Marketing OKRs: What are some examples?

Marketing OKRs: What are some examples?

by Sam Prince


Published on 08.26.2019

OKRs (objectives and key results) are a powerful way for any organization, industry, or team to set, track, and reach their most audacious goals. Marketing teams are no exception. In fact, in John Doerr's "Measure What Matters", marketing OKRs are shared again and again throughout the book.

In one particularly poignant portion, Mike Lee, co-founder of MyFitnessPal, shared a marketing OKR goal from when the app was just starting out back in the 2000s. Lee writes, "Things came to a head over a top-priority marketing OKR for personalized emails with targeted content. The objective was well constructed: We wanted to drive a certain minimum number of monthly active users to our blog content. One important key result was to increase our click-through rate from emails."

While Lee presents this OKR in sentence format, the actual way to write an OKR is very simple: Objectives are goals and intents, while Key Results are time-bound and measurable milestones under these goals and intents. They are also typically done quarterly, which is called an "OKR cycle."

So, this particular OKR presented by Lee would be written as:

O: Drive 10k monthly active users to our blog posts.

  • KR1: Increase our click-through rate (CTR) 20% from emails.

However, this OKR could be made even better by pairing it with a quality metric.

It’s great to have an increase in CTR, but pairing KR1 with a less than 5% unsubscribe rate would make the Objective even better. So it would be written like:

  • KR1A: Increase our click-through rate (CTR) 20% from email with a less than 5% unsubscribe rate.

Having this addendum ensures that all subscribers could be potential conversions who actually want to receive communications.

Why are marketing OKRs important?

Having well-thought-out marketing OKRs is perhaps one of the most important things because it really pushes the transparency tenet of OKRs. Every team depends on marketing because marketing depends on every team. If no customers know about an upcoming product or new feature, sales can't do anything with it. In a high-functioning OKR environment, transparency and alignment make people more diligent about communication. So making sure that marketing is aligned and has all the information needed to actually market is of utmost importance.

In a recent training, Doerr echoed the value of transparency as central to getting the most out of using OKRs. He said, “There will be loud, very noisy arguments about, well, if we're going to adopt this, okay, we're going to have to trade off this one.”

And while the word “argument” usually has a pejorative connotation, it doesn’t have to. An argument is simply “a discussion involving different points of view.” Getting these opposing points of view out there and debated at the forefront of an OKR cycle is a healthier alternative to what happens to company culture when honest discussions about goal-setting priorities and exchange of information are suppressed—especially when it comes to marketing.

So often marketing teams feel caught between a rock and a hard place. Ultimately, they do have a large responsibility for bringing in the revenue. This level of pressure can cause tension when they overpromise and underdeliver. But if these promises weren’t just simply that, “promises,” but discussed objectives with clear, concise, and measurable results, then departmental miasma would be less likely to arise. The “arguments” would have happened before it even gained ground. The big picture and its progress is clear, not noxious.

Aaron Butkus, the executive chef of pizza startup Zume, said it like this: "If I’m creating a new seasonal pie, I can’t do it on the spur. Marketing needs to know at least a week ahead of time, and then photo and design have to take pictures. It affects every department—the product manager’s website, the tech team and their mobile app. The OKRs keep me centered and on track. They guarantee that I get the recipe done in time for everyone who’s waiting on it. My deadline’s built into a key result. I can see the bigger picture more clearly.”

Marketing OKR examples

If you're looking for inspiration on how you can align with the bigger picture to reach your company goal of capturing marketing leads, bettering your organic search results, increasing your website visitors, and engaging with industry influencers, check out some of the marketing OKR examples below:

O: Be the most trusted car-sharing service among millennials.

  • KR1: Launch charity roundup opt-in option for all rides.
  • KR2: Publish a carbon offset report and get coverage in national newspapers.
  • KR3: Add gender neutral gender pronoun product feature for users.

O: Increase the number of monthly blog subscribers 2x.

  • K1: Expand distribution method of blog to RSS news aggregators like Apple News, Google News, and Flipboard.
  • K2: Implement subscriber call-to-action (CTA) on landing page for new, uncookied unique visitors.
  • K3: Begin 2 campaigns with prizes offered for new blog subscriptions.

O: Get 50% of all content on the first page of Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

  • KR1: Write at least 3 pieces of new content/week tailored to SEO.
  • KR2: Use online visibility and marketing analytics software to check old content to see how it can be optimized.
  • K3: Mandate that all images in the content have alt text and titles.

O: Get one micro-influencer/week to share our content.

  • K1: Reach out to 5 industry experts/thought leaders every week for promotional purposes.
  • K2: Check their social media for performance issues (bought followers, etc.)

Where can I get more information?

Are you in marketing? Did you find this guide to OKRs for marketing useful? Let us know by emailing us here and be sure to check out all the other FAQs, Resources, and Stories here on WhatMatters.com.

Or, if you're looking for an OKR coach, check this out.

Sam Prince (@samprincetweets) is a journalist, storyteller, and the content strategist of WhatMatters.com.


MORE

FAQ

Pairing quantity and quality key results is a great strategy to strengthen OKRs. Learn how to do it with these examples.

FAQ

Bottom-up OKRs sparks innovation by freeing individual employees to be creative. Here are some examples.

FAQ

Looking for some good examples of customer service or support OKRs? Check out these real-world examples to be inspired to be proactive with customer success.

FAQ

"OKR" stands for "objective and key result." OKRs are a goal-setting tool that helps figure out what you want your team to accomplish and how to do it.

FAQ

If you’re feeling that your OKR cycle is not working, take a step back and try to pinpoint the problem. Here are some ways to do that.

FAQ

Many people wonder "how to find my purpose." For most, it’s going to take spending time to find your passion. But this goal-planning technique can help hone in.

FAQ

Inputs are the tasks needed to be done to reach your goal. Outputs are the outcomes needed. Learn more about inputs vs. outputs here to write more powerful goals with OKRs.

FAQ

Great sales OKRs can take your sales team to the next level with these Objectives and Key Results examples. Use them to help with revenue and bridging the gap between company and customer.

FAQ

Committed or aspirational OKRs both serve different purposes and have separate ways they can be acted upon. Learn how here.

FAQ

What are some examples of OKRs and how do I write them? Get ideas for bettering your OKRs or compare your current ones to gain insight.

FAQ

When a new or significantly recalibrated high-level quarterly OKR comes up, what’s the best way to keep your team unified?

FAQ

Common OKR mistakes are all litmus tests to decide: Are you really measuring what matters? Check and see with these common OKR mistakes taken from Google’s OKR playbook.

FAQ

Cascading OKRs will help align the various teams and individuals across your company toward the same overall goals. Here are some examples.

FAQ

What is a good number of OKRs to have? When it comes to objectives and key results, what to focus on can seem like an objective itself. Here’s the answer.

FAQ

Why use OKRs? Because OKRs are about way more than just having goals. Objectives and key results help you articulate how you're going to achieve them.

FAQ

Are you looking for an OKR coach, speaker, or author? Let John Doerr and the "Measure What Matters" team guide you through OKRs with FAQs, Resources, and Stories.

FAQ

If you’re looking for paid ways to scale OKR adoption and usage across a company these tools might be something to look into.

FAQ

Organizations that are mission-based can be rewarding but it can be easy to drift from the original mission. Learn how OKRs are great for keeping nonprofits on-track.

FAQ

OKRs are great for software engineers because they prioritize ideas and assign metrics to completion. Get inspired by these real-world software engineering OKR examples here.

FAQ

A well-defined company purpose provides a clear vision and inspiration for your team. Learn how to find your company's mission with these strategies.

FAQ

The 5 key benefits of OKRs include focus, alignment, commitment, tracking, and stretching. Learn more about each of them and how they work here.

FAQ

“OKRs” stands for Objectives and Key Results. They are a tool used by individuals, teams, and companies like Google for setting ambitious goals.

FAQ

OKRs can be used for office administration to help improve productivity and efficiency across your entire operation. Learn how with these examples.

FAQ

If you’re approaching the end of on OKR cycle, it may be time to refresh on how to grade them. Here are some examples of how.

FAQ

OKRs are great for setting personal goals outside of the office. Learn how to use them to think through unambiguous life goals.

FAQ

What free tools and software are available for tracking OKRs? If you're looking for a budget-friendly way to commit to transparency, here are some ideas.

FAQ

Company-wide OKRs help align teams and provide clarity throughout entire organizations. Spark inspiration for your company with these examples.

Join the community

Join the community

Get exclusive guidance from John, Ryan, and the What Matters team by signing up for our weekly newsletter, Audacious. You’ll learn week-by-week how to sharpen your OKRs and stay on track to reach your goals.

Get exclusive guidance from John, Ryan, and the What Matters team by signing up for our weekly newsletter, Audacious. You’ll learn week-by-week how to sharpen your OKRs and stay on track to reach your goals.