skip to Main Content

If it's that hard to measure, it ain't working

You’ve all heard of the “hockey stick,” right? It’s what happens when a chart takes a sudden, upward turn for the better, like what you see in May on this chart:

If it's hard to measure it ain't working

In May, something good happened. Maybe it was a new campaign. Or improved search marketing. Or a phenomenal post on a blog. But whatever these folks did, it worked. And it didn’t take any sophisticated analytics to show, because the hockey stick tells a pretty compelling story.

I have a friend who’s been running the same promotion for over a year. He swears it’s working, even though his weekly and monthly sales figures have been relatively flat. For a year.

Um… dude. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but that’s silly.

I am, of course, well aware of what it takes to track performance. Loads of tools exist, yet still we struggle to understand what’s working and what isn’t. And, for many companies, it’s worth it to break down the performance into granular pieces. For instance, if the chart above came from a company running 4 or 5 different marketing initiatives in a given month, you need deeper levels of reporting to understand what got the result you’re looking at.

But, if you’re not a billionaire yet, look for the hockey stick first. Even simple tools like Google Analytics can help you easily isolate where your big jumps are coming from. Or not, as the case may be. Because, as the title above says, if it’s that hard to measure the result, in all likelihood, your effort isn’t working.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tim Peter

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Absolutely agree with you. But a lot of small businesses don’t even use elementary tools in case to analyze their ROIs. It’s a pity 🙁

    1. Hi Ivan. Thanks for the comment. Great point. There are so many ways to analyze the basics, I’m surprised how often they’re ignored. Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top
×Close search
Search