Marketing metrics are so often delivered as raw numbers. They do not help. Gleaning meaning is the art of the analyst and it’s not done nearly enough.

I drive by this sign a couple of times a week and it drives me CRAZY.

Your Speed

There are several of these scattered around Santa Barbara and they are, for the most part, useful. But not this one. This one give you a number but no context. Is 36 miles per hour good? Slow? Dangerous? 

All the other signs include the current speed limit. Put the two together and you have meaning. By itself, it’s just a number. 

Unless you plumb the depths of these numbers, they are a bit like that Your Speed sign. Like being told you are 629 miplects tall or have 32 blipmils to live. 

Content used to be king, now it’s all about context. 

Analysis is the art of understanding the meaning of numbers in context with goals. That is why, I always prefer differences, trends and percentages over numbers:

  • You are going 16 miles an hour over the speed limit.
  • You are 25% more influential on Twitter this month than last.
  • The traffic to your website from campaign A is 17% more engaged than the traffic from campaign B.

These are quantitative data points that I can use. I can take the next step and ease off on the accelerator, take a hard look at what I’m doing differently this month from last and shuffle some more of my advertising budget to campaign B.

There are so many metrics that are interesting. You know what? I’m done with interesting numbers. Give me useful numbers any time.

What’s that? 
License and registration?
Yes, Sir.