Metrics: Repeat, Rethink, or Remove

Before you pull that next metrics report, ask yourself, “What decision am I prepared to make based on what it says?”

If you don’t have a short list of decisions (even one will suffice), don’t pull the report. Reports and charts alone just show that you have the data. The value is in the interpretation of that data in order to drive business goals.

We need to translate information into intelligence.

Before even creating a metrics report, zero in on institutional strategy. For example, if your institution seeks to be need blind in admission and needs to increase financial aid resources to realize this vision, and your unrestricted annual fund solicitations support this goal, then you can build a report that aligns with these goals. The report would show topline progress towards the goal, giving by cohort or target audience, then perhaps web traffic to the pages about the goal, email solicitation conversion rates, and so on.

Such an approach ensures that your outreach tactics, and associated reports, are always tied to the big picture. This should resonate with leadership and will keep you, and your team, nimble and ready to pivot toward the tactics that work and away from those that don’t. This also helps you prevent sustaining tactics that are successful unto themselves (e.g., an e-newsletter with a high click rate) but don’t directly tie to strategy (e.g., zero clickthroughs from the newsletter to a call to action). This is the perfect recipe for a “rethink,” based on the metrics report.

Repeat, Rethink, or Remove.

For the purposes of simplicity, think about the “Three Re’s” when building and reviewing your metrics reports, with the “it” in each being the specific communication tactics:

Repeat: It did exactly what we wanted. Keep doing it.

Rethink: It had a positive effect, but not to the level we expected. Let’s rethink it.

Remove: It did nothing or had a negative impact. Stop.

This puts you in a decision-making posture every time you review/refine the report. Each of these three positions is a decision that, as you track progress, you can point to as you look at the reports over time.

Doing so helps you point to the tactics that need more work, those that can be cut, and those that can be in maintenance mode.

So what are you waiting for, reply with your thoughts!