Goal setting for marketing

Set Goals with the REAN Model

Business goals should be clearly defined before any new initiative. But there are dozens of different ways to approach this, which often causes more confusion than clarity for brans lacking a sense of clear direction.

The REAN model is one of my favorite ways to set goals, especially for marketing activities.

What is REAN?

REAN (which stands for Reach, Engage, Activate, Nurture) was first coined by Xavier Blanc in 2006. It helps you plan ahead and analyze the complex marketing activities that are needed to build and nurture customer relationships. REAN stands for:

  • Reach: Marketing activities needed to raise awareness of your brand, product, or service. Off-line and online, from SEO to TV ads.
  • Engage: The gradual, often multi-channel set of activities needed to engage prospects. In analytics, measures the click depth and time spent interacting with your website.
  • Activate: The actions your prospects should and do take (i.e., defined and tracked calls to action)
  • Nurture: The activities needed to nurture relationships, such as the use of CRM, email newsletters, offers to come back to the site, etc.

Example of REAN Model For Goal Setting

To further explain how REAN works, let’s go through each stage with an example that applies to goal setting.


We hope to attain 50% more visitors to our website for keywords relating to Fuzzy Red Widgets through SEO and PPC.


We hope to attain 50% greater click depth and click duration by adding testimonials, case studies, video demonstrations, and a blog.


We hope to increase our conversion rate on the following:

  • Goal 1: More sales through the shopping cart for Fuzzy Red Widgets.
  • Goal 2: More downloads of our Fuzzy Red Widget whitepaper.

We will do this through testing headlines, and changes in buttons, text, color, images, font, and copy.


We hope to receive five more orders for Fuzzy Red Widgets per month and add three new prospect names and addresses into our system each day/month, etc. through the “download the Fuzzy Red Widgets whitepaper” form. We also hope to attain one more sale per month of Fuzzy Red Widgets through email newsletters offering coupons to people who have indicated interest specifically in this product.

Why Use the REAN Framework?

By using an organized set of steps, you can improve your workflow and prospects for long-term success. Here are some of the people who typically work on marketing campaigns and how they can benefit from a system such as REAN:

  • The top people in a company (e.g., a president or small business owner)
  • The marketing person or department
  • The “geeks” or techies (e.g., programmers, app developers)

If the president wants a splash page, you can tell her,“No problem, we can A/B test that with Visual Website Optimizer.” If the results are poor, she will be more likely to listen to you when you have statistics proving that x, y, or z doesn’t work. You can also state that the splash page is hampering the levels of reach, by hurting SEO rankings and engagement by turning people off, and so on. An organized model feels more “official” and helps you cover the critical steps with consistency.

If the geeks say the form on the site works just fine, you can share the analytics statistics and point out that you are trying to follow certain very detailed steps along a path of conversion. If they can play ball with your systematic steps, they will be helping a greater cause. Geeks like minute details and following a logical plan, rather than vague creative direction. Think like a geek when you’re presenting the REAN model.

If there is a battle between you and the marketing director, the geek, or the president over the best option, you can use analytics to ensure you are staying on track to satisfy the various points along the REAN model by selecting the best creative choice. If you can’t get funds for Saleforce.com and tie in with the site’s forms or shopping cart, you can point to the official marketing plan and note how important it is to follow each step in the system—such as nurturing leads through a CRM system/email newsletter.

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