SMART is a methodology used to define goals and set tasks. The inventor of the SMART scheme is George T. Doran. He described this approach in the article ‘There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives’ for the magazine Management Review in 1981.

There are various ways to decipher the abbreviation SMART. The most well-known interpretations:

SMART is Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Assignable, Relevant/Realistic, and Time-bound/Time-limited.

There are also extended versions of this model, for example, SMARTER, in this case, two more criteria are added, which are interpreted variously in different sources. You may encounter the following options: Evaluated and Reviewed, Evaluate consistently and Recognize mastery, Exciting and Recorded, and others. Each criterion in SMART has its characteristic. Let’s see what they mean.


At this stage, you should answer the questions that begin with What? Who? Where? You must set a goal so that it is clear not only to you but also to everyone else who will participate in the process of achieving it. You can ask questions such as:

What do we want to achieve? What exactly do you need to do for this? Who will do it? Where will you do it?

You must plainly understand the result of your actions. Unambiguously formulate the goal, so that there is no temptation to interpret it differently.


Here we are talking about indicators. It is necessary to set some value that we need to achieve. As a rule, it is expressed in quantitative terms (pieces, percent, money, etc.), but qualitative indicators can also be used. Everyone chooses the right one for themselves, the main thing is that these selected metrics can be tracked and compared. It is with the help of this data that we will be able to see the progress, as well as understand whether the goal has been achieved or not.

SMART scheme


We all dream about something, we want something, but we need to clearly understand which of our dreams are real, that is, feasible, and which are not. The same applies to goals. If you set a goal that is not achievable for objective reasons, then you will at least waste your time and effort. You will only be left with a sense of frustration, and this is certainly not what we are aiming for. Therefore, set achievable goals, to assess the situation and the resources that you have.


Before you set a goal, you must understand its necessity. Is the chosen objective important? There are cases where even when you reach some goals, you do not get what you expected, because, in the end, your goal does not relate to the overall direction of the activity. This can be seen especially clearly in the business sector. Your specific goal should correspond to the company’s mission, its overall development, and relate to other tasks. If you notice contradictions after the analysis, then you should think again about your goal.


The time frame is also very significant, if you do not limit yourself, then the whole process can be delayed for an indefinite period. Your goal may lose its relevance when you complete it. You can set intermediate values, each period will correspond to the steps to achieve your goal, and then track whether you are investing in the schedule. There must also be a deadline by which you must reach your goal.

So, we looked at five criteria for setting a goal using the SMART methodology. All five criteria have the same meaning, it is by adhering to all five points that you will be able to correctly formulate the objective.

This methodology is suitable for various fields of activity. Let’s look at it on the example of marketing.

SMART Marketing

The company XXX has designed a development strategy, according to which the management would like to see a strong and recognizable brand. To do this, it is proposed to prepare a plan of marketing activities that will be aimed at achieving strategic goals. For each event, an objective must be set in accordance with the SMART methodology. For example, increase the company’s brand awareness by 10% among subscribers of print industry media in Western Europe through advertising by the beginning of Q4 2021.

This objective matches the five criteria, it is clearly defined and understood, measurable (10%), achievable (we chose the real figure and the real deadline), corresponds to the strategic goals, and has a specific deadline (by the beginning of Q4 2021).

SMART helps you set a goal correctly, and when you have a distinct objective, it will be much easier for you to reach it.

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