What is the SMART model? How to define goals according to SMART

The Smart model plays an important role in helping businesses achieve efficiency and productivity in marketing campaigns. What is the Smart model and how to define goals? Let's read the article below by Viindoo for a detailed answer! 

What is Smart Model?

Among many corporate governance models, the Smart model is the most effective goal-setting model. It helps businesses or marketing professionals establish and evaluate the feasibility and reasonableness of the goals in a marketing plan. 

Learn about the model SMART

Learn about the model SMART

SMART Goals will be evaluated based on five criteria: 

  • S - Specific

  • M - Measurable

  • A - Actionable 

  • R - Relevant

  • T - Time-bound

Benefits of SMART model in marketing

Using SMART model brings businesses benefits as follows:

Specify goals

After a quarter ends, the management team and employees will begin to develop new goals for the following quarters. There are many businesses that set macro goals and big ambitions. However, most of those are unclear, vague and not feasible in practice.

Setting goals in SMART

Setting goals in SMART

By meeting the criterias of the SMART model, managers can clearly define goals and eliminate unsuitable directions for the business. Objectives of businesses, hence, will be made clear and specific accordingly.

Increase the relevance and accuracy of goals

Smart goals will help businesses create an accurate and suitable plan for the development process. As a result, businesses will have an effective development orientation with the set goals. In addition, SMART goals are time-bound so that businesses have to arrange shorter, more necessary tasks.

Increasing relevance

Increasing relevance

Improve the measureability of the goal

Besides the benefits mentioned above, the model assists managers measure goals accurately. The SMART model will determine results and completion levels from the goal setting stage.

Right from the start, businesses should emphasize measurable factors. What results does the staff need to achieve? At what threshold are those goals accomplished? What results will be considered standard? All of these questions are resolved when setting goals with SMART.

Measure Objectives

Measure Objectives

Alignment with Company Objectives

Specific goals of each department with respect to the business’s objectives will be linked through the Relevant element. This is a bridge to help businesses promote their collective strength in facing difficulties and realizing great goals. In particular, businesses should prioritize accomplishing the best goals in one set rather than with single, uncoordinated efforts.

Appropriate business objectives

Appropriate business objectives

Enhance employee productivity

Time is the last element to be achieved in the SMART method. When setting goals to the SMART model, staff’s work results will be accurately measured and evaluated. Thus, employees will clearly understand that the goals and work they are doing directly contribute to the success of the business. 

Increase employee productivity

Increase employee productivity

Determine marketing goals according to SMART

SMART goals will help many businesses attain their long-term goals, however, managers still have difficulty setting goals in the SMART model. Then, how to set goals accurately?


First, it is important to define clear goals. When setting goals, managers must follow specific criteria. Conversely, when the goal is only summarized, without clarity, it will be difficult to measure the feasibility of that goal.

If you are in the marketing field, you know that KPIs are a measure of marketing activities’ effectiveness and you can come up with metrics to improve. For example, how many people visit your website, how many people sign up for new information, or what is the conversion rate for potential customers.

 Specific plan

Specific plan

An example of SMART model: Set a goal according to the SMART model as “Increase the number of website visitors by 15% compared to the previous period”. Avoid setting vague, general goals like “Increase the number of website visitors”. Including a specific number in the goal to better fit the SMART model


The next criterion in the model is measurable. Measurable is the easiest way for you to understand what you are doing or how to achieve the target in a specific timeline? Specifically, when formulating goals, managers must make sure that measurable goals are calculated in numbers.

Measurable goal

Measurable goal

SMART model example: You set a goal of 2 billion for the Sales department. Now you have to calculate in detail what the Sales department will have to do in the next quarter to reach that 2 billion . The specific goal may be divided into sales to partners in the form of B2B 1 billion and in form of B2C 1 billion.


Setting a goal with enough weight will motivate yourself and everyone to work towards the goal. On the other hand, it will create great pressure if set over employees' ability. That's why you need to set a realistic, achievable goal. A feasible goal should be one that the staff have both the skills and experience to achieve.

Goal Feasibility

Goal Feasibility

Example: The number of people visiting the business's website increased by 5% compared to the previous month. Targeting that number to 8 - 10% will be feasible and more realistic to setting it at 25%.


