Cella Consulting partners with Marketing and Creative Operations teams across industries to help them identify and capture opportunities. One common opportunity we see is for Operations to create metrics to add value to their departments. It is well understood that data is no longer a nice to have, it is a must have to be a true strategic partner.

It is common to see Marketing and Creative Services teams tracking In-Market Performance Indicators that measure effectiveness of tactics. It is less common to see those same teams tracking operational metrics that measure how efficiently processes or services are performing. These metrics are inputs necessary for Operations to define the value of the department and to become a trusted strategic partner to the organization. Understanding how to use operational metrics to measure processes and identify areas of improvement is key to achieving success.

So where to begin? The usual suspects for operational metrics are variations of cost, timeliness, quality and utilization but If you want measures that are truly meaningful, start by defining what matters most to your organization. Once you understand what matters most, you can start to determine what you need to measure so your metrics ladder up to initiatives and show value.

Strategic Guidance 

Look to your organization's mission and vision statements or better yet, the strategic objectives to guide you. Operational measures should also be used to validate your value proposition and your value is likely aligned to organizational objectives. If you still need to drill down further to what matters, consider utilizing a SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This can be a helpful mechanism to identify areas where measurable values to inform on performance will be meaningful. 

As you start to define your operational performance metrics, you will have your most important measures, known as key performance indicators (KPIs). These are likely those high-level measures that will get reported up to senior leadership. It is highly likely you will also require measures that are not necessarily key, but still incredibly important to understanding your operation. For instance, say your department KPIs are ROI, Fiscal Responsibility and Utilization Rate. To fully understand these KPI you likely need an additional performance indicator on Output. Now that is not to say Output cannot be a KPI, again, it goes back to what is most important to your organization. In this example, where Output is not a KPI, it may not need to be reported up past an Operations level however it is required to support understanding the operation. Expect to have KPIs measuring what matters most as well as what we at Cella refer to as Operational Performance Indicators (OPIs) that add depth to the understanding of the process and service. 

Metrics and Beyond

Every Performance Indicator, key or not, will have metrics that need to be tracked to support the measure. Metrics are objective measures of assessment used for comparing and tracking. Every performance indicator is technically a metric, but not every metric is a KPI. Using the same above example of Output, this OPI will likely require tracking multiple metrics such as 1) requests submitted, 2) requests accepted, 3) requests in progress, and 4) requests delivered. Additionally, there can be value in adding an additional metric to understand requests rejected and why, it could uncover opportunities. 

Once you have your KPIs and OPIs, you will need to determine the best way to report the measure; total number of, dollar amount, average of, percentage of, value of. In order to improve interpretation of measures, aim to use ratios. 

In-market performance indicators coupled with operational performance indicators will contribute to the ability to monitor those very important strategic objectives such as ROI of the Marketing efforts. When you are able to look at both effectiveness and efficiency, you are telling a much better story of the operation. 

The Full Picture Support

For Marketing and Creative Operations professionals who are interested in increasing the maturity of their metrics strategy, Cella Consulting can offer support. 

Once you have established the correct measures for your operation, test them. Are they telling a complete story? Are they telling the right story? Are they simple to understand? If the answer to any of those questions is a no, keep refining until you are confident in your measurements. For Creative and Marketing Operations leaders who are interested in engaging outside support for developing a metrics strategy, Cella can help. Cella Consulting offers a Metrics Strategy Workshop that guides operations leaders in defining what matters most to the organization, determining performance indicators, understanding end data users and assessing their data readiness.