How to Set Your Marketing Automation Goals This Year

We know you keep a packed schedule and it’s often hard to carve out time for planning, let alone goal-setting. But we also know that goal-setting is at the core of any successful business. In the context of marketing automation, goal-setting has the ability to take your usage at large and break it down into digestible, actionable objectives.

So, let’s get started!

The Framework

There are quite a few goal-setting models that businesses use, and the SMART methodology is one of my favorites. Knowing that your goal-setting needs may be unique, I invite you to use this as a starting point and customize as you see fit.

The SMART Goal Setting Framework, in context of marketing automation:

  • Specific — Think big picture, while also defining exactly what you want to accomplish.
    • There are a ton of possibilities when it comes to your marketing automation usage. Take a step back and define what your high level goal is. For example, you might choose automating processes (saving time), increasing revenue or decreasing attrition. From there, define what Pardot functionalities can drive those results most effectively.
  • Measurable — Define your success with numbers.
    • Marketers love reports, and we understand why. But, it’s important to pick measurable results that will provide you with enough intel to adjust or optimize your strategy. Re-asses to ensure that your metrics truly are indicative of success, and that the results will drive positive change.
  • Attainable — Keep goals within your control, and make sure they’re realistic.
    • There are some things you aren’t able to control, like your competitor’s pricing. Focus on what you can control and be mindful of your resources. Maybe don’t have the bandwidth to create custom landing pages from scratch for each campaign, but you can build one really great, flexible template to use all year. At the end of the day, know your strengths and limitations, and embrace them for attainable goal setting.
  • Relevant — Create a worthwhile accomplishment for your organization.
    • Maybe you would love to create a blog, but you know that creating a campaign to engage cold prospects will have a much more significant impact on the bottom line. Creating a relevant goal ensures that you’re making the most of the time you spend in Pardot.
  • Time-bound — Set a deadline.
    • Setting a deadline is essential to completing your end goal. Here are a few pro tips to consider:
      • Don’t forget to define smaller milestones along the way. Schedule dedicated time in advance each week to work on your goal.
      • Explore an agile team workflow for those teammates working on different pieces of the end goal.
      • Try connecting with an industry peer via our Success Community as an accountability partner.


Let’s explore an example situation: Our CEO challenged all of our teams to help generate additional revenue to make up for a slow first quarter. When looking at our lead generation efforts and existing prospects, I think there is an opportunity to tap into an underutilized group of clients that would be open to an upsell, as I’m not currently doing anything to engage with them.

  • Specific
    • Increase my company’s bottom line by 5% in Q2 by creating an upsell drip for existing customers.
    • I will take clients through a specific promotional upsell campaign of a newly released add-on. This product will be detailed and highlighted through a series of Pardot-hosted landing pages with stage-based content. Assigned sales users will be notified within the drip program when a client clicks any email, which will serve as a reminder to reach out to the client personally.
  • Measurable
    • This project will be a success if the total revenue generated from closed opportunities influenced by the upsell drip over Q2 meets or exceeds $250,000.
  • Attainable  
    • We don’t have any outreach on upsell opportunities, so a 5% increase feels conservative. I also have the ability to create the drip program strategy, and a marketing coordinator that can assist with asset creation.
  • Relevant
    • Our organization is behind on its quarterly sales quota and this will have a direct impact on our bottom line. Out of all the current initiatives we were planning (updating our newsletter and publishing more gated content), this upsell campaign is the most relevant to the business’ needs.
  • Time-bound
    • Complete in three weeks, with the following benchmarks:
      • Week 1: Outline drip program strategy, identify and segment current customers open to upsell opportunities, begin landing page creation and email content drafts.
      • Week 2: Create segmentation list, complete landing page and email content drafts. Submit for manager’s approval.
      • Week 3: Create landing pages, email templates, and drip program in Pardot. Join Advocate Open Office Hours to see if they have any quick feedback.
      • Week 3 EOW: Launch
    • I will share the timeline with my team, and schedule dedicated time on my calendar two times a week.

Still not sure where to start? Let’s prioritize.

With marketing strategy, there are often a lot of moving pieces, and it can be difficult to identify what to attack first. Below are my top two considerations I suggest you work through as you try to identify the best place to begin.

  • Get to “The Heart of the Matter”(Don Henley anyone?)
    • Is your current pain point a symptom, or the root of the problem? Low response rates or conversation rates are common struggles we hear about. Take a step back and look beyond the asset or report at-hand. In doing so, you will see opportunities for greater improvement beyond honing in on something more surface level, like switching the color or text on a form’s submit button. Initiatives like appropriate segmentation and targeting hold huge potential, and are often left untapped.
  • Pick that low-hanging revenue fruit
    • You inevitably have more than one segment you’re marketing to, but within that universe there are going to be specific groups that hold more revenue-driving potential than others. When thinking of launching or optimizing efforts, begin with your top-priority prospects. This breaks something like launching drip programs into a sizable workload that you can create, launch, and begin to benefit from. You can work on the lower-priority segments later.

The most important thing you can do for your organization is consciously be proactive in your Pardot usage and goal setting. Rather than just reacting to current reports and optimizing existing efforts, actively look for opportunities for improvement, then prioritize and attack them in manageable pieces.