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Data shows improved goal orientation leads to better business performance - here's how

by Kim Walker

September 30, 2022

Collaborating teams have an opportunity to improve their relationship with each other by improving the goal-orientation in their project management, according to new data from business relationship experts Aprais.

Figures drawn from our global database of more than 25,000 client-agency evaluations over 20 years have highlighted clear opportunities for clients to improve their scores by 34 points, and agencies by 35 points, by addressing how they set and measure goals and objectives.

Our analysis shows that those who perform best overall in evaluations score very highly for their goal orientation. In essence, goals are about efficiency and effectiveness, and are therefore crucial to harmonious relationships between teams.

Goals is one of the seven behavior characteristics we measure. The others are: Accountability; Challenge; Communication; Functional (ability to do the job); Trust and Resilience.

The new data shows that over the last decade, scores for goals have improved by 8% suggesting that agencies and marketers are responding to the need for clear and measurable objectives, although there are still opportunities for poorer-performing marketing teams to improve in this area.

The figures also show that being more goal-orientated can help poor performing agencies close the gap to their top-scoring compatriots.

The elevated importance of goals as a mark of excellence in the eyes of marketing clients in particular reflects the time-sensitivity of the industry and the demands on agencies as service providers.

What do we mean by goals?

Goals help marketing teams determine their priorities and then behave in alignment with those priorities, allowing colleagues and customers to align with or question them.

Operating by clearing defined goals allows teams to optimize their time management and set clear business priorities.

To improve efficiency and effectiveness, team goals should align with SMART criteria: specific; measurable; attainable; relevant and time-bound. Using SMART criteria also helps foster a clear and mutual understanding of what constitutes expected levels of performance.

How to improve goal orientation

As the list below illustrates, improving goal orientation is more than goal- setting. It requires a thorough re-think of business practices that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teams.

For agencies

1. Provide a detailed scope of work to ensure alignment on key deliverables and added value.

2. Provide regular budget updates, and inform the client immediately of any possible over-runs.

3. Proactively evaluate performance against set strategies and objectives.

4. Consistently deliver on project milestones and due dates.

5. Establish effective systems to share best practice.

For clients

1. Establish clear, measurable objectives for each campaign.

2. Inform and update the agency on project priorities and focus resources accordingly.

3. Provide realistic budgets and timelines.

4. Consistently and methodically assess work against the agreed brief.

5. Ensure alignment of all internal stakeholders around brand vision and objectives


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