Tuesday 2¢: Are you measuring your marketing in miles or minutes?

This Tuesday I’m on a run, I have Michael Johnson in my headphones and inspired by my attempt at getting some fitness, I’m wondering if we marketers are focusing on the right metrics.

I have procrastinated about exercise for years, but I have recently started running, using the Couch to 5k program and having a go at a 5k Park Run with my daughter.

For those unfamiliar with The Couch to 5k program, it’s a program created by the BBC and UK Public Health, delivered via an app, with a celebrity that talks you through a set of walk/run workouts that take you from running for 90 seconds to running a 30-minute 5k. Personally I am being roused from the couch by the voice of Michael Johnson.

Park Run is exactly what it says on the tin, an organization that organizes 5k park runs all across the UK and the world.

As Michael Johnson encouraged me through my headphones at the halfway point of today’s Couch to 5k run, I realized that this program has one metric; time as you walk/run for fixed amounts of time.

A 5k Park Run has a different metric, the goal is to complete the distance (about 3 miles for those of you, who like me, are confused by the metric system).

However, my goal is not time or distance, I am running to improve my fitness, tone up and lose a bit of weight. Whilst simply running, both time and distance will help me achieve my goals – the number of calories I burn, how close I get to my actual goal is variable, depending on which exercise goal I choose.

If the metric is time, you just want to get through the time, there is no motivation in the program to run faster and therefore burn more calories. In a way you are actually demotivated to run fast, as there is no upside, running faster makes achieving the time goal harder.

If the metric is distance, at least in my head, I think the faster I run, the sooner the hell of running will end. (I used these very words, running with my daughter as we tried to up the pace for the final kilometer of our Park Run).

And of course, the faster I run the more calories I burn, the closer I get to my actual goal.

Why is this relevant?

Well as marketers we are often measured and tasked with activities that are like time in my analogy; do x number of campaigns, run x number of the events you are expected to be at, spend x budget, follow the standard B2B marketing template program and do the things.

Yes, like jogging for an allotted period of time will burn some calories, the things we do will yield some leads and contribute to the overall organizational goal of growth, but are we optimized for the goal? Are we doing our best time over the distance? Probably not.

What we need to focus on is distance.

Forget the “things”, start with the marketing metric that will deliver against the corporate goal of growth and will motivate us to do better.

Consider where we need to be to deliver growth (for example the number of leads we need to generate growth revenue) and then consider the things that will deliver against that goal.

Then do those right things, motivated by the ultimate goal of growth.

However, of course, many of us find ourselves in the hamster wheel of marketing, delivering what is expected and it’s hard to step off and do this kind of review.

Back to my analogy, whilst I do The Couch to 5K, I track my performance through other apps, giving me that motivation to go faster, not just jog through the time.

In marketing, if we have nothing else, we have access to the data. if you have to do the things, start applying speed/distance metrics to your things, and then you can start building a case for change.

That’s my Tuesday 2¢ – let’s stop jogging around the hamster wheel of execution marketing and measuring ourselves by the metric of getting things done and figure out what will really contribute to growth – and run to that.

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