It's no secret that analytics—related to your revenue, website, customers, and brand—should be a cornerstone of any marketing program. Tracking external metrics such as leads, traffic, and conversion rates are pretty much a given. But what about internal metrics?

In a Birkman International survey, only one-third of the companies surveyed said they measured employee productivity. If your external metrics dip, wouldn't it also be as important to measure how productive your marketing department is at executing the programs on which the company relies?

Without department performance-related analytics, it's nearly impossible to pinpoint where changes need to be made and what areas need to be improved. Gut instinct is important; it just can't be your go-to metric if you want to show executives that you are getting the most out of the people and other resources that you have.

How should productivity be measured? You have a lot of options, but not all are created equal. Here are three types of internal marketing metrics with specific measurements you should be tracking to help ensure greater effectiveness, efficiency, and predictability for your team.

1. Efficiency

In any company, there are new initiatives to execute and there are the things that simply must be done every day. Whether your business is large or small, when you reinvent the wheel at every new business opportunity... you are wasting precious resources.

Efficiency metrics that improve typically result in saved time and saved money. Unchecked inefficiencies are discouraging and improvident.

To measure efficiency, you will need to track the following:

  • Time spent in status-update meetings. You should know how often you or your team is pulled into any status meeting or provides updates about work status via email. Once you see how time much is spent in status updates, you can begin to pinpoint how often these activities are redundant. You can also use that data to set up routing rules for certain pieces of communication, reducing the need for meetings than are not needed.
  • Work success vs. failure rates. That seems like a simple measurement. However, if you don't know definitively how often your website updates are launching versus being postponed or canceled, for example, then you won't know whether the failure is chronic or a one-time thing. Tracking any project failure can also show you the cost associated with lost team hours or missed sales, so you can take steps to address the reasons for delay.
  • Time spent and resources used on repeatable work. Knowing exactly how much time and resources you spend on any activities you do over and over again, such as executing a quarterly demand-generation campaign, will let you find an average completion time and then facilitate opportunities to streamline processes and implement productive solutions, such as templates.
  • Frequency of work interruption. Unplanned and unpredictable crises such as unexpected client needs, pet projects from upper management, and unforeseen end-of-day demands play their part in interrupting your planned workflow. Interruptions are costly time-sucks. Tracking interruptions as a team clarifies why and how each interruption came about and gives you a starting point to discuss changes in policy, such as dedicated no-call times and email autoresponders.

2. Effectiveness

It won't matter how efficient your team or department is if it cannot produce real results. Measuring effectiveness can be less tangible, but typically results in quality improvements and better decisions. An effective team uses the right people to get the right things done in the right amount of time.

To measure effectiveness, you will need to track the following:

  • How much work is aligned to company strategy. Go down the list of your department's projects and answer yes or no to the following question: Does this work align with our company goals and strategy? When your work is aligned to corporate goals, it will be effective. Determining alignment improves prioritization and gives managers and executives the assurance that everyone is working on the right work, and you can make future decisions accordingly.
  • Real-time resource projections. Poor projections of how long, how many people, and how much money something will take manifests itself with late delivery, poor work quality, loss of revenue, and frustrated team members. Tools that allow reporting of real-time data and visibility to track projects as they are in progress will allow you to anticipate resource needs and eliminate bottlenecks before they happen. Use such data to create better processes, allowing for increased output with the team you already have instead of hiring more people to throw at existing broken processes.
  • Campaign deliverables. Effective teams track the on-time delivery rate and cost associated with launching a campaign. Avoiding this will thwart demand generation efforts and affect the external metrics you rely on to determine the quality of the content and success of the campaign. Erin Fray, a senior graphic designer at House of Blues, finds tracking deliverables invaluable: "When my VP runs in wondering what's going on with the project, I can quickly pull up the data and show where it sits, and that all comments have been perfectly time stamped and recorded."

3. Predictability

An efficient and effective team produces predictable results. Knowing with better accuracy how long campaigns or projects take, how much they cost, and how many people need to be working on them, allows you as well a executives and other stakeholders to use that data in your future planning sessions.

To measure predictability, you can track the following:

  • How well the team plans. You must track and know how long it takes you to plan specific activities. If it takes your team two months to plan the next quarter's activities, you can set that expectation with other teams who rely on your efforts. Knowing this is tied to efficiency: You can look at reducing time in areas that have caused delays.

    At Harry & David, for example, Director of Creative Services Greta Mikkelsen says they capture the number of projects that come through the creative department, rounds of work that are completed on a specific project, and projects that are completed during a specific time period. Mikkelsen confirms that tracking this data helps streamline workflows and better align resources for current and future projects as well as develop annual budgets and project plans.
  • How well the plan is executed. Track the percent of campaign completion by stage along with recorded hours and budget spend. Doing so will help predict future financials associated with campaigns and allow you to catch any tasks that historically slip out of their on-time state.
  • Team on-time rate. Track the percent of on-time versus late deliverables by your team and individual members. Monitor patterns—good and bad—that develop with tasks that are due with regular frequency so you have historical data to use when deciding future campaign budgets and resources. Once the data shows predictable trends, it will be a point of pride knowing your process and results are something a CMO can set his watch by.


Strategically, these analytics will effectively help you analyze the strength and future of your company. Creating and maintaining a marketing department that is analytics-focused will help you save time on repeatable work, develop your strategy for scheduling ad hoc work and interruptions, and more effectively allocate your resources.

Even better, having a single place to communicate progress and share the data you are gathering will give the visibility needed to fix your processes and reduce delays in all types of work, leading to the ability to do more with less, save money, and meet important deadlines.

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Three Must-Have Internal Metrics for Productive Marketing Teams

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image of Bryan Nielson

Bryan Nielson is the CMO and work management evangelist at AtTask, maker of cloud-based enterprise work management solutions. He is the author of the e-book The Five Most Dangerous Marketing Productivity Myths: BUSTED!

LinkedIn: Bryan Nielson

Twitter: @AtTask