Measurable is not Meaningful

The other day I went for a run and due to some weird glitch, the MapMyRun app didn’t record the first 2 miles I ran. Since I don’t run as nearly far or as fast as I would like, those “lost” miles felt like a big deal. I mean, if those miles don’t appear on my workout feed, do they still count?

Of course, they count. People ran long before the invention of the iPhone and (gasp) millions of people exercise each day without tracking it digitally. As a runner, I know this in my heart. I don’t run in order to add a data point to my phone. Yet, the fact that my activity wasn’t tracked for that particular outing made the lack of measurement feel important. The silver lining is that it gave me something to think about on the rest of the run.

As marketers, we often fall victim to the same obsession with tracking our activities. Thanks to the explosion of marketing technologies, we can (and do!) track nearly every single aspect of our marketing efforts. For the most part, this is an incredibly positive thing. We are now able to make data-driven decisions. The flip side is that we sometimes put the need to measure activities ahead of the need to perform meaningful activities.

Focus on all of the meaningful activities and not just the ones that are easy to measure.

We all know the easy-to-track measurements: conversion rate, pages per view, click-through rate, days to close, yada yada. We’ve got them bookmarked in our web browsers and illustrated as dashboards in Salesforce, Marketo or whatever other marketing technology we use. We aren’t lacking in metrics. However, sometimes we sometimes place so much importance on what is measurable that we forget to look at what matters most to our customers.

The meaningful activities are the ones that put our customers’ needs first. Becoming “customer-obsessed” may be a buzzword, but it represents a very real shift that successful companies make to understand and respond to their customers. For marketers, this means we must look at all of our marketing activities through our customers’ eyes.

Yes, it may be useful to us for them to answer a 10-question customer satisfaction survey, but will it increase their happiness to give us 10 minutes of their time filling that survey out? Having a form on a landing page might lead to a higher conversion percentage, but is it right to put that gate up in front of a known customer?

Sometimes you have to forsake short-term measurements for long-term gain. In the end, meaningful activities have a way of translating to measurable outcomes. As marketers, our main goal should always be on growing the business for our organization. By focusing on the meaningful activities, we’ll get to the most important marketing measurement of all–revenue.

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