Finding your KPIs in the Gold Rush of Data

key performance indicators in data illustration

Thank-you to Steffen Hedebrandt, Head of Marketing over at Airtame, for writing this article. Airtame is a small wireless HDMI device that plugs into the HDMI port of any screen or projector. Unlike other wireless HDMI devices, nothing is plugged into your computer or smartphone. Simply download the app and stream your content to the screen from any major computer platform, tablet, or smartphone. When you connect it to a WiFi network, everyone can connect to the Airtame too. It’s the ideal way to show a KPI dashboard like with DashThis.


On August 16th of 1896, local miners discovered gold in the remote city of Klondike, in Yukon, Canada.


As the rumour spread and eventually reached San Francisco and Los Angeles, it launched what was later to be known as the Klondike Gold Rush. Between 1896 and 1899 more than 100,000 people made the long and presumably uncomfortable journey to Klondike.


Some got rich. Some got a bit lucky. Some died in dire pain, due to rough climate. Winter did indeed come. Most had to just travel back the long road from which they had come again, in vain.


There aren’t necessarily the same dangers with data. However, I do see similarities.


Data-driven decision making has become the jitterbug of marketing today. With good reason, one might add. But just as the gold rush of Klondike, not everything that is buzz-worthy is gold.


Panning for data

Luckily, digging out, dissecting, and using data is not as hard as drilling and finding gold in the permafrost of Klondike.


We live in a world of abundant data. Everything which is done digitally creates bits and pieces of data. A lot of it is useless for most people, really. In fact, if data was gold, nobody would bother making the journey to Klondike.


In this market of abundance, it’s not a matter of whether the data is available.


It’s a matter of understanding the data, knowing your business strategy, and almost alchemically creating value out of it.


It’s not easy. It takes trial, error, and experience. It takes testing what pan, hammer, or other tool you need to use to make the muddy data materialize into something you can sink a tooth into. Eventually though, you should get the hang of it.


But enough with the storytelling. Let’s do an exponential jump 120 years forward to today, 2016.


How to start panning the right data

It is not as hard as you’d think to start finding and utilizing the gold that your business data represents.


First, let’s find your key metrics


Not all data is gold, although some metrics can seem nice and shiny, like Facebook likes, without giving you any real value. You might have heard of these referred to as vanity metrics.


Real gold is data that gives you currency. For some types of metrics, the currency is obvious. Sales for a salesman, for instance, mean money straight to their pocket.


Some metrics, however, have value in more nuanced ways. For example, at Airtame, improving our Amazon score is a top key metric for the marketing team. Why? Because we’ve noticed a direct correlation between our Amazon score to the number of sales on Amazon. A good Amazon rating also boosts your brand’s reputation in general, so it’s a double win.


To find your key metrics, then, you need to think about what’s going to give you the most value back.


Then, it’s track, analyze, repeat


What good is finding gold if you keep it all to yourself?


Good data, like a shiny nugget of gold, is meant to be looked at. Find a way to visualize your data that works for you. Classic line graphs work well for us, but there are a lot of great options for neatly displaying data.


Dashboards are a lifesaver in this sense, and are the best tool I’ve found so far for keeping track of large amounts of data.


A good tip for using dashboards is to display a data dashboard for the whole team to see. Hold a friendly competition on who can reach the sales goals first. Or make it a team effort and set an overall goal with a nice reward for the whole office, if the goal is reached. The live dashboard lets the team know how close to the goal they are.


You’d be surprised how simply seeing the numbers on a team KPI dashboard can motivate your team and boost performance. And the reward doesn’t need to be elaborate. A steak dinner works for our team.

DashThis The Team at DashThis

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