The letter R in the SMART model has two meanings. One means Realistic and the other is Relevant. However, they all mean that the goals of the business are consistent with the common vision. These goals, therefore, can solve the problems faced by other departments.

A relevant marketing goal in the SMART model will be one that aligns with the overall goals of the business. For example, can increasing the number of website visitors through Emails bring revenue to businesses? Can increasing the number of people viewing blog posts increase brand awareness?

Relevancy in setting Target

Relevancy in setting Target

Example: The general business goal is to increase sales by 20% over the previous month. Make sure the marketing goals you build are the right metrics so that you can set the goal of increasing sales.


Time is the last factor to take into account when setting goals with the Smart method. A specific timed goal according to the Smart model will help managers and staff stay on schedule. Having a better goal is the right thing to do, but if you pursue it for too long, you will quickly get bored since people do not know when to reach the goal.

Time to achieve the goal

Time to achieve the goal

Therefore, businesses should set a time limit for the completion of the goal to motivate their employees. From there, employees will try their best to complete the goal on time. If there is no time limit, they will not make efforts to achieve the goal which leads to procrastination.

For example Vinamilk's SMART model should have a specific goal of "Increasing the number of recipients of product information by 5% per month" instead of "Increasing the number of recipients of product information by 5%". The latter goal does not mention a certain period of time to accomplish that.

Example of how to define Marketing goals by Smart method

Example of a business set the goal for number of Email subscriptions to the SMART model: 

  • Goals: In 4 months, Email subscriptions increased by 60% by paying more Facebook advertising fees. Choose the posts that get the most engagement and impression to be more effective.
  • Specificity: Increase Facebook ad budget for posts with the most engagement and impression to increase email subscribers.
  • Measurable: Aim to increase email subscribers by 60%.
  • Attainable: About 2 months ago, the business adopted Email marketing. Through data analysis tools, the rate of email subscribers increased by 35% compared to the previous time. 
  • Relevant: The method of increasing the number of email recipients lead to the number of visitors to the website also growing rapidly, increasing awareness and attract more potential customers. Limited time within 4 months.
Example of Smart model

Example of Smart model

Comparing OKR and SMART


Both OKR and SMART models carry the characteristics of MBO which means towards achieving organizational success. Overall, the OKR model also has the same goal setting criteria as SMART.

  • Specificity: Define clear and directional goals. Key results delve into what goal achievement means

  • Measurable: Key results include metrics to measure progress on goals

  • Attainable: A viable OKR model based on time and existing business resources. However, businesses need to show ambition when setting benchmarks for key results. If 70% of the quota is completed, it can be considered a success.

  • Relevance: To ensure the progress of the whole business, all OKR models are ranked from low to high

  • Duration: Similar to SMART, it is necessary to set a start and end time for each OKR. Normally, the OKR period of the whole company will be 1 year and each department will be a quarter.




The biggest difference between OKRs and SMART goals is to create tiers and time frames. The duration of the top OKR when decentralizing to other OKRs can last 5, 10 years or longer. OKR goals will have to evolve along with the corporate vision and mission.

The SMART model has the advantage of being memorable, easy to use, and suitable for personal goal setting. However, SMART is simply the process of setting individual goals. As for OKR, it will upgrade with the context and status of the whole business.

Selecting a goal setting tool that integrates OKRs and SMART 

OKRs software combined with Viindoo’s SMART will be a tool to help you create OKRs and implementation plans. In addition, this software supports check-in, feedback recording and goal reporting of OKRs. Here are some advantages when businesses use Viindoo's OKRs software: 

  • Set goals and key results

  • Set a specific plan, follow the progress towards completing the goal

  • Improve internal commitment, exploit employee potential

  • Focus on important goals

  • Combine all resources to achieve the goal

  • Help each individual in the business understand the value they create

  • Empower employees

  • Build a culture of measuring and quantifying all activities.

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The article above contains the information about Smart model that Viindoo wants to share with businesses that want to put SMART model into the business process. Hopefully through the article, businesses know how to apply Smart in marketing effectively!

>>> See also: 

What is the SMART model? How to define goals according to SMART
Viindoo Technology Joint Stock Company, Trần Thị Lâm Anh December 3, 2022