KPI calamities: 6 measurement muddles to avoid

Marketing is packed with acronyms – probably too many – but few are as important as KPI.

Key Performance Indicators are what campaigns live and die by, the stats by which successes and failures are judged and decreed. They also motivate teams, persuade stakeholders and provide a clear route to your campaign’s objectives.

In short, KPIs are a big deal, and that’s why you’ve got to get them right. There are plenty of pitfalls to avoid when you’re setting them – here are some to watch out for:

  1. Not being SMART about things
  2. Not translating KPIs to the wider business
  3. Measuring absolutely everything, all the time
  4. Hiding your KPIs away
  5. Leaving your people out
  6. Being afraid of change

And once you’re done here, have a read of our B2B campaign tips for a little more inspiration.

1: Not being SMART about things

Generic KPIs and targets are no good to anyone – you already know this, but actually landing on KPIs that facilitate what you’re trying to achieve is not as easy as you’d think.

That’s why many people apply the SMART framework to their KPI setting. All of your KPIs need to be: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-based – if they fall down on any of those, you might want to have a rethink.

There’s not much room in this blog to go through SMART in any real detail but this Forbes article has a great rundown of the framework in all of its glory.

2: Not translating KPIs for the wider business

Chances are, your campaign is going to get some exposure across your business, and KPIs are just the thing for demonstrating the value of your campaign to other departments and teams.

That’s only going to happen if you know how to communicate that value properly, which is why you should make sure any KPI metrics you choose, are relevant and relatable for teams like finance, sales and operations.

Speak in KPIs that your counterparts will understand – like cost per lead for finance, or MQLs and SQLs for sales. And then make sure those KPIs are communicated at the right time to encourage collaboration.

3: Measuring absolutely everything, all the time

Yep, there are more data-tracking capabilities than ever and, yes, lots of data is better than no data. But, believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much information.

Measuring absolutely everything is just going to give you shed loads of analytics that simply aren’t useful. Someone on your team is going to have to sift through all that data looking for the stat or insight that actually tells you something interesting. That means more time spent and wasted energy.

Get hyper-targeted with your KPIs – know how they match up with your campaign objectives and focus on those metrics.

4: Hiding your KPIs away

Everyone on your campaign team needs clear visibility on the KPIs you’re looking out for – whatever your objective, if everyone knows how to measure success, they can integrate that into everything they do.

If they don’t, everything just gets that much harder. Collecting the data to back up KPIs, proving campaign ideas to executives, and keeping things on track across the board are all more of a struggle if your people don’t know what success looks like.

So keep your teams up to date right from the start and give them some goalposts to aim for across your campaign.

5: Leaving your people out

Don’t forget the teams around you when you’re thinking up your KPIs – the skills and expertise of the specialists inside your business can help.

Campaign KPIs have to make sense for everyone across a campaign – from project managers through to creatives — so before you kick things off, get the input from the professionals involved.

If they know the objective, they’ll know what KPIs make sense to measure the success of the campaign, and you’ll get guaranteed buy-in to the campaign goals right from the get-go.

6: Being afraid of change

Things change. Sometimes it’s out of your control, and sometimes it’s in your control, but campaigns need to flex to client and industry developments.

And that means your KPIs need to flex too. If yours are set in stone, you’ll just end up measuring indicators that aren’t relevant and can’t be put into practice – because they’re based on old data.

So review and update your KPIs regularly. Kill your darlings if necessary and make measurements that actually matter to what you’re doing.

Got some strategy on your mind? Earnest wants to hear about it – shoot us a message.

• • •

(Header photo: Brady Bellini on Unsplash)