Having an Unhealthy Metrics Ratio Can Have a Negative Impact On Your Results
We all love metrics. We can’t wait until the latest reporting period is over, so we can start digging into the numbers to see how we did. The anticipation is exhilarating. When things are going well, it is a little bit like Christmas morning. When you are struggling, the metrics are about as welcome as a letter from the IRS.
It is important to be aware of your “Metrics Ratio”. Many e-Commerce teams are responsible for both the execution of activities as well as reporting on the effectiveness of those activities. The Metrics Ratio considers the resources dedicated to driving the metrics versus the resources required to measure the results. You probably think you have much more talent dedicated to driving vs. measuring results. However it does not always work out that way. The demands of the various stakeholders increase over time. Unfortunately you end up running far more reports than originally intended. Resources formerly dedicated to creative work now end up “feeding the metrics monster”. Your Metrics Ratio gets top-heavy on analysis and your performance takes a hit as a result.
What can you do to counteract this? You have a number of options which include:
- Consider relaxing the reporting period. Do the metrics change enough over time to justify the frequency? Can you go from daily to weekly, weekly to monthly, etc?
- Are the stakeholders truly using the reports you are generating? Consider doing a formal or informal survey. Ask your metrics stakeholders how necessary the various reports are to them. Ask them to rank them 1-10. You will probably find a few reporting items you can eliminate.
- Stop “massaging” data before sending out to the stakeholders. Most metrics packages have the ability to schedule “canned” reports that can be pushed to the various recipients on a regular schedule. No manual intervention required. If people want a specific report adjusted in some manner, suggest they handle it themselves or delegate to someone on their team.
- Strive for the “hub and spoke” model. Train stakeholders in using the analytics package themselves so they can generate their own reports.
Reporting metrics are a form of communication, and like all communication rule#1 is know your audience. Some stakeholders will be incapable of generating their own reports, and may overstate the use they get out of the reports. If it is the CEO – you suck it up and get them the reports. If it is some middle level manager – perhaps you make the tough call.
Ultimately you are held accountable for delivering positive metrics, and managing your Metrics Ratio effectively will help boost your results.
Did you get all the way through your to do list today? Spend as much time as you wanted with your family? Got a good workout in? Caught up on your reading? OF COURSE NOT! But don’t feel bad – none of the rest of us did either. We all have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Even the technology innovations that are supposed to make our lives simpler only seem to add to the problem. The answer to all of this – unfortunately there is none. We have to search for small victories. Little things that help us and our colleagues become more efficient. Save us a few minutes here and there. Infographics are one of the tools you can use to help people save a little time.
Infographics Offer A Refreshing Way to Present A Lot of Information In A Short Period Of Time
Infographics are becoming more and more prominent and offer us an exciting way to present a lot of information in a concise, interesting manner. Instead of the status quo of presenting page after page of routine, look-alike tables and graphs, infographics are the opposite. Colorful, informative, and refreshing, infograhics allow the reader to absorb a large amount of information in a very short period of time.
To get a feel for variety of infographics that are out there – click here.
If you are in sales, infographics are a great way to stand out (at least for now) versus the competition. Let’s assume you are putting a proposal together for a customer. Your typical proposal includes charts, graphs, and other valuable bits of information. If you take all of this and hand it over to an infographics desgner, the result will separate you from the competition. Remember, with marketing you can either blend in or stand out. If you always do your best to stand out, your results will be OUTSTANDING.
I suggest you do turn this over to a professional designer. While there are packages out there to build your own, my experience is that the result is not as good as if you hand it over to a professional. You can see the difference readily. It will cost a little to get it done professionally, but the results are better and doing so will allow you to focus on driving the numbers, not in presenting them!
Actionable Information is GOLD, Mined from Raw Data
There is a tremendous difference between raw data and actionable information. Data is a collection of metrics, in raw form or just poorly organized. Actionable information starts with the same raw metrics, but presents it in a form that is easily utilized by decision makers. Actionable information is GOLD. Data is the gold mine. Your business will be more successful if you have someone on staff who can provide you with concise, “executive-worthy” information. Information that will give you insight into the key business drivers. Without it, you have to sift through the voluminous data on your own. You end up being an analyst instead of growing your business.
Obtaining actionable information starts with asking the right questions. Of course these questions vary based on your role and the nature of your business. The key is to get started asking the questions. Here are a few that may prompt you to think of others that relate specifically to your marketing situation:
- Who are my top customers over the last six months? How have their purchases changed over the past year, or two years?
- Are there certain “gateway” products or services, that tend to move customers from medium-sized to large?
- How has my product mix shifted? Is it different among the large customers than the overall mix?
- Is my business growing faster than the market in general?
- What are my most profitable products? Least profitable?
- Do any products have a higher return rate than standard?
- Additional thought provoking questions can be found in Tom Morkes blog:
When you start asking these kinds of questions, you will find that the answers will prompt you to ask even more questions. Congratulations! You are then on your way to actionable information! Each time you ask and answer questions, you are gaining insight to the nuts and bolts of your business.
Be aware that it is critical to have someone on staff who can mine the data and help you answers these questions. In my view it is one of the most important roles in any business. This “information guru” has to be more business oriented than data oriented. Ideally it is someone who has a good understanding of your products, and enough customer interaction to identify needs and trends.