The 3 key numbers

March 1, 2009

Whenever I start working with a client or engagement, the first thing I try to identify are the 3 key metrics that drive that business, both on and offline.

This helps set the agenda for the digital approach. I’ve seen digital techniques been given a bad rep by senior individuals at client organisations, as the so called digital experts have come to help without any real contextual understanding of the business that their client operates in and the issues that drive it.

Incidentally I’ve seen the same problem occur when well-meaning, highly intelligent consultants try to cover off digital issues – they just dont get the media, and its unique challenges, economics and approach.

Here are examples of some of the 3 key numbers:

* Sales

* Average Transaction Value

* Gross Margin

* Qualified Prospects

* Conversion to sale

* Products per customer

The key is identifying what these 3 numbers are and aligning all digital activity around improving their performance.

Measurement & Optimisation

Once the programs are designed around delivering on these 3 numbers, then it is vital to measure frequently and track performance via a dashboard. This helps everyone understand and keep track of performance. Optimisation programs can then be put in place to continuously enhance performance in these areas.

The Final Question: Why 3?

I often get asked, why only 3 numbers? The reason is that the best thing about digital is its measurability, but the worst thing about digital is measurement. This is because that even the most simplistic analytics tools provide so much data that they ‘blind’ even digital experts, let alone 99% of a companies organization and 99.5% of a company’s senior management team!

Aligning 3 simple numbers to the company’s vision, stated objectives and business performance objectives, simplifies and demystifies digital – this helps win hearts and minds which are vitally important when trying to ‘win’ budget and political support.