Why should you measure to manage?

We all hear about Data and how it’s rapidly changing business, but how does it really affect us? Do we need to bother knowing about it if we are a smaller organisation?

Every day, it seems as if there is a new concept around data-driven decision making, and how it is an all but essential part of any marketers (or Managers) portfolio of tricks to measure certain metrics and how they impact on the bottom line. Some of the concepts are incredibly complicated, requiring huge amounts of historical data plotted against everything from shifts in weather to political leanings, whereas some simply measure the static information that comes into a business every day.

But how does this affect smaller businesses, who are more focused on growth and retaining their existing client base rather than worrying about complex measurements and reporting that, while it seems interesting, comes across as useless in a day-to-day scenario? Why should someone who work in an all-hands-on-deck environment spend precious time building some kind of reporting and storage functionality when their opportunity cost could be more sales that are desperately needed to make a profit?

In many, and I would argue all business, the collection, storage and interpretation of relevant information is what separates those who succeed from those who may struggle. There is a saying in business that “If you can measure it, you can manage it” – for example, while it’s easy to tell if your sales have gone up for one month, if you don’t know why that as happened, it’s incredibly difficult to replicate that success.

By measuring and analysing your data and your procedures, you can quickly identify what works and what doesn’t, meaning greater returns faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Interestingly many tools used by small and medium businesses are developing and implementing a reporting function to help make sense of the huge amount of data that even a small business can collect over a month, quarter or financial year. Something as widely used as Microsoft Excel, MYOB or general accounting software has analytical abilities that most SMB (Small and Medium Businesses) don’t use to their fullest extent. SMB don’t need to spend prohibitively large amounts of money on statistical tools that are difficult to use and unnecessary given the scope of the business, but using what they have effectively can result in a wealth of usable information.

At Promotion Products we are starting to shift to a more data-driven model – we want to know how our processes can be improved to provide greater levels of customer service to our clients and to meet their needs more effectively than before. Something as simple as a water bottle needs to be provided quickly and has to be of a high quality to ensure your satisfaction.

Without measuring the difference between how we did things before, and how we do things now, we wouldn’t be able to identify what helps us help you.

I hope everyone had a great Easter – stay tuned for more product updates, marketing news and concept discussions!

Nicholas Letts
Promotion Products – Marketing Manager