The Importance of Establishing Pre-campaign Metrics: An Olympics Metaphor


How are we going to judge the success of our campaign?

It’s a pretty simple question, but you’d be surprised at how often it’s overlooked. The time to determine the metrics of your campaign is not during the flight, or even after it’s complete – it should be determined in advance.

It’s also an important question when you consider the amount of work that takes place. Planners use these metrics to establish the parameters of the campaign, what properties or technologies they may consider, and these metrics are used during the campaign to optimize the overall performance.

If you aren’t asking about successes early in the planning stages, you aren’t setting yourself up for success.

Let me attempt to put this in Olympic context. To my knowledge, the IOC has never said whether the quantity or the quality of the medals should determine a “medal leader”, and that the rankings are for the media’s use only. However, if the International Olympic Committee had established some pre-Olympic metrics, we may be able to sidestep some of these conversations about which metric determines the leading country: is it the total number of medals won or is it the number of gold medals won?

For example, if the IOC doesn’t determine that the overall quantity of Olympic medals won establishes the “medal leader” what’s stopping Mongolia, from saying that they were the “medal leader” with 1 in 15 athletes receiving medals (They’ve received two to date in Judo and they have 30 athletes) as well as the “medal leader” by country population (they have just over 3 million people).

If the media was using a “conversion metric” (number of medals/total participating athletes = medal conversion rate) to report the games, China would be leading the USA at an almost insurmountable pace!

China : 41/354 = 11.6% medal conversion

USA : 37/561 = 6. 5% medal conversion

It’s easy to see how numbers can be skewed for reporting purposes.  Your campaign metrics shouldn’t be so flexible either, and early discussions about how you will judge the campaign performance will help in the long run.

See all the medals here:

Wikipedia also has a great chart for all time medal awards:


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