What is the most important Marketing KPI?


What is the most important Marketing KPI? If we’re honest, the answer is the one we’re personally measured against, whether we’re a CMO, a head of Ecommerce or a Campaign Manager.

But is this what’s best for the business? Is this what’s best for the customer? Again, if we’re honest, probably not. The problem here is the way businesses are managed. There is a constant misalignment of objectives and incentives meaning there will always be a conflict of interest.

Let me give you an example. A campaign manager needs to increase her click-through rate by 10% to get her bonus. The ideal would be to work on content and personalisation to increase relevancy and therefore customer interest, but maybe there is no time, or the tools are not adapted to scale like this. The route she takes is to target only the good clickers (anyone who has clicked in the last couple of months). This will inevitably work, metrics (which are percentages) will improve, and with a bit of luck ongoing customer acquisition might even top up the target volume. But it is clearly not the best approach.

Time for businesses to take a holistic approach

Would you blame that campaign manager? None of us should. This sort of scenario is happening everywhere, highlighting the need for businesses to align their objectives and measure in a more holistic way. Failing to do so will mean disconnects like this will continue to happen.

Of course, the task of aligning everyone’s KPI is easier said than done, but it is the difference between being able to understand which part of your customers’ experience lets your business down, and where there is an opportunity to do better. The cost of not doing this is having people focus their efforts in the wrong areas, budget being wrongly allocated and an overall inability to test and optimise. 

The image of working in the dark comes to mind but for those willing to address the issue, there is light at the end of the tunnel (or shall I say Funnel)!


Stuart Russell
Client Services Director