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Not all metrics are created equal. In marketing, this is especially crucial to keep in mind because paying disproportionate attention to the wrong metrics can lead brands down a long path to a bad ending.

In this data driven age, where marketing accountability is generally measured against some agreed upon metrics, it can be challenging to agree on which data points are most important. And by most important, we specifically mean those metrics that if attained will contribute most to brand growth and a positive ROI. Clearly articulated and measureable marketing objectives is a first step. If those have not been established, Key Performance Indicators and other performance measures may or may not have anything to do with the impact a marketing or media investment is having on your brand.

KPI

We’ve seen all too often marketers using “industry norms” as benchmarks in determining whether their brand succeeded or failed in the market. Here’s an example. A client reported the “success” of a campaign because their online media activity generated well above average clicks and CTR. Additionally, awareness for the brand increased 10 percentage points as a result of both the online and offline elements in the media mix. To sweeten the performance report, key brand attributes were shown to increase pre vs. post campaign. So, the sales needle moved significantly, right? No. And here’s why.

This brand competed in a mature category where parity was perceived among competing brands. The problem was the KPIs did not reflect those factors which would allow the brand to grow by robbing share within the category. The awareness, CTR and attribute ratings ended up being more a reflection of the arresting creative messaging, and had far less to do with true brand engagement and intent by the consumer to switch to the supported brand. Said another way, the campaign achieved or exceeded industry KPI norms, but failed to deliver a positive ROI.

The importance of maintaining a relevant link between ROI and KPIs cannot be overstated. Responsible and accountable marketers must always assess the return on their marketing investment. And relevant KPIs should be incorporated to demonstrate the success or failure of the intended marketing objectives. The key is to properly align KPIs with those goals and ensure that the performance indicators are a true reflection of the market response that will have the most significant impact on ROI.

About Charles “Bubba” Cooper

Bubba Cooper is Senior Partner at On Brand Management, a diverse problem-solving firm offering local and regional businesses access to expertise normally reserved for global and national companies. Contact Bubba at bubbac@onbrandmanagement.com. On Brand helps clients navigate today’s dynamic market by providing performance-driven solutions to sustain an organization’s stability and growth. On Brand has offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Washington, DC and St. Petersburg, Fl.

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