How to make metrics relevant for creative teams

As a marketing executive, you understand that metrics matter. When your team works together on metric-oriented goals, you can serve your clients better, reduce mistakes and miscues, and maximize every dollar spent.

Unfortunately, while you may love metrics, odds are your creative staff doesn't. At least, not yet.

One reason creatives don't pay attention to company metrics is because they don't understand how they directly influence those results. Inherently, people want their work to carry significance, and they can become disheartened when a company's most important goals don't seem to correlate with the work they do each day.

In the end, no one wants to feel like a member of the "B team." This is especially true for creatives, whose work is often forward-facing and publicly representative of a brand or company but disconnected from the bottom line.

Part of making creative team members understand why metrics matter is helping them understand their role in achieving metrics-based goals. Follow these three tips to demonstrate how metrics are relevant to everyone in the company:

Only focus on metrics that actually matter
Whatever you do, do not make metrics the flavor of the month. Asking people to focus on a different metric each month is extremely demotivating. It teaches people to disregard current metrics because they're only 29 days away from a different one.

Instead, identify two to four key metrics to regularly track as a core part of operational assessment. Don't bog anyone down with an overload of data that isn't important; just focus team efforts on metrics that matter and demonstrate their importance by offering incentives for achieving or exceeding these goals.

Make it relevant
If you want metrics to be a focus for creatives, invest time and energy into helping them understand how they play a role. For example, when extra hours spent on a project have to be written off because they can't be billed to a client, show them how they can contribute to bottom-line profits by achieving goals within set hours.

Of course, to highlight relevance, you could also remind creatives of how achieving metrics-based goals can directly affect bonuses and incentives.

Recognize and reward
When people work hard to accomplish a goal, they want to be appreciated for their efforts. Leadership must make an effort to recognize those who helped them achieve company goals.

Whether it comes through special celebrations or by simply sending a company-wide memo recognizing contributors in every department, calling attention to high achievers will encourage them to continue striving and motivate others to earn the same accolades.

Stimulating creative minds

Another major challenge in getting creatives to focus more on data is that they usually aren't inspired by numbers. Using these three tips, you can use visual stimulation to overcome this obstacle and boost motivation:

Measure and monitor visually
Instead of simply discussing numbers, use charts or a diagram to illustrate progress toward a goal. It can be serious or playful (like a hiker moving up a mountain), but make sure your visually oriented people can see how you're doing without analyzing a spreadsheet.

Remember: This won't just benefit creatives. Most people are visual thinkers, and adding visual elements can help increase interest in otherwise "dry" topics.

Keep metrics top-of-mind
Create a catchphrase that can be everyone's screensaver or hung as a banner in the conference room. Post a funny reminder in the office kitchen. These visual triggers can come in any form, but they all go a long way toward keeping metrics-based goals on everyone's mind throughout the day.

Promote rewards with visual reminders
When offering specific rewards, remind people of what they're working toward with visual reminders. For example, if your reward for $3 million in annual sales is a company-wide three-day cruise to the Bahamas, you can have a shuffleboard game during lunch, play the "Love Boat" theme over the intercom, or even have flowered leis waiting on everyone's chairs when they arrive in the morning.

While these tactics may seem silly, the lighthearted gestures will remind your employees of important goals and promote unity among groups that might not normally interact during a regular workday. This solidarity will let all teams know that they are equally important and appreciated for achieving metrics-based goals.

In the end, the metrics you track could be as broad as the number of new clients at a certain spending level or as specific as exceeding profits by a certain percentage. They could represent a milestone or a percentage of customer retention.

No matter what goal you're targeting, when everyone is motivated to pull in the same direction, the company has a much higher chance of being successful. Creative employees are no exception, and -- given proper recognition and encouragement -- can become just as involved in achieving and exceeding your company's bottom-line metrics.

Drew McLellan leads up the Agency Management Roundtable.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet and McLellan at @DrewMcLellan.

 

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