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  • Writer's picturePete Steege

3 Kinds of Metrics and How to Use Them

Marketing metrics can be really confusing.

There are so many different ways to use them and differing opinions on what they tell you that they actually can get in the way if you don't have a structure to think about them.

The Sirius Decisions metrics framework

I really like the Sirius Decisions (now part of Forrester Consulting) metrics framework. Here's how I use some of the concepts from that framework to clarify metrics and focus on measuring the right things in a marketing program.

The Sirius Decisions model has four buckets of metrics, ranging from tactical to strategic.

  • Starting at the most tactical, the first bucket is Readiness, with metrics that measure things you need to do before moving forward with significant projects. Think of these as checklist items before launches and other programs.

  • Activity metrics measure things that just need to get done.

  • Output metrics are things that you've achieved; you've actually gotten a deliverable completed.

  • And finally, impact metrics. These are different because now you're not measuring what you're doing. You're measuring how you've changed your environment or even better, your customers or prospects. It's measuring the effect of what you're doing.

Let's talk more about those four. But I'm going to consolidate them into three categories.

I'm combining Readiness and Activity metrics since they are similar.

Activity metrics

Activity metrics are the things you're just doing. You do have to measure these sometimes. Examples of these metrics would be:

  • Creating content - maybe you have a cadence set up for blog posts, for instance, or social posting on a schedule

  • SEO - work that needs to get done to optimize your content

Output metrics

These are the deliverables of marketing. For example:

  • Impressions - doing something that achieves exposure in the marketplace

  • A product launch

  • Launching a campaign

Impact metrics

Impact metrics tend to be related to funnel progression. You are measuring how you are impacting your customer.

These are the end state metrics. They usually count the most because they measure the ROI of your marketing. This is what all of the other metrics build to. Examples of Output metrics:

  • Leads

  • Opportunities

  • Revenue

Think about your customers and how they react. You are measuring their response, their doing what you want them to do to come closer to you and use your product.

The chain reaction

Now you might be tempted to focus only on the impact metrics.

"I don't care about those less strategic things."

The problem with that is that impacts result from activities and outputs. You have to take things that a step at a time; it is a chain reaction.

Start your planning with impact metrics and work backward from there.

In your marketing plan, you have goals for your customer, what do you want them to do differently. Come up with metrics that measure those changes, those different behaviors of your customer.

Those are your Impact metrics.

Then ask yourself, What does it take to have that customer react that way?"

Those are the projects that have deliverables that your customers can respond to and react to.

Those are your Output metrics.

And how do you achieve those deliverables? You have discipline and intention and you complete activities. And you have to do things to get ready.

Those are your Activity metrics.

Your readiness and activity metrics are also important because they help you track progress day-to-day and week-to-week to achieve the deliverables that generate the impact that you you need to see in your customers for your business to succeed.

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