Which metrics move you forward?

Pie charts and metrics

Last month, I addressed goal-setting as a critical step to more effective marketing. If you’re onboard with that concept–that goals are critical in order to achieve better results–the next step is to decide which metrics are worth your attention.

Let’s keep it simple:

  1. What is the desired outcome for your organization?
  2. What marketing goals support that outcome?
  3. What metrics support these marketing goals?

A note of caution—just because something can be measured does not make it important. Marketo co-founder Jon Miller warns, “When it’s hard to measure business outcomes, marketers use metrics that stand in for those numbers.” Often referred to as vanity metrics, these numbers typically measure marketing activity (i.e. website traffic, social media followers, etc.) but don’t necessarily correlate to results (desired outcomes).

And another note of caution—something that may not be important on its own (a vanity metric) can become valuable when it becomes part of the bigger-picture process. If you can correlate an increase in social media followers to an increase in social media engagement, to an increase in website landing page visits, to an increase in sales leads, you’re onto something! Identifying these connections is what makes the individual metrics meaningful.     

so how do you choose meaningful metrics?

The Content Marketing Institute suggests two questions:

  1. Do the metrics support my key goals?
  2. Can I act on these metrics?

As examples (also courtesy of CMI), a goal of increased brand awareness might be measured by an increase in website traffic, page views or document downloads. A goal of increased engagement might be measured by an increase in blog or social media comments, likes and shares, or link click-throughs. A goal of increased lead generation might be measured by an increase in form completions or sign-ups.

Again, the key to making any of these metrics meaningful is making sure the goals they support actually move you closer to achieving the desired outcomes for the organization. Using the goals above as an example, the presumption is that increased brand awareness leads to increased engagement, followed by increased lead generation (followed by increased sales and achievement of the desired outcomes). Remember—it’s not enough to monitor and measure these increases individually. They need to be part of the bigger-picture process–one goal feeding the next–that moves you toward achievement of your desired outcome. If the process stalls, you can more easily identify where the problem lies, make adjustments, and get things moving again.  

what do you do with the information you track?

Look for correlations between specific marketing activities and changes in your metrics. This will clue you in to what activities are influencing movement in metrics and contributing to your desired outcomes. And remember, none of your tracking efforts will matter if you don’t do anything with the insights you discover! Make adjustments as you go until you identify the activities that are most effective in helping you achieve your desired outcomes.

Need help making sense of all of this, or making the time to make it happen? Let’s talk. I can help you formulate a plan to help you achieve your desired outcomes.

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