In general it is good to set clear objectives early in the planning process. Lacking clear objectives a plan has little chance at success. However, well thought out, measurable, and reasonable objectives bring clarity of purpose to the entire planning process. A heuristic that is useful in setting meaningful objectives is as follows; all objectives should include three things: Goals, Timeframes, and Benchmarks.
Goals provide us the desired outcome(s).
Timeframes provide us with a road map to when these goals will be achieved.
Benchmarks are the yardsticks or comparisons that we use to measure our progress.
A good statement of objectives is essential to the marketing planning process, and well written objectives include goals, timeframes, and benchmarks.