Demanding accountability from Marketing has been the focus in many companies for a few years now. Metrics and dashboards have been the primary action taken by Marketing to respond to this pressure. (What better way to convince people you are “accountable” then with a cool, and expensive, dashboard which displays metrics of what you can measure rather than what you should measure.)
We are BIG fans of metrics and accountability when done correctly. However, it is too easy to get it wrong, even at the highest level. Fritz Henderson is taking over GM (that would be the “new” GM) and as Business Week put it in their June 29 issue, he “…has been careful not to criticize Wagoner” (his predecessor). To wit, apparently Wagoner was a “data geek” who used 10 metrics to measure his executives performance. That all by itself didn’t sound to bad.
Then Henderson is said to note that all were not particularly relevant and he has “…boiled it down to the five most vital for each department, with a much greater emphasis on sales and profits. Gee, you mean the prior metrics focused on something more important than that? There is an old expression most of us have heard: What gets measured, gets managed. Since sales and profits suffered at GM, it is any wonder the metrics didn’t focus on those?
Chris Oster, their so-called organizational czar put it this way: “We got a little crazy with metrics.” You think?
The first rule of metrics and measurement is to measure that which matters. This suggests that you have to understand, accept, and agree on what matters. Then you can decide what to measure and not go “a little crazy with metrics.”