Without a Goal, There’s No Arrival

Jeff Madden

How do you measure up?

Measurable objectives. It’s a phrase that scares most organizations.

“How do I measure progress?” is one question that often comes up. Others include “What if we don’t hit our goal? Will our budget get cut next year? Will I lose my staff?”

Such questions are understandable, but here at Trozzolo, we favor measurement. It’s the only way to know if what you’re doing is making a difference.

That applies in business, and in other areas of life.

Last week I set out on a journey across the state of Missouri via bicycle. My friend and I set a goal of 120 miles in 2.5 days. We trained during the weeks leading up to our ride, and identified key break points along the Katy Trail. The only thing we didn’t plan for was record-breaking temperatures, with heat indexes reaching 115+ degrees.

The unexpected variable forced us to make adjustments. But the measurable objective kept us focused on our goal.

Measurable objectives help in many ways. They allow you to measure progress and make necessary adjustments along the way. If one strategy or tactic isn’t working as well as planned, you can drop it and concentrate on the ones that are performing well.

One of our clients, Missouri Credit Union, hired us last year with very specific goals and objectives in mind. They had to change misperceptions about the organization, lower the average age of membership and drive loan inquiries in order to fuel long-term growth.

The average credit union membership growth nationally is .56 percent, per year. Missouri Credit Union asked us to increase their Gen-X and Gen-Y membership by 30 per month (a 10 percent increase). It seemed like an impossible objective, but it gave us something measurable to shoot for. Throughout our campaign and rebranding efforts, we monitored progress using free tools such as Google Analytics, inbound inquiries and social media tracking reports. Tracking allowed us to make shifts along the way. In less than a year we were able to help them enroll 841 new Gen-X and Gen-Y members (70 per month). Loans are significantly up and the target audience views Missouri Credit Union in a new way.

TouchNet, another client, is a technology company that serves higher education. They were looking for a way to connect emotionally with their target audience. Their existing trade show sales presentation was dated, and no longer engaged audiences. Our team developed an interactive game based on motion-sensing technology. As event attendees played the game, they learned about TouchNet’s new products and services while encouraging their colleagues to rack up points for a chance at college scholarships for their students. Thousands of attendees at key events didn’t just stop; they tripled the time spent at the TouchNet booth and came away with a better understanding about the complex technology that helps a university save, make and manage money. One could say TouchNet made new Kinect-ions with its target audience.

On the Katy Trail, just like in business, we had to adjust to find a way to reach our goal. The good news is that we made it to our final destination in 2.5 days. Alive.

What if we had simply decided we were going to ride but never had a goal in mind? Would we feel like we had accomplished anything? Would we have quit before we saw the magnificent bluffs along the Missouri River? Or, simply rode and rode until we dropped from exhaustion?

Whether your organization is trying to gain new customers, change misperceptions, raise the average donor contribution, boost seat belt usage or persuade the public to get behind your mission, measurable objectives are critical to success. It’s a good thing I had a goal for my ride. Otherwise I might still be on the trail, or stuck at Dotty’s Café in Hartsburg.

Ride on.

— Jeff Madden, TCG Account Manager

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