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« New direct marketing tactic | Main | Does BoingBoing matter? »

But don't measure THIS

John Dodds responded to my post about measurement. So here's some more: There's no doubt that you should measure things that are both important and measurable. When you do, it's inevitable that what you measure improves.

Caveat #1 is not to measure things that aren't important, just because they're measurable. Business lore is rife with stories about companies that started measuring something... like defects to the last sigma... only to discover that people figured out that the best way to improve the measurement was to not make anything at all. Start measuring how long your operators stay on the phone, for example, and you'll discover plenty of operators that just hang up on long-winded callers. Measuring the right thing is essential.

But caveat #2 is even more important: the art of business and organization is in realizing that there are important things you can't measure. These ephemeral, soft things are the ones that often differentiate one organization from another, that lead to one company winning when all the metrics appear to be the same.

True story: I have a gig coming up, one that was planned a month or two ago. I went to book the tickets. First I went to Travelocity. Then, halfway through the process, decided to go straight to American to do it. Not sure why. Finished the reservation. Went to pay. Got a popup: can't do that because the ticket has already been booked.

Amazing.

I had forgotten I had already booked the ticket (That part isn't amazing. that happens all the time). No, what was amazing is that six weeks ago, I had gone through the same process, picked the same airline, the same flight times... exactly the same. Because of something you can't measure, but is important nonetheless. And smart managers know how to invest in that too.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference But don't measure THIS:

» Pop Marketing Idol Discovers Analytics from The Innovative Marketer
Marketing Guru Seth Godin is a great meme predictor. If he's talking about a topic, you know it's going to become a Business Week article within the next few months. Yesterday, he had a post about marketing measurement, and I [Read More]

» Seth Godin Knows About Reliable Intel from Boots on the Ground
While we here at BOTG have been talking about the value of your intel, Seth Godin has also been talking about metrics on his blog recently. While he touts the importance of measurement, he adds two caveats in a recent post... [Read More]

» Measuring Sales Statistics from LandingTheDeal
Today on the Seth Godin Post Game Show: Measuring stuff. Statistics, revenue, lead conversion, time in the field, call-to-conversion ratios...if there's a measurement to be had, some micro-managing sales boss has invented it and is using it... [Read More]

» Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should from Servant of Chaos
The Internet makes us all more measurable. We can not only see the actual results of our marketing efforts, but we can see these results in (almost) real time. This has positive and negative aspects. On the one hand it [Read More]

» Measure it becuase you can? from interactiveepiphany.com
Id like to take Seths article a step further though and answer the next logical question? How do I know what is worth measuring?Business Objectives. Every site should have set key performance indicators (KPIs) based upon the sites busi... [Read More]

» Measurement from Moments of Clarity
Seth Godin's comments today on measurement really hit home with me since I'm a recently minted 6 Sigma Black Belt. My company runs into measurement freaks very often...with the end result being a myopic view of a very large set [Read More]

» Measurement from Moments of Clarity
Seth Godin's comments today on measurement really hit home with me since I'm a recently minted 6 Sigma Black Belt. My company runs into measurement freaks very often...with the end result being a myopic view of a very large set [Read More]

» But don't measure THIS from WebMetricsGuru
I wrote an earlier post on Measure That but now Seth added..But don't measure THIS ....the art of business and organization is in realizing that there are important things you can't measure. These ephemeral, soft things are the ones that... [Read More]

» WIRELESS TOYZ from Toyz Shop
Customers want to shop the leader - a store that has a proven record with thousands of customers across the nation. Wireless Toyz represents almost every ... [Read More]

» Be Careful What You Measure from Management Insights
What gets measured gets done, as I've said before. Unfortunately, that works both ways. Measure the wrong thing, and you are liable to encourage the wrong behavior. Even measuring the "right" thing may result in unintended consequences. When I first st... [Read More]

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