How to identify meaningful marketing metrics

Focus on the bottom line, enhance hard numbers with qualitative context, and prioritize consistency across channels.


Marketing campaigns sink or swim based on data.

The big question for marketers, is, which metrics matter most?

If you feel lost in a sea of datapoints and measurements, don’t fret. Consider these three tips to navigate meaningful metrics:

Focus on the bottom line.

If you’re not driving revenue or bringing some sort of substantive ROI to the table, who cares what the data reveals? When selecting which metrics to monitor, start with the bottom line.

Create a measurement framework that can highlight short- and long-term revenue generation, and be flexible enough to tailor your reports based on what your bosses (or clients) value. Some care only about sales, leads or conversions; others might place high value on shifting public perception, generating huge reach or fostering engagement with a niche audience.

Takeaway: The most important metrics directly affect the bottom line, so work with your bosses to determine the most substantive ways to prove marketing ROI.

Mix quants and quals.

Quantitative metrics demonstrate hard data and numbers-based correlations. Qualitative information provides deeper context.

Of course, it’s crucial to gather facts and figures to demonstrate marketing success, but don’t neglect qualitative insights such as customer conversations, brand sentiment, social media engagement and consumer feedback. Qualitative data should help elicit meaning from your data and help you explain larger trends to your bosses.

Takeaway: Gather qualitative data to enhance and better explain your quantitative measurements.

Prioritize consistency over precision.

Different marketing channels offer different datapoints to gauge, which makes it crucial to measure for apples-to-apples comparisons across platforms. Just try to be consistent in how, what and why you measure things

It’s more important to be consistent in your approach than to gather flawless data. There is probably going to be a margin of error.

Takeaway: Consistency of measurement outweighs exactness.  

You can’t—and shouldn’t—measure everything. Instead of wasting time and resources chasing after metrics that don’t matter, always aim to prove bottom-line business value.

A version of this post first appeared on MediaPost.

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