Since everyone is coming back for the New Year, talking about what 2011 is going be like and maybe doing a little soul-searching, I thought I’d share a New Year’s Resolution that you can borrow for your business. It’s a two parter.
In 2011 I resolve to figure out what matters to my business and measure it, but to remember that not everything that matters can be measured.
Part 1: Figure out what matters to my business and measure it…
There is much that can be said on this point (so watch for more on the topic) but a good way to start is by thinking about:
The massive amounts of data available to any business that operates online presents a challenge that can befuddle even established, sophisticated businesses. Not all the data that you collect will be meaningful, and even data that is meaningful in a general sense may not be relevant for your business or project. Everything you measure should map directly back to an explicit constituent in one of those categories. If it doesn’t, why are you measuring it?
Part 2: …but remember that not everything that matters can be measured (easily).
The obvious–and totally valid–interpretation of this part of the resolution is that we’d all be better off if our hearts and minds were more gracious, more kind, and more often directed toward the people we care for.
But there are two business applications as well.
The first is to remember that you may not be measuring what you think you’re measuring. If, for example, your Mission is to be the “premier provider” of products in your vertical, what does that even mean? Most profitable? The most reputed? The fastest? Do your customers think you’re the “premier provider?” How do you know? Try (regularly) reassessing not only your goals, but how you’re measuring your progress.
The second is to remember that there really are things in business that you’re not gonna have a realistic way to directly measure and predict. Don’t let that challenge temper your resolve. Here at [meta]marketer one of the items in our client qualification process is a Gut Check. While we have some internal guidelines, examples, and counter-examples, the reason we have a Gut Check is that even a sophisticated flowchart that cites our corporate history, case studies, industry best practices and political, economic, social and ethical theory couldn’t tell us whether we’ll be able to sleep at night.
So there you go. Our New Year’s Wish for you is that you would meet and exceed all your resolutions. Happy New Year.