What Are Metrics and Why Do They Matter?
How do marketing professionals know that their strategies are working? Are their campaigns and programs providing an ROI for their business or clients? The answer is simple…
they track the progress of all activities. When operations aren’t working, marketers will make adjustments, but not blindly. Educated decisions are used to form plans based on trends and specific user activities; in other words – metrics are used.
So what are metrics? Is it the same as a measure? Ruth Henderson of Forbes magazine describes the differences well, “A measure is one quantitative number that counts something. e.g. We made $100,000 profit last quarter. A metric gives you more information because it compares the measure to some other baseline. e.g. We made $100,000 profit last quarter, $50,000 more than the same quarter last year.”
Metrics are solid, useful comparisons but not all are created equal. There are many different kinds of metrics and understanding them and their uses is vital for creating a productive marketing strategy. Outcome metrics show the performance of activities in the past; for example user stats on how successful (or not) a campaign was. These tend to be seen as slightly less useful than others as it is ‘too late’ once a program is over to make adjustments. However, these metrics can prove to be vital when preparing a new strategy based on previous program results.
Performance metrics provide maximum value as they are obtained while the campaign is still in progress. Examples of these types of benchmarks are: tracking revenue gained, monitoring the customer use data on a website, or gauging the number of sales calls an agent made in a certain time period. Monitoring these metrics throughout the length of a certain marketing initiative allows for making adjustments as you go, which could actually change the outcome of activities, providing a higher ROI.
In order to accomplish performance metrics, however, strategic planning needs to be at the core of your marketing policies. An ample amount of time and a clear SMART goal should be premeditated when launching a marketing initiative. The phases will need to run long enough to accomplish performance metrics and adjust strategies along the way. Don’t try just a ‘one off’ campaign with nothing to compare to or something that doesn’t run long enough to allow for adjustments. Year over year is when trends become more distinct and telling, so be patient with gaining and analyzing your results. Use concise metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and the results could be very pleasantly surprising.