Key Performance Indicators (KPI) measure the performance of a company's activities. These figures can be used to determine and measure progress and achievement of set targets.
Which KPIs are considered and analyzed depends on the respective goals, the specific measures and the company itself.
We asked Birgit Berger, Performance Marketing Manager at InterNetX, what a company should focus on when analyzing strategic data.
In this digital era, the corporate field has been introduced to new and disruptive technologies, concepts, and methodologies that are changing the way businesses operate. An emerging field that should not go unmentioned is Big Data. To what extent do key performance indicators (also called KPIs) and performance monitoring play a role in today's corporate structure?
"In the age of big data, organizations are increasingly facing major challenges in analyzing strategic data. You should therefore define KPIs and pool resources to stay competitive. Because all companies want to grow, produce market-relevant products and effective marketing. Therefore, everyone is well advised to define exactly how they measure the achievement of their goals and at which point activities can be considered a "success". For me, the customer experience is a KPI that every business should consider. This has become an extremely important factor for success now, as a good reputation is one of the most effective forms of marketing.
But companies also have to be able to take care of and measure many other success factors. Scalability plays an important role. Today, KPIs can be found in various departments of a company: in production, in marketing, human resources and other strategically important areas.
Performance monitoring is therefore used for success and function control as well as for quality assurance."
What are the key components to keep in mind when setting up objectives for KPIs to be effective?
"The most common application error we as marketers make is that we consider all the numbers and metrics, that we get through Google Analytics etc., as KPIs. While most of these metrics are PIs ("Performance Indicators"), they may not be "Key Performance Indicators". But it's the "Key" that makes the difference. We should only consider KPIs as such if they are the direct key or road to success – and that is only the case if they are targeted directly at reaching the goal. As a result, many metrics are not key indicators of success.
The acronym SMART is often used to identify KPIs and, in my opinion, is a really helpful formula. It defines KPIs as specific, measurable, achievable, result-oriented and time-bound.
If you want to set up a KPI-Framework you should have a holistic view on your data and activities and always ask yourself: What are we doing to achieve the goal? How do we define success? Is there a benchmark? How do we measure that? You combine core goals, sub goals, tactics, measures and activities, as well as the measured variables, and try to integrate them into an analytical framework.
This is admittedly one of the hardest and most challenging tasks, as the KPIs can sometimes be very complex.
When formulating KPIs, one should always keep in mind a second rule: the greater the influence of activities on goal achievement, the more central the underlying measure for performance monitoring."
What are some specific aspects of a business that you recommend should absolutely be tracked/measured with KPIs?
"Unfortunately, there is no set of KPIs that is transferable to all projects and companies. All companies have to define their own goals. Consequently, the identification of KPIs is a specific and sometimes difficult task and the implementation can be very complex and bumpy.
But one thing is certain: All companies want to earn money at the end of the day. So, it is clear that the business parameters such as sales volume, profit, ROI and ROAS are always important.
In my opinion one of the most undervalued KPIs still is customer satisfaction in addition to time dimensions. All companies thrive on their customers. Customer satisfaction should therefore always be the goal of all activities – regardless of whether we talk about sales, marketing or product management.
Birgit Berger, Performance Marketing Manager at InterNetX
I think companies are well advised to invest a lot in it and to measure it. KPIs can be the percentage of satisfied customers, the time-to-response of the support and/or sales after contacting leads or the visits to help center pages per unit of time."
Do all KPIs from a company need to necessarily be aligned? If so, how often should they be reviewed to ensure that they are pushing towards the same corporate goal or mission, considering the fast-paced environment of today’s business world?
"This naturally always depends on the goals. Companies have long-term and short-term goals, and many other measurable activities run daily in parallel. There are metrics such as machine run times, the availability of the website or the performance and cost of ads that should be monitored daily. If these do not help achieve the goal or lead nowhere, there is the threat of large revenue losses. Other strategic metrics are controlled long-term and in other cycles.
But there are of course many opportunities to align and combine for example marketing and sales processes, to optimize workflows and set up service-level-agreements and to measure them.
But it isn’t really necessary or even possible to align all KPIs in one dashboard. I think this is a utopian idea, as goals are temporary and markets are volatile. CEOs always have multiple dashboards on their screens, segmented by strategic goals – even in the age of big data.
But worry not: There are a lot of tools, which are essential and helpful for performance monitoring such as old school Excel, Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, SEMrush, Google Ads, HubSpot or for example ISAC or AutoDNS for the server and domain business."
As a Performance Marketing Lead, how have you been able to successfully implement KPI’s in your online marketing projects’ strategies? What aspects have improved thanks to such implementation?
"As a Performance Marketing Manager at InterNetX, I first had to identify the strategic goals and acquire knowledge about the domain business, the market environment and our products. That meant a lot of research for me, because the domain market is very versatile and interesting. The first step was to analyze the status quo and define goals.
The marketing, sales and support teams then worked together to develop primary goals, sub goals, to define expectations and gather feedback and developed a strategy and KPI framework. In addition, a Buyer Persona concept was put in place to improve the performance of the campaigns, to optimize the conversion rate and lead nurturing. This also minimizes the waste coverage of the campaigns and increases the ROAS. We will continuously analyze and optimize our touch points in order to improve the user and customer experience.
Stay curious – we have a lot in mind."