Conducting a kick-ass KPI rankings workshop

While we love conducting a great content brainstorm or launching a great new campaign, one of my favorite client exercises is a metric prioritization workshop. We facilitate these as a means to help brands decide what to care about when it comes to their data, and (perhaps more importantly) what to ignore.


Step 1: Map high-level marketing and sales objectives.

Before we dig into the detail, we start by asking our client to map their goals for marketing as a whole. What does marketing really do for their organization? How does that map to what they’d like to do?

This can include:

  • Prioritizing objectives (increased sales revenue vs. brand activity vs. audience growth).
  • Ranking target audiences.
  • Either/or scenarios. For example, would we rather have some read blog content or share the content.


Step 2: Map all that is measurable.

In this phase, we typically stick to a bunch of post-its and we begin by just creating one for every potential metric that is conceivably measurable. Then we bucket those into three key types:


All metrics that may impact the potential of the brand’s audience — those who have chosen to receive some type of communication from the band. For example:

  • Email subscribers
  • Returning website visitors
  • Social media followers


All metrics that map the audience (paid and organic) interactions with digital brand activity.  For example:

  • Facebook engagement rate
  • On page content consumption
  • Shares, comments, likes
  • Email opens


All metrics that are tied to the bottom line. For example:

  • Website conversions
  • Form fills (B2B)
  • Website revenue

It’s likely that you’ll have some debate about which metrics belong where, but at this point you will probably notice that you have more than you expected. This is where we add in two more categories:


Metrics that you want to intentionally ignore, for now at least. What things can we put off until a later date? To start, this is where you can bucket all metrics that require increased tracking sophistication that’s not yet in place.


Metrics that you do not want to measure, either because they are imperfect, or because they don’t matter all that much to your brand.


Step 3: Rank, re-rank.

Now that you’ve got your initial list of metrics for each category, it’s time to start prioritizing.

  • Start by looking for the one metric you couldn’t live without. Move it to the top.
  • Now find one you don’t think is all that relevant. Move it to the bottom.
  • Repeat.

Along the way, you’ll likely find a number of metrics that are duplicatory. Use that as an opportunity to cull the list a bit by moving some into the “never” bucket. The end goal is to drastically reduce the number of metrics you’re going to value, and thus report on. We aim to reduce each category to 5-10 key metrics. Fewer is almost always better.


Step 4: Create a reporting plan.

Once you’ve determined what to report on, it is key to spend an equal amount of time creating a plan for how you’ll get this information, when it is most valuable, and who will use it.

  • Start by outlining your audiences (leadership vs. tacticians).
  • Now outline when the data would be most valuable to each (before the marketing all-hands, prior to the executive team retreat).
  • Then look to automate. This can be done on platform, or using a tool or tools (cough, Grasp Metrics).


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