A guest post by Eric Raarup, vice president of Digital Experience, CRM and Marketing, sponsored by RBA.

Measurement is key. If you lead a communications team and are accountable to management for key performance indicators (KPIs) and measuring the success of your team, product or service, this isn’t news. If you work in digital marketing, where budgets are always challenged and you’re continuously looking to see if your corporate communications initiative made an impact and whether the time put in was worth it, this definitely isn’t news.

Knowing that measurement is necessary isn’t the problem. You know you need to prove your department’s value. The problem is measuring the right KPIs to make strategic decisions. Using a tried-and-true framework can help you decide how to find the right KPIs.

Mike Goracke, digital strategist and strategy discipline manager with Minneapolis-based technology consultancy RBA, has spent the last five years focusing on measurement and helping organizations use data to guide business strategy. A common theme he finds at the start of a project is not that organizations aren’t measuring, but that they’re measuring too much, and they’re measuring the wrong indicators.

“Measuring too much prevents organizations from focusing on driving business results,” Goracke said, thinking about clients who present weekly 12-page reports with thousands of metrics. “They have no idea where to look.”

Goracke’s number one word of advice for organizations looking to strategically measure communications efforts and use that data to make sound, strategic business decisions is to move away from hundreds of KPIs – or even 10 – down to maybe five or seven. Then focus on those, and take action.

As a breakout session presenter at the upcoming Convergence Summit, Goracke will highlight case studies of how organizations are driving results through the convergence of data, technology and strategy and offer best practices for discovering which KPIs best align with goals to drive decision making and business strategy.

The framework Goracke uses with clients is based on a widely used and popular system developed by Google’s Avinash Kaushik, adapted slightly based on Goracke’s own experience. Goracke had the opportunity to participate in an online marketing course taught by Kaushik, who challenged participants to go beyond the data to consider how they can adjust strategy by deciphering what the data mean.

“How does an organization act differently if a KPI goes from green to red,” Goracke asked. “How are they acting differently because of what they’re measuring?”

Key takeaways from Goracke’s upcoming session – “Using Data to Guide Business Strategy” – include:

  1. The difference between being data curious, data informed and data driven
  2. Common mistakes and challenges organizations encounter when measuring success
  3. How to build a decision making, measurement framework

“You have to have a strategy in place to understand why you’re measuring what you’re measuring,” Goracke concludes. “It’s a problem that any organization – from a nonprofit to a multi-billion-dollar corporation – can have, and it’s exciting to help get them to a point where we first flip the switch for people, to see the excitement in knowing what to do next.”

Pictured above is Mike Goracke, digital strategist and strategy discipline manager with Minneapolis-based technology consultancy RBA. To hear more from Mike, register to attend the Convergence Summit on March 23.