By Katie Lowell

Traditional Marketing vs Agile Marketing :
Round 4 – Metrics

To start, I don’t think this is actually a Traditional Marketing vs Agile Marketing battle at all. But measurement, the right kind of measurement, is far too important to not talk about. It’s only been about three months into this new business (OneDayOne) but we have worked in and led marketing departments for 15 years and in both environments, there are far too many people that are unwilling to get serious about metrics.

We’re not talking about a random percent increase that you drove in website traffic, how many keywords you rank for, the open rate of your email, or how many followers you have gained… What meaningful metrics are you reporting on that align with the business strategy and show that you/your team/your agency is having an impact on the business? Here is what we usually see:

  1. They (marketers and/or firms) simply are not measuring the impact of their marketing efforts 
  2. They are measuring vanity (fluffy) metrics that mean nothing towards moving the business forward and driving growth
  3. Or they measure their impact by the number of tactics or work they get done, the so-called laundry list of tactics

1. Simply not measuring the impact of their marketing efforts

This could be for a variety of reasons, but here are a few that come to mind from past experiences:

  • Not sure how to measure the impact of the efforts. This could be from not having the right infrastructure in place to track leads or sales, to not knowing how to navigate and gain insight from a tool like Google Analytics. This could also mean not really knowing what to measure, meaning not sure what the goal is of what is being executed on. Agile Marketing’s process and the right mindset helps significantly drive clarity around this.
  • The one-person marketing team is so busy wearing 50 hats, they don’t have the time to measure. Here again, taking a timeout and working through a prioritization effort followed by executing in an Agile fashion could pay off immensely. There is nothing worse than being a one-person marketing team and being pulled in 80 directions by 10 different bosses. Being able to prioritize based on the hypothesized strategies that you believe will have an impact on the business and executed in an Agile way can help eliminate the push and pull. And it will get you back to one boss that is bought into your priorities and how you are going to measure their effectiveness.
  • The agency isn’t reporting on the performance of their work. This seems completely foreign to us, but it happens. We recently had a president of a company ask us if that is just part of the deal with Marketing agencies. Do they just not share metrics? The answer should be a definite no, but it happens. 

2. Measuring vanity (fluffy) metrics that mean nothing towards moving the business forward.

This all comes back to asking the question of: “what are you trying to accomplish?” If you are reporting on metrics that don’t impact that, then they are fluffy. Sometimes these fluffy metrics can be leading indicators, so it’s not that they are meaningless, but that shouldn’t be all that you measure. 

Here’s another trap, people report for the sake of reporting. Your boss/stakeholders/etc request that you provide reports. Check the box. Don’t create a report for the sake of creating reports. You need to learn how to use that data to derive insight. Because if you don’t, how do you know if you should do more of what you are doing or less? If you should pivot and shift gears. Or place an even bigger bet on what you are doing.

Here’s one more—people are afraid of putting themselves out there. We believe it’s an avoidance of being held accountable.

Agile, in all scenarios, can help provide you and your team the structure or process to make sure you are looking at the right metrics and doing it in a way to drive decisions versus just reporting out.

3. Measuring the impact of the number of tactics or work they got done.

This typically takes the form of the laundry list of stuff that people say they are going to do at the beginning of the year after creating the year-long marketing strategy. Each box of the checklist, one by one, is checked off. At the end of the year or six months or quarter, people are able to measure their impact by the number of boxes checked off or the number of tactics executed on. Typically what happens is this is reported up the chain of command to a non-marketing leadership position and they think everything is great. They can say look at all of this stuff that our Marketing team did for us this year.

This may provide a moment of satisfaction for all that Marketing completed, but in the long run, it’s not doing anyone any good. A lot of stuff was ‘completed’ and most likely a lot of money spent, but done with no idea on what the return of those efforts and dollars spent were.

Stop this craziness with Agile Marketing

With the approach of Agile, it stops all of this madness. No more laundry list. No more year-long marketing plan. No more executing based on the list of things to do. And no more revealing at the end of the year all the things executed on behind the curtain. Agile brings much more transparency, efficiency, ability to measure and iteration to show and prove the value of the efforts.

We’re sure there are many more reasons why measuring is avoided or the wrong type of metrics are reported and hardly leveraged… we’d love to hear your experiences.

While Agile doesn’t fix everything, we know Agile can assist in facilitating the right type of behaviors and provides structure. And therefore, we think Agile wins this quasi battle.

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