What Metrics to Measure: Harness Technology

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    You aren’t wrong if you expect me to be giddy with excitement about using technology for metrics. You might be surprised though that I’m actually not an advocate of getting super automated and fancy. Sometimes simplicity is the best route to take.

    Listen to Season 1: Episode 12

    How to Track Your Metrics

    By now, you know what to track that shows you the path to success in your business, aka metrics. And if not, please go review the other blogs in this series. 

    The next step is to figure out how.

    The great news is you have a ton of options! (This, as you might have guessed, is also the bad news). Of course, this is pretty much the catch 22 of technology in our day and age. 

    There are many, many analytics systems available out there that promise to be your Swiss Army knife of metrics: Mixpanel, Heap, HubSpot, Marketo, etc. If you are very established—and have a dedicated resource in house or on retainer—those can be useful.

    My warning when choosing a “Swiss Army knife” system of any kind is to be very clear about your core needs and make sure the system serves them well. A Swiss Army knife will open a bottle of wine but that’s not what a sommelier uses. 

    It is unlikely that you’ll start with one of these tools. They are powerful and complex. But when you are starting, complexity is usually not a feature you’re looking for.

    The more common place to start is by taking each of your metrics and determining how you can go about measuring it in your organization.

    The Simplicity of Good Data

    If you’ve read any previous blogs, you’ve heard me say the purpose of metrics and analytics is to give you information to make intelligent, informed choices and ultimately better decisions. But to get that outcome, the data has to be right. 

    This is where fancy can be a challenge. The more complex the measuring system is, the more likely that something goes wrong with it, and you end up with inaccurate data. A broken compass is not how you want to navigate.

    The best use of technology here is to give you the simplest and most straightforward way to gather data for your metrics. And the upside is that because technology is ever-changing, some of the data collection that used to be complex is much simpler now.

    Bring in the Big Guns

    To keep it simple, you probably want to harness the counsel of someone who has experience with the system you are using and can advise you on your options. Now, you can DIY this with the help of courses, online resources, and YouTube, but if you are choosing DIY, be really honest about the best use of your time and effort.

    Most businesses starting out with metrics use Google Analytics to gather data from their digital presence (website, apps, social, email marketing, etc.). It’s free to use, extremely powerful, and widely used, so there are lots of resources available for figuring out how to best use it.

    Google Tag Manager is a complement to other tracking systems like Google Analytics and is a way to capture more than clicks on your website. You can track events like form submissions, video view progress, percentage of content consumption, and more as it is a very powerful tool in the hands of a capable practitioner.

    If your metrics are “offline,” there’s still nothing better than a spreadsheet. I do suggest a Google Sheet though, because it can be connected to other systems that either populated data there, or pull that data into reports or other systems.

    Go through each of your metrics and determine how you will measure it. Then make sure that measurement goes into a place that is visible to the leadership team. The usual suspects here are reports or dashboards.

    The key thing to remember is to start simple and get fancy later.

    Winning by Harnessing Technology

    Once you have defined metrics, determined a reliable way to measure them, and made that information easily available to decision-makers, you can actually achieve the result of having the information to make intelligent, informed choices and, ultimately, better decisions for your business.

    No guessing. Less trial and error. More resources are directed precisely at the course you are trying to take toward your business objectives and goals. Not to mention a delightful side effect (unlike those that get listed on commercials; have you ever really listened to those?) of having more time and attention for strategy and non-work parts of your life.

    If your goal is to make smarter business decisions, spend less money on marketing trial and error, and have an overall line of sight on your business health and growth, we can help. Our analytics and reporting service Insight Pro is a done-for-you service to properly set up metrics technology in your business and serve them up so you can take action on the metrics that matter to your success.

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