Goals are vital! Without them, you don’t have a clear direction or a way of measuring your progress. But, you know this. What’s less well-practised is ensuring you are measuring the right things in an effective way to support your business goals; this is what we tackle here.
Too frequently, goals are set without taking into account the method by which success will be measured. If measurements are considered, often you’ll find businesses over focusing on quantitative metrics, which can sometimes be misleading if context isn’t applied, therefore impacting on the ability to reliably measure progress.
If one year you notice customer complaints have reduced significantly, you may take this to mean your audience are much happier with the quality of service and products you provide. However, asking them what they really think may reveal they are actually incredibly dissatisfied, past the point of bothering to complain.
So what should you concentrate on?
Every single (successful) business on the planet will measure their financial performance. Whether this is profit, turnover, sales etc., fundamentally these measurements determine whether your business will make it. Financials tend to be easy to measure and monitor, as long as you aren’t afraid of numbers… What’s important though, is that businesses don’t only focus on financials. Brands are built on more than just a great set of financial results! What about culture, customer satisfaction, creativity… these are all aspects that ensure a healthy bottom line.
Internal Insights –
Your most important stakeholders are your employees, so it’s important you measure internal satisfaction. Regular reviews, internal workshops, feedback forms and satisfaction surveys are simple ways of engaging your internal audience on topics of importance to the business. Do your teams respect their leadership? What do people value about working for you? What areas do employees feel less confident in? Collect a range of data, both quantitative and qualitative, and make sure to report back findings, conclusions and actions.
External Insights –
Too infrequently do businesses consult the people that matter most – their customers. Building a detailed understanding of those buying your goods/services and regularly reviewing what you know is paramount. It can be challenging: your audience may be incredibly broad, disengaged and/or difficult to tie down. Measuring their perceptions, levels of interaction and thoughts/feelings, amongst other criteria, can be complicated and time-consuming; not to mention it may leave you with reams of qualitative insights to analyse. Running online surveys, filming vox pop interviews, hosting focus groups and running competitions are all effective tools for gathering insight as long as they make it super simple for your audience to have their say.
Measuring sales is one thing, but what typically gets forgotten is enquiries, especially ones that don’t convert to sales. Studying unconverted enquiries can be valuable in shaping the way you do business in future. No matter the size, the origin, or the outcome, make sure to keep a track of enquiries and review regularly to see where you might be missing out. You could be inadvertently turning prospects off – make sure you know why!
Just as with enquiries, people tend to forget impressions and focus on actual interactions, clicks or conversations. Brand awareness begins with impressions, and this is the starting point for making sales. If consumers connect with your brand, impressions turn to interactions. If your offer suits the needs/wants of visitors, then these interactions turn into sales. Testing your offer in line with impressions and conversion rates over a period of time can prove invaluable, shaping the future development of your business promotes itself.
Digital metrics –
In a world where websites trump brochures and digital content is king, businesses are increasingly investing in their online presence and performance. The great news is that making this investment opens up a huge range of opportunities for measuring the effectiveness of your marketing, more quickly, more accurately and in real time. The bad news is that it’s very easy to develop an over-reliance on measurements like website traffic, likes, opens etc; the kind of metrics which are difficult to attribute to any one activity and don’t mean much if the wrong type of audience is engaging with you.
There are literally thousands of ways to measure the effectiveness of your business but don’t let this put you off. Set clear goals and then set effective measurements. Regularly review your chosen measurements, evaluate their effectiveness and adjust your approach in response to outcomes and context.