As you near the end of the first quarter, are you seeing the results you expected? Chances are that any shortcoming may have more to do with clarity of focus than any failure of execution.

You’ve set your marketing strategy for the year, aligning your objectives with the CEO’s. Well done.  As you near the end of the first quarter, are you seeing the results you expected? Chances are that any shortcoming may have more to do with clarity of focus than any failure of execution. Don’t take any risks, make sure you ladder your goals (and accountability) to individuals on your team.


At some enterprises, I’ve seen a flow down of objectives take three to four months. Each level of hierarchy carefully determines their realistic and stretch goals for the fiscal year. It’s like playing telephone as the message gradually changes from top to bottom.  Each level relies on the level below it to ensure objectives are signed off on to formally engage everyone in the objective setting process. Download the Hierarchy of Goals tool to cascade accountability in a meaningful way.


Proper laddering of objectives enables two beneficial outcomes: Alignment and efficiency.


  • Alignment ensures each marketing team members understand how they contribute to the company and how they are connected to executive objectives. 


  • Efficiency ensures team members have a clear sense of what they’re responsible.


Team members can focus less on deciding what to do and more on actually doing it. Understanding individual responsibilities also provides a sense of accountability and morale building from clear purpose.


Just as in commission-based roles, marketing team members need objectives they can control or influence. Objectives that create the basis for their year-end appraisal. These individual objectives should clearly link up the hierarchy chain, back to the CMO and CEO objectives.


Below you will see how a single objective cascades across a marketing team. Each individual contributor has a Behavior Indicator and Leading Indicator that they either control or strongly influence. 




After laddering, one way to ensure alignment is by quizzing any marketing staff member.


  • Do they know the marketing objectives?
  • Do they understand how their objectives are connected? How are they applying objective KPIs?


The above provides a single page view of how all objectives connect to controllable KPIs. Achieving real alignment within a marketing organization where strategy, objectives, and KPIs reinforce one another, gives an organization a clear advantage, as everyone has a clear purpose of contribution.


Download the Hierarchy of Goals Tool to access a proven framework to map your objectives to individual contributors.


Ginger Smith - Senior Consultant - Hierarchy of Goals Tool



Ginger Smith

Leverages classical training in innovation to transform marketing, sales, and product pain points into growth opportunities that help clients meet their number.

Ginger is a strategic transformation leader with over 10 years experience. She has an innate nature to seamlessly connect high-level strategy with essential low-level details for successful returns on investments.  With expansive international and domestic experience – living and working in NA, APAC, and EMEA – she has proven success transforming government, nonprofits and Fortune 100s across industries. Her demonstrated skill sets in data analysis, sales, product launches, personas, marketing strategy, change management, and program management are supplemented by her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and PMP. Ginger is a data-driven leader who motivates clients with compassion and autonomy.

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