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Align Your Organization Around Metrics That Matter

Marketers love metrics.

And marketers love to talk about metrics. In previous blog posts we’ve addressed metric measurement in almost every stage of marketing—from ABM to velocity reports and cost metrics. However, regardless of the hundreds of blog posts on KPIs, measurement is still one of the most difficult things for organizations to grasp—how to track the right performance indicators to get a real perspective on performance.

The reason for the struggle is that organizations create metrics without thinking far enough ahead. In order to measure the right things, you have to work backwards to understand how to reach the goal. I regularly get annoyed with metrics that have zero tie in to actual success.

Peter Drucker says it best: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

Take content for example. Someone read that increasing blog traffic will help build your brand. It fits nicely into a planning meeting to talk about executing X number of blog posts each week. Content teams get excited, editorial calendars get created, and suddenly everyone is a blogger.

What exactly does delivering X number of blog posts have to do with your overall goal? Does your team have a goal bigger than the number of posts? If so, are you sure they understand the goal? Posting 10 blogs a week will do jack for your brand if no one is reading it. How will you measure engagement? How will you measure its impact on revenue? How will sales use the content?

The only way to answer these questions is to understand the end goal. If you don’t have an answer for what success means, don’t waste your time.

Regardless of the project you are starting, do these three things to determine success:

  1. Define the end goal—across all departments. When you kick off a strategy, find out what each stakeholder needs to squeeze out of each tactic. You can deliver on more than one goal at a time. For example, if you’re writing blog posts, ask the sales department what they need to help further conversations and build a content plan around those needs.
  2. Create consistent processes that make metrics attainable. You are only as good as your process and no amount of tools or analytics can take the place quality strategy. If you are measuring a process that is broken—or rarely followed appropriately—the metrics are useless. Get the process in order, then measure its success. Remember, that any new goal or idea is useless if it doesn’t become a process that has a deliverable that will tie directly to the organization’s goal. So if you are measuring something that is producing inaccurate data, you are wasting your time.
  3. Have a clearly defined playbook. In a recent blog post we talked all about the need for a marketing playbook. A playbook is simply a formal document defining workflows with processes and procedures clearly explained. A good marketing playbook will include things like target accounts and buyer personas, channels and segments, engagement and roles and responsibilities. Regardless of the metric you are trying to reach, ensure that you have a proper playbook in place to help your team know how to achieve them.

Starting with the end goal in mind will eliminate the confusion for all parties. It can also give valuable insight into what is a priority in your organization—where to focus first an what to leave behind. In other words, metrics that matter to your organization.

Start with the end in mind and you’ll find success at the beginning.

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