Marketing OKRs: Practical examples and how to use them

There are lots of ways for startups to approach how they set goals for their company and their teams. The OKR approach has gained popularity over the past few years for marketing teams of all sizes. OKR stands for “Objectives and Key Results.” and is built on the idea that goals are best met by building measurable actions, defining desired outcomes, and carefully monitoring progress along the way.

Think of Objectives as the destination — they are where you want your business to go. Most teams create several specific, top-level objectives each quarter to keep the team driving toward the same overarching goal.

Best practices for choosing OKRs

While objectives can take a wide range of shapes and forms, depending on your business and its needs, there are a few simple rules that will help set your OKRs up for success.

First, make sure your Objectives are motivational, ambitious, and high-level. They shouldn’t contain specific metrics or numbers, but they should offer clear direction toward a goal.

Next, take those metrics and numbers and put them in your Key Results. This is where your team will track progress and measure how close you are to your Objectives. Be sure that you have some influence over the metrics you choose to track so that you can build the right tactics and activities to drive results.

Those tactics and activities are called “Initiatives” in the OKR method. They are the things you must accomplish to achieve your OKRs. Your team should have full ownership over initiatives.

Examples of Marketing OKRs

If you’re not sure where to start in choosing OKRs for your team, here are a few examples for inspiration.

Inbound Marketing

Objective: Drive inbound marketing leads

Key Results:

  1. Increase whitepaper downloads by 15%
  2. Boost contact form submissions by 30%

Objective: Increase visitors to the new product landing page

Key results:

  1. Drive a 20% increase in click-through rates in the customer newsletter
  2. Refine organic search to drive website visitors

Content Marketing

Objective: Increase brand awareness through engagement with industry thought leaders

Key results:

  1. Secure five published interviews on industry websites
  2. Co-publish a thought leadership white paper with leading analyst

Objective: Improve blog readership

Key results:

  1. Boost blog subscribers by 30%
  2. Increase the number of shared blogs across platforms by 25%

Event Marketing

Objective: Hold the first annual user conference

Key results:

  1. Register 250 attendees
  2. Drive $500,000 in upsell/cross-sell revenue from event

Objective: Drive outbound marketing efforts

Key results:

  1. Secure two keynote speaking slots at industry events
  2. Increase event-driven leads by 25%

Email Marketing

Objective: Launch a weekly newsletter

Key results:

  1. Reach a click-through rate of 45% for email newsletters
  2. Convert 15% of newsletter click-throughs to demo requests

Objective: Maximize email marketing efforts

Key results:

  1. Drive a 150% increase in webinar registrations through targeted emails
  2. Boost e-book downloads by 25% through an email campaign

As you can see, the sky is the limit for your Objectives based on your unique business needs. First, define your top-level goals and must-achieve objectives for the quarter. Then, challenge your team, but be realistic about what they can accomplish in the time allotted and with the resources they have available to them.

As with anything else in business, OKRs will naturally gain momentum as your team experiences success along the way. Choosing attainable (but challenging) Objectives and aligning them to the right key results will keep your team motivated to succeed.

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