Rule #8: Be Smart

 Set goals, and track your progress

set goals And Measure Progress

As the  campaign manager, you should set meaningful short-term and long-term goals and ensure that campaign progress is measured. Meaningful goals may follow a SMART framework or G-AP framework.

SMART goal framework requires goals to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. A specific goal is easy to understand, specifies desired future results, and identifies concrete actions that will contribute to a larger objective (Yale Human Resources, 2012; Pierpont & Wilkerson, 1998). A measurable goal describes how each goal will be assessed and identifies the metrics involved (Yale Human Resources, 2012; Employee Development, 2013). An attainable goal is one that can be accomplished with the campaigns capabilities, tools, and resources; it also considers other commitments made within the campaign (Yale Human Resources, 2012; Employee Development, 2013). A relevant goal relates to broader objectives and aligns with the mission of your campaign group. Finally, a timely goal has a specific timeframe to achieve the goal and may include steps and a plan to monitor progress and/or establish a timeframe for short and long-term goals (Yale Human Resources, 2012; Employee Development, 2013).

The G-AP framework is a goal setting and action planning framework that has stages with distinct purposes and useful contributions to a campaign including: goal negotiation and goal setting; action planning; appraisal and feedback; and decision-making (Scobbie et al., 2013). The primary objective of this goal-setting and action planning framework is optimize goal attainment and participant involvement (Scobbie et al., 2013).


You can’t manage what you don’t measure

Understanding baselines, establishing achievable and challenging goals, and measuring your progress are important aspects to include in the management your campaign. Disregarding these metrics will make it difficult to understand your impact and the value of your campaign on its targeted behaviour (Kerschbaum, 2012; Hussain, 2013). McKenzie-Mohr (2013) suggests that baseline data and after initiative implementation data can serve as a critical test of the success of a campaigns initiative. As well, if the campaign progress is well understood and continually measured you will be able to identify and manage components and strategies that are negatively or neutrally impacting your campaign as they occur (McKenzie-Mohr, 2013; Pierpont & Wilkerson, 1998). Infrequent and irregular tracking may make it more difficult to identify and isolate the component or strategy that is counterproductive to the campaign (such as spillover). Finally, measuring your campaign will provide you with proof of solid results, which will assist you in convincing funding agencies that your campaign deserves continued support (McKenzie-Mohr, 2013).

Define achievable goals and monitor performance

Tip#1: Set SMART goals

Setting goals is not always easy; if you set them too high they may not be met and if you set them too low there may be unrealized potential (Pierpont & Wilkerson, 1998; Kerschbaum, 2012). To identify achievable but challenging goals for your campaign you will need to look at past performance to create meaningful metrics and benchmarks (Kerschbaum, 2012). If you are designing a new campaign you can look at the performance of comparative campaigns (Pierpont & Wilkerson, 1998). This information is also useful to the SMART and G-AP framework. These frameworks can be used to develop goals that can be communicated and measured (Yale Human Resources, 2012; Employee Development, 2013).

Tip#2: Target continuous improvement

Both the SMART and G-AP framework highlight the importance of evaluating goals and campaign progress (Yale Human Resources, 2012; Employee Development, 2013). So hold yourself accountable and create a goal document; you can also keep an ongoing goal document to track your progress (Kerschbaum, 2012). McKenzie-Mohr (2013) suggests that a campaign can be evaluated by comparing baseline data to post-initiative data as well as by conducting a focus group or pilot. In the goal development process you may have identified other ways of measuring data as well such as surveys and interviews. All of these tactics are suitable to determine why you did or did not achieve a goal. 

Tip#3: Don’t lose hope

If you are running a major campaign and aren’t seeing immediate results, remember that behaviour change is a long term game. Jim Mintz (2013) argues that over a period of a few years, even a 2-5% change is significant. Set goals to prove you are having an impact, but you may not immediately see massive behaviour change, and that is okay. Just remember to monitor impact where you can and if you do see campaign spillover or ineffective engagement with your target audience etc. make the changes you can.


Ex#1: Smoke-Free Ontario

For instance, The Ontario Tobacco Research Unit draws on information from population-level surveys, program evaluations, performance reports and administrative data to produce an annual report for Smoke-Free Ontario that analyzes current trends and progress made by its initiatives (Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, 2012). Tobacco Informatics Monitoring System (TIMS) provides most of the population-level survey data analysis and is available to the public (Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, 2012). Since it is very difficult to measure the actual decrease in smoking that the campaign has affected, and also since decreasing smoking is a long-term task, increased registration was the benchmark that was measured.  In 2012 Smoke-Free Ontario reported that its Driven to Quit Challenge saw a 3.6% increase in registrants over 2011 and an overall 46% increase since 2006 (Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, 2012). Since this challenge has been monitored year-over-year, Smoke-Free Ontario was able to attribute the increase to the expansion of the primary audience of the contest (2010) and new promotional and outreach activities that targeted healthcare providers (Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, 2012).


 So remember: Don’t rush through the campaign process

Take time to establish meaningful goals and measure your campaign progress; both are critical to the success of a campaign. Firstly, they will assist you in identifying components or strategies that are counterproductive to your campaign. Secondly, they will provide concrete results that may assist you in convincing funding agencies that your campaign deserves continued support. To establish meaningful short-term and long-term goals you will need to understand past performance. This will provide a strong foundation that you can build off of with the SMART or G-AP goal framework. Past performance may also be useful when the campaign is measured and comparisons need to be made. To measure the campaign a number of tactics may be employed which include conducting focus groups, piloting, surveying, interviewing, and comparing baseline data to post-initiative data. Finally, remember that setting meaningful goals and evaluating the campaign are iterative processes so both patience and careful planning will need to continue throughout the life of the campaign.



Employee Development. (2013). Writing S.M.A.R.T. Goals. Retrieved December 2013, from University of Virginia Human Resources:

Hussain, A. (2013, February 26). 8 Big Marketing Campaign Mistakes to Stop Making NOW. Retrieved December 2013, from HubSpot:

Kerschbaum, J. (2012, October 30). How to Establish a Goal Plan for Your PPC Campaign. Retrieved December 2013, from Search Engine Watch:

Mckenzie-Mohr, D. (2013). Developing Strategies Revisited. In D. Mckenzie-Mohr,Fostering Sustainable Behaviour: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing.

Mintz, Jim (2013). Beyond Awareness: Creating social marketing campaigns that change attitude and behaviour. Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing.

McKenzie-Mohr, D. (2013). Step 4: Piloting. In D. McKenzie-Mohr, Fostering Sustainable Behaviour: An Introduction to Community Based Social Marketing.

McKenzie-Mohr, D. (2013). Step 5: Broad-scale Implementation. In D. McKenzie-Mohr, Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing.

Ontario Tobacco Research Unit.(2012). Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy Evaluation Report.

Ontario Tobacco Research Unit.(2013). Tobacco Informatics Monitoring System.

Pierpont, R., & Wilkerson, G. S. (1998). Campaign goals: Taking aim at a moving target. New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising , 61-79.

Scobbie et al. (2013). Implementing a framework for goal setting in community based stroke rehabilitation: a process evaluation. BMC Health Services Research .

Yale Human Resources.(2012). Effective Goal Setting. Retrieved December 2013, from Yale University:

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