Marketing Bullseye 7: 12 Steps to use Metrics to Get In the Heart of Your Business

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I have spoke at several conferences on 12 principles to put eBusiness into the heart of your business. However, these principles are applicable to bring about any change to the center of your culture – assuming your culture cares about metrics.

There is a heart in your business. It is often hard to articulate, but you know the people, meetings, and general culture from which most decisions and actions originate. Your project, program or department may or may not be in on this heart of the business. Often times, eBusiness is not at the heart of a corporation, for example.

Usually, change leaders are not at the center of day to day business. They are running the marathon and everyone in the day-to-day around them is running a sprint. So how do you make change happen that hits the marketing bullseye?

The best way to get into the heart of the business is to use metrics. Metrics can’t be ignored. They force attention of sprinters who are looking at metrics every day. And, they most importantly, they get the attention  of senior management. They give something for people to put on their resume. And they give your overachieving peers something to work towards.

The strategy is to create a system around you using metrics to build momentum for the right (bulls eye) projects, programs and initiatives.

Here are 12 Steps to use metrics to get to the heart of your business, in a Ready, Aim Fire approach:

Ready

1.    Democratize – standardize the data and give open access to the data or reports to the masses.
2.    Focus – what are the killer metrics / levers in the business? Does everyone know what these key metrics are?
3.    Own – give people ownership for  key metrics. Someone who pulls together the team to drive the metric, educate, evangelize, report.
4.    Partner – put goals in performance plans of cross-functional partners.

Aim

5.    Define – Define your metrics in ways people can understand. Use industry standards. Describe definitions in laymen’s terms, and educate the masses.
6.    Report – Create an easy to read, regularly updated, consistent report that is distributed widely.
7.    Co-habitate – Merge your analytics with standard business reporting. Where are the eyes on the business? Put your metrics there. Put them at the top. Don’t reinvent reports and channels.
8.    Visualize – Show some meaning behind the numbers. Connect emotionally, create internal buzz and sound bytes.

Fire

9.    Causate – Show the connections of what causes what: Y=f(x). This is a Six sigma methodology. Do A/B testing and pilots to show what moves these metrics people are now paying attention to.
10.    Extrapolate – Show what if scenarios. If we do this, this lever changes, makes this customer or P&L impact. Then extrapolate to larger number (a quarter of a year of impact) to get a lot of attention.
11.    Compete – Create internal competitions to improve metrics. Inspire people with stretch goals with a “Results Rabbit” for people to go after.
12.    Share – Present results of business impact related to web metrics. Show the impact to the business.

Usually the biggest impact you can make in a business is to create a system by which people pay attention to what is important. Create this system using metrics to shine a light on the right ideas and get people to change!

5 Responses

  1. I’m with you on thet criticality of measurement. We won’t improve — and we won’t rise to the next level — without it. But I wonder about the necessity for 12 steps.
    Can we radically simplify this concept and break it down still further so that more marketers can get one foot in front of another? Big B2C companies have technicians and analysts that are responsible for number-crunching. But most of us in the B2B realm have less data and less analytical skill.
    Nevertheless, most (or all) of us have things we could measure and improve. I’d like to know, for instance, how we can break this concept down for the interpersonal, high-touch, low(er) data realm in which most B2B marketing takes place. Any thoughts on the distinctions? Or are there none?

  2. Carol says:

    I’m a lifetime B2B marketer and definitely don’t have all the answers but some things I have found that work for me are these steps:
    1) set the top objectives — What do we need to achieve this year to ensure we are on track to meet long term objectives. What measures let us know if we have achieved that objective? Make sure everyone in marketing knows what these are
    2) Plan initiatives and prioritize to meet goals. Ask how each activity will help achieve the goals. Are there alternatives?
    3) Determine the goal of the specific intiatives and activities we are doing (everything does have a reason). Even if it’s not specifically ROI, set a measure that ties to the goal and choose something for which you can reasonably get the data. If I truly can’t get the measure I ultimately want, I start with what I have and refine over time.
    4)Use consistent nomenclature and definitions of metrics throughout the organization.
    5) Consistently measure progress against the goal and investigate why if we are significantly off.
    6) Create a marketing system of record so you have something to compare to, can learn from the past, and consistently improve

  3. Sam Decker says:

    Britton…good question. 12 steps may be misleading. Perhaps I should change the title. These could be 12 tips, or 12 principles. They don’t need to be done all together or in sequence.
    However, these principles are a reality in B2C or B2B. In B2B, how many sales calls were made last week? How many demos came from that? How many sales came from those demos. All that can be measured. These measurements are compelling, and can be used to gain attention and resources in a company. The manager with the best metrics usually wins.

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  5. James VB says:

    Note – Comments made from a Sales AE point of view, so here I go
    I too agree with Britton’s comment on the necessity of “steps”, but looking at the breakdown of the principles above I totally agree with your sequence. Approaching B2B – I always seek first to understand, then to be understood (falling dead center to your Ready/Aim Cat.) In my opinion, I believe that B2C success is more directly tied to one’s ability to Innovation and Execute on such (Fire Cat.) – I have been very blessed to have had the opportunity to work in an industry and for companies that have been touted as being evolutionary to the landscape of commerce.
    1) Company “A” understands both B2B/B2C and has almost perfected the Ready/Aim Principle above * Sam – based on your Bio I believe that we’ve shared a common employer
    2) Company “A2” is currently changing the way we look and treat the B2C industry. I think that the Ready/Aim/Fire is applicable here, but I would highlight to #’s 2,4,5,8 and 11 * known for our CEO’s “One more thing” comment
    Don’t no if this would be of interest, but I just picked this book up and here’s two comments that struck me as being somewhat simple, but maybe often overlooked.
    Marketing Metric’s 50+ Metrics Every Executive Should Master — Wharton School Publishing
    “Today, numerical fluency is a crucial skill for every business leader. Managers must quantify market opportunities and competitive threats. They must justify the financial risks and benefits of their decisions. They must evaluate plans, explain variances, judge performance, and identify leverage points for improvement––all in numeric terms. These responsibilities require a strong command of measurements and of the systems and formulas that generate them. In short, they require metrics.”
    “. . . every metric, whether it is used explicitly to influence behavior, to evaluate future strategies, or simply to take stock, will affect actions and decisions.”
    Sorry all for being long winded — Mr Decker –Bravo!!! I think that your principles are spot on in my world and I’ll refer to the process as opportunities present themselves. JamesVB

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