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February 14, 2013

What’s Your Business’s One Key Metric?

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Allow me to make a suggestion for all of us juggling metrics and data diving. Before you do anything else, figure out what your business’s one key metric is.

juggling

Measuring what matters (and disregarding what doesn’t) is Analytics 101. And it’s very important because with all that we can track and measure with Web analytics, there’s the risk you’ll:

a) drown in data
b) be struck by info overload paralysis or
c) contribute to misleading metrics, whether intentionally or not.

Using the one key metric model is going to give you results, while chasing B.S. metrics doesn’t reveal meaningful insight into user behavior and preferences.

Suhail Doshi, founder of analytics platform Mixpanel, points out the problems of tracking pageviews, total members and other metrics that may look good on paper but ultimately don’t align with business goals:

“[C]ompanies should start by tracking a single actionable metric that they can literally bet the company on. I call this their One Key Metric (OKM). Companies choosing their OKM realize they must pick an actionable metric because pageviews or sign ups aren’t harsh enough and don’t correlate highly enough with the success of their business.

The best part of OKM is that companies can measure other things related to it, to understand how to improve it. […] Understanding your OKM often leads to deeper, more valuable questions. The answers often surprise businesses and guide them better than before.”

As we build upon our projects and the knowledge that informs our marketing efforts, it can pay to take a moment to check in with our most basic business goals. Build upon a foundation of key performance indicators that are focused and results-driven. With this solid starting place, your marketing efforts grow with purposeful direction and deep understanding. So, what’s your OKM?

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