The ABCs of KPIs for CEOs

Word Bubble showing the ABCs of KPIs for CEOs

“Identifying the business objective and how can marketing help is the first place a marketer should start when developing KPIs for their firm,” said Suzanne Reed, Marketing Director at LMBC, during the March 26th AAM High webinar. In the webinar, “The ABCs of KPIs for CEOs,” Suzanne shared examples of the key reports that CEOs, Managing Partners and other leaders within a firm want to see and how to go about creating them.

“The CEO has limited bandwidth and only the bottom-line impacting metrics matter,” said Reed. The three areas to focus on include:

  1. How marketing is driving business
  2. Knowledge of benchmarks
  3. Marketing plan with metrics

Reed explained how focusing on this information builds and sustains the credibility of the marketing program with stakeholders and the CEO. And if a marketing tactic or campaign is not working, you can use these metrics in assisting with course correction.

She advised marketers to start by asking the senior level of leaders and getting their consensus on what is important to their business. This then will be the basis for the next step in determining how marketing can help with those business objectives.

“It’s important to remember that you need to educate your CEO about these numbers. Sometimes a written narrative combined with the numbers can be an effective tool, as then it means more to them than just handing them the numbers. It tells the story with the visual,” said Reed.

Although the CEO wants to hear the biggest impact on the bottom line, it’s also vital that marketers identify some of the leading and lagging indicators that need visibility as well. For example, if the client experience is one business objective the firm is focused on, be sure to track all elements – online, in-person, and what’s the research saying about what’s happening with spending in this area, etc. This should be all part of the reporting.

When focusing on the reporting, Reed explained that it doesn’t really matter what tool is used, Microsoft, Excel, Azure, etc., as long as the data can be automated into the one tool.

Success is indicated by all metrics working toward end results based on business objectives. The easiest way to de-value marketing is to talk about the success you are having without tying it to the performance of the business. In the end, marketing is driving the business.

To learn more about the ABCs of KPIs for CEOs, listen to the recording.

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About Dawn Wagenaar

Dawn Wagenaar is Principal of Ingenuity Marketing Group, LLC, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ingenuity works with accounting firms across the country on branding, research, marketing and growth to make their professionals famous. Dawn is past chair of the AAM Conference Committee and Virtual Education Committee and past member-at-large for AAM National Board of Directors.

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