Marketing plans are written documents that help you communicate your marketing efforts for the following year. The objectives and issues section of your marketing plan is probably the most important part of the plan because it helps internal employees or external stakeholders understand your marketing goals. Communicating your objectives at the beginning of your marketing plan sets the tone for the entire document. Marketing plan objectives and issues should be written as "SMART" goals, meaning they need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

Specific Marketing Plan Objectives

The first aspect of writing SMART marketing plan objectives and issues is to make sure they are specific, detailed and results-oriented. Write your marketing objectives so they communicate exactly what needs to be achieved and who is responsible for each activity. For example, an objective statement like, "Increase efficiency" is much too generic. Instead, indicate a specific goal and how that goal will be achieved, such as, "Increase efficiency within the project management team by 12 percent by increasing our number of billable hours." Specific goals and objectives can help you clearly define and address the issues outlined in your marketing plan.

Measurable Marketing Goals

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, to set a measurable marketing goal, start by reviewing your sales numbers, market growth, market size and product performance. For each of your marketing objectives, describe what you intend to accomplish along with quantifiable numbers to give you a concrete goal to aim for. For example, saying you want to, "Enter into the healthcare market segment" is not a measurable goal. Instead, mention a specific measurable goal like, "Go from 0 percent to 5 percent of the healthcare market share in Royal Oak in two years."

Make Objectives Achievable

SMART objectives in a marketing plan also need to be achievable. If you set objectives that you think you can't achieve in the coming year, you may waste resources and lose motivation. While writing your goals, make sure you set achievable expectations in your plan. In addition to ensuring the specifics outlined in your marketing objectives are achievable, the measurements mentioned throughout your objectives should also be reachable.

Keep Goals Realistic

Your marketing plan objectives also should be realistic. While this aspect of SMART goals is similar to "achievable," the difference is making sure you have the necessary resources in place to accomplish the objective. Examples of resources include employees, budget, technology and time. The key here is to closely review each of your objectives and issues, and make sure you have the resources in place so your goals can realistically be achieved.

Setting Timely Objectives

Finally, the objectives of your marketing plan should be time-based. Setting a date for when you want to accomplish each of your goals gives you a specific mark to measure against. Stating that your company will "increase sales by 15 percent by October" leaves no doubt as to the time you have to complete the goal. Once you specify a time frame, you can then lay out a detailed plan for how you will accomplish the goal or address the issue in the rest of your marketing plan.