When you market your small business, you need a detailed plan that tells you where you will go and how you will get there. The where-you-will-go part lays out the marketing objectives. The how-you-will-get-there part is the marketing strategy. These two elements of marketing -- objectives and strategy -- must work together to make a successful marketing campaign.

Marketing Objectives

Your marketing objectives must state clearly what you want to achieve in a specific time frame. For example, a marketing objective could state, “We will increase sales by 20 percent in the next quarter.” Objectives must be measurable. Simply stating, “We will improve sales” does not set an objective.

Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy tells you how you will achieve your objective. Just saying you will increase sales by 20 percent, for example, does not tell you how to do it. You must come up with a method for achieving what you want. A marketing strategy could involve offering discounts for multiple orders from customers, or it might involve placing advertisements in regional magazines or on billboards. The strategy details what you are actually going to do to achieve your objectives.

Working Together

Your marketing objectives must work with your marketing strategies. For example, if you set an objective to increase income from sales by 20 percent in the next quarter, but your marketing strategy is to cut prices in order to attract customers and gain market share, you likely won’t reach your objective. The discount prices could result in lower income from sales.


You don’t have to wait for the time when you meet your objectives in order to check your progress. Set milestones on the way to meeting your objectives so that you can see if your efforts are likely to pay off. For example, if one of your objectives is to increase sales 20 percent in a quarter, check monthly to see if you are improving enough to reach that objective. If not, you may have to adjust your marketing strategy to find more effective ways of reaching your objective.