What's the most important marketing metric?

February 9, 2021

Marketers–no matter the level or the area–have numbers that they are either paying attention to or accountable for. When it comes to key performance indicators (KPIs), they’re different from organisation to organisation. 

Many marketing professionals make the mistake of chasing bulls**t marketing stats, widely known as vanity metrics. These include the following: 

  • Likes 
  • Shares 
  • Followers
  • Views

Sure, it’s fine to have general knowledge around what this looks like for your company, and there’s nothing wrong with setting goals for marketing statistics like these. But, they shouldn’t be what you base the success of your marketing activities on. 

It’s important to drill down to stats that are really going to show you what the return on investment (ROI) of your various marketing activities is. Of course, conversion rate is one of the most popular ways of “proving the worth” of marketing campaigns, especially those that are run on behalf of sales. 

What marketing on behalf of sales looks like 

Before we talk about the most important marketing metric, let’s go a little further on what we mean when we say, “on behalf of sales.” Sales and marketing (ideally) work alongside each other, and everything that sales does should be a reflection of what marketing produces. This is everything from messaging, to pricing. 

When we talk about content or campaigns that are run on behalf of sales, this is the stuff that directly reflects what your sales team is learning through conversations with prospects or customers that they’re trying to expand business with. 

For example, if prospects that fit into a particular persona are consistently surfacing a pain point that there is no content or campaign built around, the marketing team should be using that information to respond to the need identified by those in the market. 

The most important marketing metric is… 

Revenue.

In our opinion, revenue is the one stat you should care about as a marketing. The rest is just noise. 

This may sound like a hot take, but at the end of the day, all of the work that we do as marketers feeds right back into the market. You’re working to help people realise or better understand a problem they face, and then present a solution to that problem in the form of a product or service. 

If your work is done correctly, this will lead to a relationship forming with the prospect that holds the goal of them becoming a customer. 

REVENUE

Sure, the first step is a conversation, so you could argue that conversion rate is more important than revenue. However, you’ve got to keep in mind that not everyone measures conversion rates the same way. The rate could be based on the number of downloads for a certain piece of marketing or sales collateral, or it could be someone requesting a product demonstration. 

Although demonstrating higher intent, none of these actions are guaranteed to sustain your business. The only metric that truly does this is revenue. 

If what you’re doing as a marketer doesn’t move the needle on revenue, ask yourself why you’re doing it? 

Focusing on revenue doesn’t make you money-centric, or doesn’t mean that you lack care for your audience or what you’re choosing to serve up to them through your marketing efforts. It just means that you’re being more intentional about what and how you decide to produce content and campaigns. 

Bottom line: Don’t chase vanity stats. Work towards ROI instead. 

Inbound Marketing Strategy Guide