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Outdoor events and the race season are moving into full swing here in Austin after the onset and continuation of some wonderful weather. Even athletes who are not planning to compete are honing their workout routines.

As I was taking stock of my own training plan, it occurred to me that the three key metrics categories we apply in the "sports" arena apply just as well to marketing: outcome, performance, and process.

Three Categories

Here quick definitions of those three categories.

1. Outcome metrics are what we want to achieve

Examples of business outcomes include things such as ranking in the top 3 in market share for a particular vertical, or expanding the footprint inside a customer segment by some number of new design wins.

However, even if we do our very best, we cannot always control outcomes. Customers may not have a budget, or they may go through an organizational change that affects buying decisions. And, of course, we cannot control competitors and what they may do in the market.

Good market research, solid competitive intelligence, and excellent customer relationships can all help ensure that we are setting realistic and achievable targets based on what we know about the situation and our capabilities.

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image of Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM