Football Manager, Kevin Keegan can (but doesn’t) claim to be a better manager than Bill Shankley based upon Management Win statistics. (Shankly won 49.95% of his games as manager, while Keegan won 50.47% ).
In a Digital world the volume and range of numbers can be used by Marketers in a variety of ways. If you look at the Andrew Lang quote “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts…for support rather than illumination” there are some basic rules to follow to help you quoting email SUPPORT numbers rather than to drive tactics to achieve your business strategy -
- Gather lots of data & present many metrics but only highlight the metrics that are positive. “Our open rate was up 3.2% compared with last month …… but don’t ask about our unsubscribes”
- Show metrics that are easy to manage / manipulate over business importance – “Our deliverability rate is up 12% …… we only emailed recent subscribers”
- Use extremely precise numbers and reference 3rd parties to add credibility – “Our open rate is 5.43% more than DMA / IAB / Esp (*delete as appropriate) quoted industry average” …….. rather than compare like for like performance.
- Use comparisons, but out of context “We got a click through to open rate of 30% up 5% ……. but the actual volume of click throughs was lower than previously”.
- Show your metrics inconsistently ……. It will stop people comparing effectively if you are adding value.
Whatever you do don’t educate your audience on the small number of key drivers for your business e.g. the health of your email database because
- If you do this will mean that you will have to define an email strategy
- If you start showing simple consistent clear metrics against targets then it is easier it is for the audience to grasp and work out how to think about your email data.
- They then may even ask for it more frequently and request the same data in the same format.
- It will ruin any future ability to keep your metrics “feel good!”
However it may help highlight what is important e.g. maintaining & growing the engagement with your subscribers through better segmented communications.
Just in case they do ask try this:
- Break your database into 3 segments – email addresses that have opened an email in the past month, those who last opened an email over a month ago but in the last 3 months & the rest.
- Give the three segments different values e.g. £10, £3, & 10p
- Calculate how much your database is worth
- In a month’s time do the same again and compare the difference.
This simple Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time Bound approach may help you on the journey to SMART email metrics – Alternatively just stumble over to the Lamp-post.