OKRs for Marketing Teams

Establishing OKRs for your marketing team presents a set of challenges unique to the department. Whereas other departments’ areas of focus may be more conducive to establishing quantifiable metrics that are made for tracking and reporting, the nature of marketing work necessarily entails a much broader and less defined industry standard for establishing and maintaining metrics.

Due to its highly subjective nature, marketing teams across various industries may have an overabundance of metrics or may have too few in place to establish an effective OKR.

The nature of the OKR method necessitates establishing clearly defined, measurable and quantifiable metrics (key performance indicators). In order to create the structure of an OKR, marketing teams must establish metrics before they will be able to clearly define key results under each objective.

Though marketing metrics may seem more abstract and more difficult to track than those of, for example, sales teams, there are some ways to take marketing strategies in place and translate them into meaningful metrics to begin writing your marketing team’s OKR.

The metrics for marketing may be altogether different from those in other departments, but a great place to start is by looking at the objectives and key results in place at the highest levels, and then working downward from there.

For example, even though your marketing team may not be compensated by revenue-specific incentives like the sales team may be, it is still true that sales and revenue performances at least factor into the ways in which your marketing team builds its future strategies. Though your marketing team may not be in any way responsible for customer service, customer retention and new customer metrics play a significant part in the decisions they make.

So it’s worthwhile to investigate the OKRs and metrics from other departments from the top down as a starting point to identify your marketing team’s metrics. It’s very likely that the more abstract concepts that drive your marketing team forward could easily be translated into something finite, measurable and trackable for the purposes of developing your marketing OKR.

A Few Examples of Metrics That Your Marketing Team Could Make Use of Include:

  • Gross margin and profit
  • Qualified leads/revenues gained from leads
  • Conversion metrics
  • Media mentions and press presence
  • Customer-related metrics
  • Revenue-related metrics
  • New acquisition cost percentages

And so on. All of these are factors that are likely already at play in some way in your marketing teams’ strategies and production, and simply need to be phrased and tracked in such a way that they become measurable metrics and, therefore, candidates for factors in your marketing-specific OKR.

It’s important to bear in mind that, as your marketing team is likely to remind you, there will always be factors at play in marketing that will simply remain abstract and immeasurable. It’s perfectly fine to accept this reality — simply work with the metrics that can be quantified to identify your key results and objectives for your OKR.

To begin writing your marketing team’s OKR, as with any other OKR, begin with the overarching objective before identifying key results.

The objective should be broad, flexible but highly ambitious — for example, for your marketing team that may look something like any of these:

  • Make our company the most recognized name in the country in our industry.
  • Increase social media platform marketing for newly released products in 2018.
  • Improve production process for advertising campaigns.

These are broad, but still well-defined objectives conducive to the establishment of key results. Though these examples may seem too abstract to apply concrete metrics, with your thorough research of other departments’ metrics and priorities, each of these objectives can be broken down into measurable implements to achieve the objective.

So let’s take the second objective and see what that would look like.

Objective: Increase social media platform marketing for newly released products in 2018.

  • Key result 1: Gain 3,000 new followers on each social media platform this quarter.
  • Key result 2: Increase social media post engagement to at least 5,000 per post for each new product.
  • Key result 3: Increase 5-star review percentage on company business page on social media.

It’s important to remember that key results and tasks are not the same thing. Tasks are what your team will do in order to yield the key result. So for example, where Key Result 1 is to gain new followers, then the tasks your team may take to achieve that would be to incentivize their existing followers to share the page in exchange for a raffle entry.

Doing things right is important. But doing the right things is vital.


Doing things right is important. But doing the right things is vital.