The Comfort of Useless Marketing Metrics

October 28, 2010 at 7:46 AM Leave a comment

I read some interesting thoughts on BrandSavant about accountability and metrics. The gist:

We know there is something positive about increased mentions, but if pressed, we really can’t put our finger on the tangible benefits of these mentions. We have a subjective view of an apparently objective number. In short, we have been seduced by the illusion of accountability that these metrics provide.

I would go a bit further. I’d say that a metric that does nothing but make you feel good should be chucked out.

It’s easy to be lulled into false comfort by surrounding yourself with numbers. Many marketers (and politicians, and people of all types) use numbers subjectively – choosing ones that are convenient to support their argument.

What you need are metrics that provide insight. If a statistic doesn’t provide insight into how your relationship with your customers is progressing, if it doesn’t tell you how to change your behavior to deepen that relationship, then it’s a waste of time.

Your metrics need to tell a story (this is happening because of that) with a moral (by doing this, you can achieve that). Reporting that you got 10,000 mentions on Twitter last month doesn’t tell a story.

If the number can’t clarify an action that has the potential for improving business, throw it away.


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Thompson Morrison

Thompson Morrison

About Thompson

As CEO of FUSE Insight, Thompson Morrison uses powerful new web interviewing technologies to help businesses better align their brand with the needs and aspirations of their customers. Learn more at


"The single most significant strategic strength that an organization can have is not a good strategic plan, but a commitment to strategic listening on the part of every member of the organization." -- Tom Peters



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