Key Performance Indicators & Reporting INSIGHTS

Insight #16-Hindsight KPI’s

July 1, 2012


I haven’t written about Key Performance Indicators and Reporting since mid-March and it’s time to pick up with another important KPI: Hindsight Reporting.


In Insight #3 (see blog entry below) we talked about Benchmarking. The Benchmark Report gives you aggregate summaries for types of campaigns over any particular period of time. With the Benchmark Report, you can compare:

  • Targeted vs non-targeted
  • Triggered vs non-triggered
  • Promotional vs editorial
  • Store-only vs Web-only vs Multichannel
  • Monday campaigns vs each of the other days of the week
  • And on and on……..


The HINDSIGHT REPORT provides you a more granular look because it displays each of the campaigns that make up those Benchmark summaries… and ranks them! So you can compare the individual campaigns within a campaign type, and look for what distinguishes the highest and lowest ranking campaigns.


Here are some of the insights you might discover with Hindsight Reporting:

  • Spotlight the importance of targeted campaigns, even where the volume is low
  • Monthly or quarterly review of the top and bottom 3 campaigns based on each metric
  • And here's the biggie: Don't just pick one type of campaign. Rank all campaigns for a particular period with the click of a mouse! Notice what rises to the top and what falls to the bottom. You'll find some surprises. For example, those store-only campaigns you thought you were sacrificing online revenues for? Many of those will have the highest online revenue per email!


If you’re sending out 12 print campaigns and 52 weekly emails you can probably eyeball this. But if you’re sending out multiple versions every day, layered with dynamic content and triggered campaigns, you need an automated report.


It would be great if your Email Services Provider let you

  • Flag each deployment with an unlimited number of campaign “types”
  • Go back and add new flags to those campaigns retroactively
  • Spit out a report that ranks each campaign
    • Within each campaign type
    • For whatever period you choose
    • Ranked on every important metric
  • And with the flick of a drop-down menu, instantly choose a different campaign type or period


Well, for most of you, your system won’t do that. But I love building semi-automated report templates that let you do just that kind of thing. Here's what a report like this looks like!


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Insight #3-Campaign KPI's

March 18, 2012

Benchmarking is important, but if you're relying on industry benchmarks... well, there are just too many factors making those too far out of context to be all that helpful. It's your own benchmarks that really matter. Having them at your fingertips so you can look at them every which way inside and out makes your benchmarks powerful. You need these for rolling 12 months as well as for whatever date range you may want to choose. Here's the format I like to use. 



Here's another one. A great marketer designed this one and I love it.


It shows every segment of every day, right alongside the same period year ago. And it displays year-over-year comps for every week, month-to-date and year-to-date.


It's handy to review BEFORE the month begins - a reminder of what you did for the upcoming month a year ago. Then update it each week to see how you're comping. It's great because, with this in your face... you WILL beat comps and make plan!





The key to great KPIs is:

  • Weekly or monthly TREND over time
  • Within the context of year-ago seasonality
  • And of course... making them quick and easy to update.

This is what distinguishes KPIs from one-off analysis.


What special KPIs do you love?




(Monday, March 19 12 09:10 am EDT)

Hi Dianne,
This are great. One additional KPI would be to compare results again the Campaign Forecast(Campaign Budget).


(Monday, March 19 12 10:39 pm EDT)
Excellent! That would fit very nicely right underneath the YOY % Diff. Thank you!

Melina Balboni

(Wednesday, March 21 12 01:25 am EDT)
Love it. These are helpful and well formatted tools for easy analysis


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  • Dianne (Sunday, March 25 12 09:17 pm EDT)

    Thanks Melina. Easy is key in KPIs. It's what frees up time for deeper analysis.

Insight #2-List KPIs

March 11, 2012


Your KPI’s need to be weekly, with month-to-date, quarter-to-date, year-to-date, and year-over-year comps. And they need to be sliced by segment. And oh yes... the most important part... you need to see trend over time in a single view.


This applies to so many functions – Web Analytics, CRM, Rewards Programs, etc., but let’s take an Email Marketing example.


Next week, we’ll look at some Campaign KPI’s. But this week, let’s focus on the Email Subscribers themselves.


