Focus less on KPIs and more on this…


We have an obsession now with data, and rightly so. Failure to look at the data is like hitting a golf ball and not bothering to look up to see where it’s gone. Was it a good shot – Don’t know. Do we need to do anything different next time? No idea.

We need data for all sorts of reasons. So that it can:

  • tell us whether we’ve found a viable and scalable route to market.
  • tell us where the holes in our user journey are.
  • tell us whether that 2 hour debate on which hashtag to use was time well spent.

However, data is not without it’s limitations:

  • It doesn’t tell us if there was an even more scalable route to market elsewhere.
  • It doesn’t tell us how to plug the holes in our user journey.
  • It doesn’t teach us common sense – no hashtag is worth a 2 hour debate.

In fact, I think as an industry we’ve started to hide behind data. If the graph is going up, we take the credit, even when we know other factors were at play. And when the graph goes down, we find ten other data sources with which to conflate and confuse.

Ultimately, data does not, in itself, produce anything. Good stuff happens when we do good stuff. I’d therefore suggest we need to focus a little more on the big, strategic inputs we have absolute control over.

There are different terms for the but we refer to them as QSO’s – quarterly strategic objectives. What are the 3-5 big, tangible milestones that we can achieve in the next 3 months that will shift the brand universes beyond where it is today, because if we achieve all of these, the KPI’s will follow.

It also gives focus. If a task falls neither in the Quarterly Strategic Objectives bucket nor Business As Usual bucket (which is the routine stuff that has to happen each month as part of the long term strategy) then it needs to go in a third bucket, which looks rather like a bin – time is just too precious.

So a strong focus on KPIs is a must. But if each time the golfer looks up they find that the results are disappointing, then they need to start actually doing things differently – new clubs, new stance, new sport, perhaps. But only when we start fixing the inputs, can we expect the outputs to follow.

See you next time,



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