the marketing team’s OKRs in order for the company to be aligned on pipeline initiatives. Knowing what’s on deck for marketing means sales, product, executives, etc. can all be aware of new initiatives.

It’s important to learn from a missed OKR.

Ambitious OKRs are normal, but they do run the risk of ending in a missed objective. So, how do we learn from this and what do we do next?OKRs should be ambitious, which means sometimes you’re going to miss. And other times you’re going to REALLY miss. For us, a missed OKR is an opportunity to learn. The KPIs can help pin down what might have happened and open a conversation for finding solutions. I would rather have a big goal than be too conservative. Take a risk, fail, modify and move forward.

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