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When evaluating metrics, focus on accomplishments, not activities

Ryan Mallory


Aug. 2, 2021

John Wooden, a basketball coach, and player, nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” won ten NCAA national championships in 12 years as head coach for the UCLA Bruins, including an astonishing seven consecutive titles. Overall his coaching record was 664 wins with just 162 losses, giving him a winning percentage of over 80%. Among coaches, players, sports analysts, and enthusiasts, Wooden is by far seen as the unanimous choice as the greatest basketball coach of all time.

Wooden, a master strategist, and planner who had an eye for detail believed in efficient practice sessions along with post-practice analysis to help his team constantly improve. He would always remind his players not to confuse activity with accomplishment. Whether in practice or a game, proper execution was a crucial part of his winning formula.

When it comes to evaluating your digital marketing metrics, remember what Wooden told his players and coaching staff, “Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment.”

In the world of digital marketing, how shall I say this? We love numbers. Thanks to Google Analytics, Google Ads, and web-based SEM tools. We can gather gobs and gobs of highly organized data for all of us to analyze and interpret. Digital marketers enjoy pouring mountains of information onto clients with charts, graphs, and tables all full of colorful percentage changes. These marketers attempt to dazzle you with their industry knowledge and provide business owners with year-to-date and month-to-month comparisons.

Ah yes, with all these numbers at our disposal, we can use this data to help all of us understand if a current marketing campaign is on track or not. Let’s face it bigger is better — the higher the number, the more successful your campaign — right?

It depends. Let’s ask a few questions. What are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish? What headaches are you trying to solve? Is your audience engaging and interacting with your content? Is there a conversion, meaning are they calling your businesses or filling out an online form? Are they subscribing? Are business owners or employees receiving phone calls and emails from your campaign? And the most critical question are you directly reaching and communicating to your targeted audience?

Yes, growth is good, but make sure you’re growing the right audience and in the right direction? Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. If you’re a business owner working with a digital marketing firm, be sure to ask these specific questions. Don’t just rely on charts and percentage increases to tell you that things are good. Instead, ask how your digital promotions are specifically serving your customers. And be sure that the data correlates to your targeted audiences, so these new customers can, in turn, move forward through your sales process.

By asking the right questions to clarify your intent, you’re letting your digital firm know to focus your efforts on accomplishments rather than activities.