From Data to Dollars: Measuring Metrics That Matter
By: Emma Steele | Sept. 22, 2023
“You can’t improve what you don’t measure,” and if you work in marketing, you know the industry LOVES data.
Data can be the hero or villain of every marketer’s story. Whether you find yourself drowning in a sea of metrics or alternatively asking what the term “social analytics” mean, numbers have influence on your company. They send powerful signals about how business is being impacted in addition to setting expectations for future intentions. While tracking too many metrics can water down the focus of what is to be accomplished, incomplete metrics can limit business growth. There is a fine line between data-driven obsession and becoming data ignorant. How can balance be achieved?
It is useful to begin by identifying the goals to be accomplished. Take the company AAA for example – their products and service offerings are historically most popular amongst an older demographic. If you are under the age of 40, its likely your AAA membership was either a gift or someone older than you is paying for it. AAA set a goal to expand their target market of customers to include more of those in the range of 20-30 years old. With an identified goal, the marketer is now able to develop the steppingstones towards achieving it.
Some will take the high road and track everything, while others will use trial and error, completely disregarding numbers. Neither path is efficient – this is when understanding the basics of a marketing metrics dashboard becomes useful. A smart, data-driven marketer will only focus on 3-5 primary metrics at a time, while only being aware of the rest. For example, if the goal is to expand the audience demographic to those in their 20s and 30s, tracking audience size may be useful, but not the most efficient. It should be a metric to be aware of, but not the primary focus. Tracking engaged demographics (the age, marital status, geographical location, etc. of those who interact with your social posts) would be more useful, as it would show what types of people enjoy what types of content.
Let’s compare it to a road trip- there’s a handful of metrics the driver cares about in the moment of getting to their destination. The amount of gas in the tank, the car’s speed, the temperature of the engine. However, those are not the only metrics your car tracks! The oil level, cleanliness of the air filter, tire pressure, and the amount of tread left on the tires are all important metrics for the driver to be aware of, but not necessarily at that moment. If the driver were to focus on all of those things while driving to their destination, they might get distracted and cause an accident! On the other hand, if the driver were to ignore all of those essential parts, there would be major problems in getting to the final destination, if they were to make it at all!
The same goes for marketers: trying to juggle too many metrics opens an opportunity to drop the ball, while juggling nothing makes no impact. Success is more easily found when a handful of carefully chosen metrics are purposefully selected and then centered around achieving a specific goal.
I challenge you to identify and think about the marketing-related goals your organization currently has set (And if none are set, it’s time to develop some!). What data is backing those goals? Could any data be added, subtracted, or be replaced to improve efficiency? How will you translate the quantifiable data into actionable steps of influence and growth?
To get you started, check out this article published by Hubspot. Although it is an extensive guide of metrics, remember: a data-driven marketer focuses on 3-5 primary metrics that are centered around their predetermined goal!