Not one of you reading this blog would disagree: We live in a world of information overload.
At your company, data likely streams in by the petabyte – sales figures, consumer habits, competitive information, big picture, small picture, and so forth.
When we stop for a second to consider how much information is loading up our servers, we have to ask ourselves – how much of these bits and bytes do we actually need to grow our business, our revenues, and our possibilities?
Here’s recent interaction that got me thinking about this: I was working with a CEO who lamented the fact that his marketing team submitted a 50-page deck every month, crammed with data that spanned the valley of significance. It became an added task for this CEO to distill the deck each month down to the salient points that he then could share with his board.
His view was that the marketing team was just being lazy in dumping a trove of statistics into a PowerPoint deck and calling it a day. The marketing team, conversely, was probably doing this to ensure that, tucked into the 50-page deck, were the stats that really mattered to the CEO.
At the end of the day, this company – and countless others – may have skipped a critical step in the reporting paradigm – setting filters, in the form of KPIs, that can help distill the information down to what is truly most important to the company’s well-being at the time and looking forward.
Trying to focus on 50 pages, or thousands of data points, is a recipe for inertia. In my view, reporting works best when targeted at the top 10 KPIs that represent the strongest indicators of future success. This is not to say that you must live with the same 10 KPIs forever – if a new KPI emerges as critical, swap it out with a less important KPI to keep the list to a maximum of 10.
The key is to apply prioritization and discipline to the way in which your marketing team reports to you, so your success factors are well defined and all stakeholders (including the board members that are scrutinizing you) are satisfied with this alignment.
In the chart below, I’ve shared an example of what one B2B client outlined for their top 10 KPIs. As you can see, each key performance indicator includes a basic description of what the indicator is measuring; the raw numbers, a goal or target for each, and of course, the trends.
|Key Performance Indicator (KPI)||Description||Oct||Nov||'22
|Feb||Mar||Apr||Goal||Comments on Performance and Go Forward Actions|
|1||Unique Visitors/mo. #||Rate marketing is driving prospects to our virtual "store"||2,145||2,283||1,637||1,750||2,031||Target - improve 5% by 6/30/23 and 10% by year end|
|2||Website Bounce Rate %||Percentage of prospects who land on our website and leave with the next click…an indication of a website or content issue.||81%||78%||76%||76%||74%||60%||Target - improve 5% by 6/30/23 and 10% by year end|
|3||SEO # top ten ranked keywords and # snippets.||When prospects search for our keywords, the number of times our firm is listed in Google's top 10 search results||7||8||6||6||6||TBD - based on current benchmark|
|4||New Contacts/mo. #||Number of all new leads with email addresses||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||Target - improve 5% by 6/30/23 and 10% by year end|
|5||Content items published/mo. # (video, podcast, blog, social, email, etc.)||Raw measure of marketing output||3||2||3||3||4||Target - Increase monthly share of unique content items to 75% by 6/30/23|
|6||Views # (video, podcast, blog, social, etc.)||Measure of initial interest||223||189||230||245||262||Target - Average views total 40 within 30 days of publishing by 6/30/23|
|7||New Marketing Qualified Leads/mo. # (MQL)||A lead deemed more likely to become a customer compared to other leads by our marketing automation system||4||6||8||7||10||Target - Increase by 50% by 6/30/23|
|8||New Sales Qualified Leads/mo. # (SQL)||A lead we qualified as being ready for the buying cycle -- when the lead is accepted into Salesforce||2||3||4||3||5||Target - Increase by 50% by 6/30/23|
|9||Engagement (comments, shares and likes) # for video, podcast, blog, social, etc.||Measure of marketing quality||113||76||85||67||99||Target - Average engagement total 10 within 30 days of publishing by 6/30/23|
|10||Email Unsubscribe Rate %||Too much and/or uninteresting email will trigger leads to unsubscribe/block. It is difficult to get these people back…||0.24%||0%||0.28%||0.26%||0.24%||0.20%||TBD - based on current benchmark|
I really find this view to be genius in its simplicity. In developing 10 top marketing KPIs (and enhancing the list as needed), you bring transparency and accountability to the relationship between marketing and leadership. This is then reinforced when the top 10 KPIs are presented and discussed monthly or quarterly.
Remember, it’s not the destination, but the journey. Without alignment on the definition of success of your marketing strategies, it’s nearly impossible to meet or exceed the collective goals.
If you need an objective voice to help navigate this process, Chief Outsiders’ fractional CMOs and CSOs are adept at helping leaders navigate the path forward. Please reach out if I can be of any assistance.