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How to Define Your North Star Metric

Keegen Knapp
Keegen Knapp
4 min read
How to Define Your North Star Metric
Drive Focus By Defining Your Company's North Star

Did you know that half of all small businesses don't have a written marketing plan? Are you worried that your plan isn't helping you reach your overall business goals? Or has your plan gone stale as the market has changed?

Don't worry if your digital marketing strategy has become stagnant. The best way to grow your company is to identify your north star metric. Don't worry if you don't know what that is because you're in the place, so keep reading to learn everything you need to know about growing your business with growth marketing.

What is a North Star Metric?

Just as explorers from years past used the North Star to find their way along their journey, today's digital marketers need to know where their true north lies. When you clearly define your true north, then your team always has a clear path to follow. This gives them direction as they grow your marketing and build your brand.

Your north star metric is the value you provide to your customers. When you provide amazing value to your customer, your company will experience positive growth. In short, your north star metric is your big picture view of your marketing that helps you reach your long business goals.

Benefits of Defining Your North Star in Product Marketing

When choosing north star metrics, remember why you're taking the time to define them in the first place. A true north guide gives you a singular focus as you grow your business.

Too many businesses get caught up listening to all the noise around their industry and the marketing trends. However, when you define your north star, then you can eliminate that noise and the fear that you might miss out on a new trend. Some other benefits of knowing your true north include:

  • Provides better focus
  • Keeps the customer at the focus
  • Establishes clarity for your brand

As you can see, your north star metric is vital to the rapid growth of your company. Without this extreme focus, you'll find your team's efforts are less scattered and less effective. Now that you can see why your north star metric is so important, how can you find the best path for your business?

How to Find Your North Star

It can be daunting as you begin to find your north star metric. However, each time you visit this metric, it will become easier to identify where your marketing team needs to focus their time and attention.

First, you need to identify what is the desired result for your customers. This will vary depending on your business model. For Netflix, they want customers to stream more videos more often and more frequently. So their north star metric is the number of hours streamed each month.

Once you know the final action you want your customers to take to define success for your organization, you need to ensure that it's measurable. Just as all goals, your north star must be measurable so you can know when you reach it.

Lastly, you need to identify whether or not growing your north star metric will also grow your business. For example, Uber's north star metric is the number of rides each week. The more rides completed each week, the more their company grows.

Long-term growth is essential to building a successful organization. When everyone within your organization is clear on the focus for growth, you will see exponential growth for years to come.

In general, your north star metric is a long-term metric everyone on your team will follow for years to come. However, it should also be flexible and adaptive as your business reaches your company growth stages.

Examples of Brands Using Their North Star for Growth Marketing

One of the best ways to determine if you've created a winning metric is to look at what other successful companies focus on. When you see what they're choosing to focus on, you can better determine if you've chosen the best metric for the foundation of your organization.

First, let's look at the subscription business model. Just as Netflix focuses on hours of streaming, Spotify has chosen their north star metric to be the amount of time spent listening on their platform. This metric checks all the boxes in that it's measurable, it focuses on what they want their customers to do, and as this number grows, so too does their company.

Second, let's look at two different social media platforms. Facebook and LinkedIn have both chosen the number of active monthly users as their north star metric. Both platforms understand that simply saying that a million people have an account with them doesn't lead to growth for their business.

However, when they focus on active users each month, this gives them a measurable metric that both shows the action they want their customers to take and leads to growth for their respective companies.

Finally, let's look at the eCommerce business model. And what better company than one of the largest in the world, Amazon. Their true north focus is the number of purchases each month.

Amazon isn't content to look at the number of purchases overall or even last year. They want to see growth month over month. And when they focus on their desired customer intent, then everyone within their organization knows what is expected of them.

This laser focus is how your company can become the next Netflix, Facebook, or Amazon. And your true north star metric is the vehicle that will take you there.

Exceed Your Goals by Following Your North Star

Defining your north star metric will give your company the focus you need to grow your business to the next level. Unfortunately, for many business owners, it can be difficult to narrow down your focus to one path. That's why many choose to work with an expert to help them identify the best choice to grow their business.

If you're ready to scale your business with proven strategies around growth marketing, then we should talk. My mission is to provide impactful strategies you can use to build a foundation that lasts. I've helped companies just like yours focus on long-lasting growth and take their business to the next level, and I can do the same for you.

Cheers,

Keegen

Growth Marketing

Keegen Knapp

a guy you would buy a cup of coffee


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