Original post written by Sérgio Tavares, ph.D.. This version adapted by Eileen Banting
There is a common misconception that if a manager hires enough people with different competencies, problems will be solved, and ideas will grow into living projects. But that’s rarely the case.
Project owners typically don't communicate with their team to dig out the gold. Gold is found by discovering the rare common ground - located outside each one's comfort zone. Instead, they ask each of them to do the task assigned to them. And the team does just that - their job. Except that alone cannot solve the problem of turning an idea into the desired product, a must-have feature, or a habit in the consumer’s routine.
Gold is found by discovering the rare common ground - located outside each one’s comfort zone.
When projects are assigned around the skills, or assets, or tangible outcomes to be created, the ideas often do not come to life. It is when building your projects around goals, that you increase your chances of success.
Goals should immediately be translated into metrics to be achieved. Is the metric you are using helping you reach your desired state or is simply measuring for the sake of measuring? Think about this for a moment because it is critical. When you dive deeper into metrics, you’ll find that the measurements that can help you reach the desired state are the ones that are often overlooked. The tendency is to measure revenue, but what we need to focus on is what is bringing in the revenue and attach the right metrics to that. By doing so, the focus is on growth versus simply seeing the number on the paper - An action-oriented metric vs a vanity metric.
Please take a look at one of our clients, Finning, as an example. Finning is the world's largest Caterpillar dealer, selling, renting, and providing parts and services for equipment and engines to customers across diverse industries, including mining, construction, petroleum, and forestry. Finning's service goal was to reduce the time to complete the exchange of an equipment part. This process included the time it took the customer to send in the actual piece and for the company to mark it as received. At that time, this averaged to about ~37 days. For each day Finning could cut down; it resulted in about ~1mil in savings. By helping Finning create a solution around decreasing the time it took to exchange a part, the client's desired state resulted in significant savings for the company. [Learn more about that project: here.]
Projects built around goals have a higher chance of success.
The analysis of service and product performance falls short when companies try to make sense of data in a one-size-fits-all manner. In order to have your business grow, we need to measure the cause not the effects. It begins by focusing on three main points are that essential for your data-driven, customer-centric business:
Is this conversion rate good? Is this bounce rate bad? Is this click-through rate optimal? Well, unless they are in some extreme, all those are relative. What's important is understanding how these metrics relate to your business model.
The relationships between metrics vary according to the very nature of your business. That helps to define which metric(s) matter. Companies often skip this step because they often rely on Google Analytics reports to provide them with the numbers. But that creates confusion, not clarity because it lacks intentionality.
If you are launching an entirely new service, you must understand the tipping point that gets customers to sign up, hit the purchase button, or stay with you — those are not seen in numbers. However, the job is to translate those into numbers.
You will not find any meaningful business results after simply “increasing time-on-site” or “increasing page views.” The trick is to understand how to relate a measurable thing to the core experience customers are seeking. That’s when you start leveraging the customer experience in your favour.
Then compare the types of customers you are attracting (a monthly subscriber, a once-a-year buyer) to the effort it takes to get more of these customers (social media ads, referral programs, word of mouth).
Finally, which action-oriented metric should you choose? Pick the one which will generate the most impact.
While measurements are nearly an exact science, the relationship between data and business models is, by nature, full of uncertainty. The job is to make the most reliable system out of it.
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