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Stop Drowning in Metrics and Optimize KPIs That Move the Needle

by Steve Bonnell  |  
January 19, 2018
  |  3,877 views

There are countless ways for a baseball team to win a game. Maybe it ends up being a 1-to-0 duel between two ace starting pitchers. Or maybe it's a high-scoring affair—a wild 10-to-7 game with plenty of home runs and questionable pitching performances—yielding a bounty of baseball statistics ranging from the traditional (batting average, strikeouts, runs batted in) to the advanced (batting average on balls in play, fielding-independent pitching, on-base plus slugging).

If you're an analytical sports fan like me, all those numbers are pieces in a bigger performance puzzle. But, at the end of the day, one metric matters above all else: wins.

In the same way that there's no trophy given to the team with the highest slugging percentage or the fewest runners left on base each year, successful marketing campaigns aren't determined based on diagnostic metrics alone.

Don't fall into the trap of letting these middle metrics dominate your campaign at the cost of wins.

Don't do anything without a solid measurement plan


Most companies want to enter into digital marketing campaigns with well-defined objectives. Marketing agencies often embrace that approach because it gives them a target and a way to prove progress is being made. Boosting total webpage visits, increasing open rates, and reducing average cost per click are common examples of digital marketing objectives.

Unfortunately, such a singular focus on one component of a complex customer journey can prove detrimental to a company's bottom line. A marketer charged with boosting website visits will diligently work toward that goal, but the benefit is meaningless when the new visitors do not become profitable customers or do not convert at all. The same principle applies throughout the system: A celebration for a 10% drop in cost per click is short-lived when Sales reports that it experienced a 15% crash in revenue during the same period.

To avoid this problem, it is necessary to define goals and the ways they will be measured—before developing a digital marketing strategy.


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Steve Bonnell is the director of digital analytics at DRUM Agency, which focuses on creative content, media, technology, and analytics.

LinkedIn: Steve Bonnell

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  • by MinnaL Mon Jan 29, 2018 via web

    Spot on. It is easy to get lost in the measurement jungle. I tend to use Sales leads as the KPI. Lot's of things need to happen to get a good sales lead, normally web site traffic has increased, good content has been created, form conversions rates have improved etc. but ultimately the valuable work is seen on sales lead amounts. I don't like to use pure sales as a marketing metric as there is only so much marketing can do to close the deal. If a lead's RFQ or question isn't answered, what can marketing do to sales team management - not much. Marketers can mostly affect and drive things which create leads.
    What do others use as Marketing KPIs?

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