After a successful marketing campaign, your business can expect an influx of new customers and new revenue. You can justify your costs, form new actionable takeaways, and celebrate the win with the rest of your team.

But what exactly is it about the campaign that makes it successful?

The Many Sides of Success

Marketing success can be defined in many different ways, depending on your company, your competitors, and even your customers. Almost anything positive you do for your brand can be considered a form of marketing success.

For example, if you run a temporary advertising campaign and find that it increases brand visibility and improves brand sentiment in a statistically significant way, it can be considered a success. But even if this campaign doesn’t have a measurable impact on your brand visibility or sentiment, it could still be considered a win if you increase sales.

A vague approach to “do something positive” for your brand isn’t good enough if you want to plan effective marketing and advertising campaigns. So how do you define marketing success more specifically?

Defining Success for Your Brand

Defining success for your brand’s marketing helps you in a few important ways:

Direction. For starters, a definition of marketing success gives you direction for all your campaigns. If you’re trying to increase sales in a specific store, you’re going to need to advertise differently than if you’re just trying to raise awareness of your brand’s existence. If you’re trying to win customers from a competitor, you’re going to advertise differently than if you’re trying to appeal to your most passionate existing followers.

Motivation. Defining success also serves as a motivational or inspirational tool. Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll be able to develop a blueprint that helps you achieve it. For example, if you want to increase new sales by 20 percent, and your previous campaign allowed you to hit sales growth of 18 percent, you’ll be sufficiently motivated to close that gap.

Analysis. Marketing success definitions are also valuable during the analysis phase of your campaign. When you know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s easy to tell whether you’ve succeeded or failed – and you’ll have the knowledge necessary to perform better next time.

Tips for Defining Marketing Success

So how do you actually define marketing success more practically?

Start with historical data (when possible). If you have historical data from past marketing and advertising campaigns, tap into it. How have your strategies performed in the past? What impressive metrics have led to overall company advancement? Which approaches and tactics don’t seem relevant for your target audience or your competitive environment? This is an excellent time to brainstorm.

Define a high-level objective (or more than one). Start by defining one or a few high-level objectives for your brand. Don’t worry about the specifics at this point; a goal like increasing sales or improving brand sentiment is good enough. Find something that has the potential to positively affect your brand long term – and preferably, something achievable.

Set SMART goals. SMART goal criteria are still popular, and for good reason. It’s one of the best ways to create a goal that’s sufficiently motivational. Though different people have different ways of interpreting the acronym, most people want their SMART goals to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Your marketing goals need to follow these criteria as closely as possible – or it’s going to be hard to communicate them, act upon them, and determine whether you’ve achieved them.

Get the team involved. Designing a better marketing strategy shouldn’t be a solo endeavor. Work with the rest of your team to clarify what you mean by marketing success and provide instructions for how you’re going to achieve it. Gather feedback from other marketing experts on your team and make tweaks so that these directives are sensible and understandable to everyone.

Embed your vision for success into your campaign. Once you have the framework for marketing success in place, you can begin embedding that vision into all your marketing and advertising campaigns. If you’re currently running any marketing or advertising, examine it to see if it’s aligned with your ideas for success; otherwise, you can begin designing new campaigns from scratch.

Revisit and adapt. Once you’ve defined success for your marketing, you’ll know the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) to track. Revisit your campaigns when they’ve finished, determine whether you’ve achieved your definition of “success,” and regroup if necessary.

Defining marketing success for your brand isn’t always easy, especially if you’ve historically had ambiguously directed marketing and advertising campaigns. But with a better definition solidifying your strategy, and more experience with objective analysis, you’ll be better positioned to promote your brand and its core products.