Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is your business tracking the correct measure of success?

Recently I've been seeing and hearing a lot about measurements of success. I think measuring our work as marketers, or any other profession, is key to understanding our business and our performance and ties very closely to goals/objectives.
  • Without goals; how does a business know what they are aiming for.
  • Without measurement; how does a business know how they are performing to their goals.

This morning I read Forrester's post about needing to measure effectiveness of social media efforts. Wow! That seems like a tough thing to measure even though I'm sure it can be done. It looks like Forester thinks this is as easy as a 3 step process.  When businesses enter the social media realm, aren't they doing that for a reason? They must have some sort of goal. Question is, is it clearly measurable? And, do the metrics clearly tie social media activities to the result?

My team met a couple of weeks back to discuss our 2010 metrics of success. We reviewed our 2009 goals, our performance to those goals, and the true objective of our efforts. Our team struggles with clearly defining one single, measurable goal due to competing priorities (customer experience/satisfaction, product revenue, ad response, etc.).

I think many teams struggle with setting clearly defined goals and metrics of success. Yesterday, during my workout, I listened to Sheryl Sandberg's talk at Stanford's Entreprenurial Thought Leaders series (FYI, they produce a lot of great podcasts, check it out), she stated that the Facebook team has been struggling recently with defining their single metric of success. When a company like Facebook struggles with this task, it seems to me that many, if not most, are also going to struggle. I think a lot of the struggle boils down to competing priorities.

Does your business (or business unit) have one clear measure of success? How do you balance competing priorities?

I guess my point to this post is; defining a clear measure of success is very tough. Making sure your team is clear on the goals/objectives is paramount. I don't think having a set measurement for success is 100% necessary for all businesses to work towards for a year or multiple years. I think you should constantly be measuring your work, make sure you measure pieces of each competing priority, and be open to quickly changing your measurements.

What are your thoughts on measurable goals?


  1. To define a clear measure of success I think you need to first gauge the effectiveness of the activities that drive your team. How effective are the activities imbedded in the process at producing the desired outcomes? How can effectiveness improve?