The Comfort of Useless Marketing Metrics


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I read some interesting thoughts on BrandSavant about accountability and metrics. The gist:

We know there is something positive about increased mentions, but if pressed, we really can’t put our finger on the tangible benefits of these mentions. We have a subjective view of an apparently objective number. In short, we have been seduced by the illusion of accountability that these metrics provide.

I would go a bit further. I’d say that a metric that does nothing but make you feel good should be chucked out.

It’s easy to be lulled into false comfort by surrounding yourself with numbers. Many marketers (and politicians, and people of all types) use numbers subjectively – choosing ones that are convenient to support their argument.

What you need are metrics that provide insight. If a statistic doesn’t provide insight into how your relationship with your customers is progressing, if it doesn’t tell you how to change your behavior to deepen that relationship, then it’s a waste of time.

Your metrics need to tell a story (this is happening because of that) with a moral (by doing this, you can achieve that). Reporting that you got 10,000 mentions on Twitter last month doesn’t tell a story.

If the number can’t clarify an action that has the potential for improving business, throw it away.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Thompson Morrison
Thompson Morrison has spent the last couple of decades figuring out how companies can listen better. Before co-founding FUSE, Mr. Morrison was Managing Director of AccessMedia International (AP), a consulting firm that provides strategic market analysis for the IT industry. His clients included Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, IBM, and Vignette.


  1. I fully agree on this one! Take them out. It is not only a waste of time, it blurs your vision. And this is where research is all about: finding the metrics that produce the statistics that matter!


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