by Wendy O’Donovan Phillips


Get the most out of this article by reading these articles first:

It’s widely known in professional surfing that measuring a wave is largely subjective. According to Surfer Today, “the analysis is based solely on video and photo imagery.” Additional data considered may include tides, sunlight and wave set-up. Still, it’s not a precise science. 

Just the same, no matter how much data available, measuring marketing is subjective. Unlike in accounting, where all financial experts use similar measurement tools like the Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet statements, there is no industry standard in marketing. Google Analytics, launched in 2005, is most marketers’ go-to measurement system, but measures only web-related activity. Second runners-up are marketing automation and sales CRM data platforms, yet with hundreds of platforms available none set the standard for reporting. Collectively, they only measure middle-of-the funnel and bottom-of-the funnel activity.

What’s a marketer to do? Let’s go back to the one-page marketing plan, specifically the Measures column. Note in our examples there are three to five measures. Keep it simple. Align the marketing team on one to two measures for Awareness marketing strategies, one to two measures for Consideration marketing efforts and one to two measures for Decision marketing tactics.

Remember to measure the swell, not the wave. While Strategies, or actions taken while on each wave or in each quarter, are updated quarterly, Measures are updated annually. This gives the team time, energy and momentum to notice the swell and to ride it well.

Knowing there’s not an industry standard, owners and executives must align marketing teams in an organizational standard upon which everyone can agree and against which everyone can fairly measure performance. Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great about The Flywheel. The premise is that with disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action, we can achieve energy buildup then breakthrough in business. So far in this series, the focus has mainly been on disciplined action. The quarterly alignment sessions are when disciplined people engage in disciplined thought. Without it, the plan is nothing more than a static to do list.

Get the last installment in this series: Master the Marketing Process: The Inner Workings of the Marketing Swell.

Since 2007, Big Buzz® has helped Stage II to Stage III organizations systemize marketing to achieve growth goals. Founder and CEO Wendy O’Donovan Phillips is the author of two books available on Amazon, Kaboom and Flourish, multiple data-driven eBooks, has been published in McKnight’s, in Forbes, and has been quoted in The Washington Post, ABC News, and Chicago Tribune. She has lectured for the American Dental Association, Argentum, several chapters of LeadingAge, and dozens of other organizations in front of audiences ranging in size from 25 to 3,000. She has been honored by the American Marketing Association for excellence in her field and has been named a Gold Key Award Winner by the Business Marketing Association. In her two-decades-long career, she has consulted with hundreds of organizations globally to support improved marketing clarity, strategies, and outcomes. Get details: visit and follow Wendy.

by Wendy O’Donovan Phillips



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