Typically we cater to KPIs around reducing costs and increasing leads or sales. We set these with our clients at various points in the funnel and sometimes they care about other things we cannot really connect to an outcome – like impressions/reach.
Almost immediately the pressure is on to move the needle on a small number of metrics.
Quotas are KPIs’ evil twin brother.
As another example, just look at what Amazon does to its people in the name of productivity. People in their warehousing are afraid to take bathroom breaks.
And it’s not just big businesses. Whenever you choose a select few KPIs to focus on, you’ve also chosen to basically ignore all other indicators of success.
The wrong type of creative constraints
The chosen KPI constraints now lead to coming up with creative ways to increase those KPIs.
As an example, you can run a giveaway that will get hundreds to thousands of shares and emails. The reach might be worthwhile if your product is meant for the masses.
Any meaningful impact isn’t easily measured because contests like that almost never result in real sales or growth of core customer base.
For the rest of us, the emails and shares earned end up having such a minor effect that spending that $1k to run that campaign would have been better spent on ads.
We had a client spending $30k a month on Facebook ads thinking that if they turned them off their company would implode. When they finally did, sales volume barely skipped a beat.