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Five resources for Understanding Key Performance Indicators

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Time for some good old data analysis.

Whether you're a data scientist or loath the thought of opening a spreadsheet, as a modern day marketer, you need to be analytical and data-driven.

Your data is only as good as its source. That is less a profound parting of wisdom but rather a "code" that I have been using to determine how confident I am in the decision I can make from the data in front of me.

Gone are the days of quarterly projects and reports due to the ever-increasing pace of technology development and data availability. So instead of building those pesky reports just to build them, determine what the single objective is over that same time frame, define 3 major milestones (these will give you a good idea of your key performance indicators) and track against them everyday. 

Inbound brands are built one objective at a time.  Meaning, they (as in the entire team) know what to focus on, why they're focusing on it, when they need to focus on what and how they get it done. 

This may sounds obvious but I can tell you that its not uncommon for teams to overcomplicate, well, just about everything. Too many times teams put blocker in place in fear of making the wrong decision themselves. 

If your quarterly focus is to build a loyal newsletter subscriber base and the first thing you need to put into motion is testing the newsletter subscribe call-to-action, then you don't need a long-winded or complex process to build a higher converting CTA rather a series of tests to FIND a better performing version. Then repeat.  

Here is an actual process that I have gone through to create a "B" variation for a call-to-action to subscribe to a newsletter (as you'll see, the process completely disregards the actual purpose, and best practices, of running an a/b test): 

Propose a new concept for what you think will be a better performing CTA, wait to get the new concept cleared, send concept designs to developer, get digital version back from developer, make a few changes, send back to developer for revision and so on until a new version was presented then approved to go live.  

I am not going to go fully into how to run an effecient a/b test in this post. Just know that the more tests you run the better results you'll see. At the rate of the process above, you'd be lucky to get in 1 test a month.  

What does all of this mean? 

The point of this story is to illustrate the impact of having a strong foundation, a single focus that drives your actions. 

A focus that will help you to define the right key performance indicators.  To find the conversion rate, take the number of people who clicked on the CTA and divide it by the number of people who viewed the CTA. Rather then simply tracking the conversion rate, we want to track the metrics that make up the conversion rate.

These data points, call-to-action views and clicks, will typically come from a source such as Google Analytics or HubSpot. You will view and record the numbers each day. Together, these numbers, show you your click-through rate. 

Overtime, your data will grow at an exponential rate and become more difficult to effectively digest/understand. But the data, when used correctly, gives you opportunities to learn more about what your customer wants and needs so you can deliver. 

The good news,

...there is no shortage of companies around that can help manage data so your key performance idicators remain accurate. With a quick Google search for "data visualization" or "big data" or "business intelligence" or "data dashboards" you can quickly see how much content there is. 

The bad news,

...a lot of these companies practice inbound marketing to drive traffic to their websites, all presenting similar information that’s competing for the same keywords and audience on google.

Fighting for the top spot on Google is a fierce competition that results in an ever increasing volume of content. Meaning more information to sift through to better understand how to organize and prioritize your data. A critical task for any business.

Well, apparently a lot of business leaders and managers are experiencing this same problem because 92% of them don't measure key perfromance indicators.

Instead of spending coutless hours on this research, I took the time to compile the best resources to help you better understand and utilize KPIs. 

 

Key Performance Indicator Resources

1. Lets first start with the definition from investopia

"Key performance indicators (KPI) are a set of quantifiable measures that a company uses to guage its performance overtime. These metrics are used to determine a company's progress in achieving its strategic and operational goals, and also to compare a company's finances and performance against other businesses within its industry." 

In other words, your data offers you an endless road of metrics and analytics but your Key Performance Indicators are the ones that bridge the gap between your activity and your goals. 

Did you know that 92% of companies don't measure KPIs! - Tweet this! 

 

2. This presentation from results.com does a great job explaining key performance indicators. 

 

 

3. This presentation by Domo provides a comprehensive list of marketing metrics that will prove useful when thinking through your important metrics

 

 

4. This presentation from Visage, in partnership with HubSpot, walks you through making your data visual. An important part of understanding your metrics.


 

5. This presentation by David Skok is filled with information for scaling marketing and sales and what to track along the way

 

Final Thoughts

Remaining flexible over time requires there to be a strong process in place. Now that you have some great resources you can begin to craft a solid foundation. Whether you're running the company, the marketing team, or yourself, knowing how indictors relate to one another will give you more confidence in making your own data-driven decisions.  

What metrics do you use to measure your performance? Are they relevant to each task being completed? Download the workbook below and begin to organize your KPIs. 

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