There are two Email KPI’s I think are critical:

  1. List Growth - weekly
  2. List Engagement - monthly


First let’s look at Email List Growth.

Your KPI will look something like this – and you’ll have this same format for each segment. By segment, by week, you need to know where the list is growing, and where & why it’s shrinking, within the context of year-over-year trend.


“By segment” is a big mouthful! But start somewhere. For most retailers, that means starting with whatever segmentation you have at your disposal – while you’re working on achieving more robust segmentations.


So start with something like Source of Collection. I guarantee your list growth & shrinkage will show very different patterns by Source. You’ll learn which Sources are most important to focus on. And you’ll see very different patterns of unsubscribe reason (bounce, unsub, spam button). This weekly KPI will also set off bells and whistles if some source of collection just broke. Besides Source, you might try Regional, Gender, Hardware Platform, Rewards Membership, Cardholder, whatever.   Just get started.  Getting these KPI’s in place will fuel your efforts for better segmentation.


Now for the juicy KPI: List Engagement. 



How engaged is your list, and each segment of your list? Your KPI will look something like this – and you’ll have this same format for each segment.


You might use Recency or Frequency for any or all of these metrics. I prefer Recency:

- Open Recency

- Click Recency

- Buyer Recency

- Subscription Recency



To me, this is one of the most important factors in the question “Am I emailing too frequently?” If you’re worried that you’re email frequency is driving list fatigue, but your list is (1) growing and (2) as engaged as ever, then your email frequency is likely driving traffic and revenue without fatiguing the list. These two KPI’s combined will help you optimize frequency for various segments of your list!


Robyn (Tuesday, March 13 12 11:51 am EDT)

This is great, Dianne! Some great perspective on how to tackle this ever present question!

Insight #1 - KPI's Before Analysis

March 10, 2012


Well, here it is. You liked my first little newsletter "Insight #1-KPI's Before Analysis"...
... but here's the feedback I got over and over: Where's the blog?

Apparently, my prioritization of KPI's over analysis hit some nerves out there!

So I'm putting it in a blog and we can go round and round on it.

Key Performance Indicators may not be more important than analysis,
but I prioritize KPI’s over analysis because robust KPI’s are a living, instant exposure of your biggest risks and opportunities.

That lets you...

  1. Identify issues and resolve them before you would have otherwise even known about them
  2. Spend your analysis where it will make the biggest difference

Your KPI’s need to be weekly, with month-to-date, quarter-to-date, year-to-date, and year-over-year comps. And they need to be sliced by segment. And oh yes... the most important part... you need to see weekly trend over time.

From the feedback, I take it that many of you think analysis must precede segmentation. Well, of course it does turn into a circular argument where your analysis is informing your segmentations and vice versa. But my point is that if you don't yet have a robust reporting suite of KPI's, then you should stop wasting your time on analysis.

Once, I spent the entire 4 months of a client engagement analyzing data. I turned right around and spent the first 4 weeks of my next client engagement analyzing data. And then it hit me: I could have had a V8!

I could have used that time to put together a really robust set of weekly KPI's split on the same segments I was analyzing - and I'd have ended up with 2 years of weekly trend for each segment instead of a one-off snapshot. The analysis provided insights, but KPI's live on.. and they put those insights into context.

Monday's newsletter... what KPI’s should I have in place?

Maybe when we look at those together, this will all make more sense. Or not.


  • Steven Permuy(Sunday, March 11 12 01:26 am EST)

    You have to know where you're going before you get there, and the analysis feeds into a large management ecology that includes function areas like Finance that sometimes has adversarial relationship with Marketing over budgets, which impedes efforts to develop measures, whether its ROI, IRR,or NPV (I prefer the latter).

    For the CFO, managing what can’t be measured is futile when attempting to improve performance before gaining accurate and complete insight from Marketing ;-).


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  • Dianne (Sunday, March 11 12 07:40 pm EDT)

    Hi Steven. You make a great point! You need to know where you're going.

    It helps to know where you ARE, and where you HAVE BEEN. There is nothing like two years worth of weekly trend to inform Finance, Marketing, and Merchandising of where you're headed. With granular,
    weekly KPI trends in place, Marketing is empowered to intervene and DRIVE trend wherever the opportunity is biggest.

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