Metrics are key to assessing the success of your marketing efforts and iterating upon initiatives for optimal performance. Without measurable numbers to benchmark against, your SMART goals become SART (which is really just RATS)!

But short of hiring a gaggle of mathematicians, how do you train your marketing team to embrace numbers and love them as much as much as cat videos? Try one or more of these six tips for developing a data-driven culture within your group.

1. Get Comfortable with Numbers

While most of us at least took a math class at some point in our lives, it may have been awhile since we thought about numbers beyond whether we had enough money in our bank accounts for that new pair of shoes. Have your team brush up on their skills with a short primer on what marketing metrics you want to measure, what they mean, and how to calculate each. Doing this ensures that everyone is on the proverbial “same page.”

2. Make it Part of the Job Description

And speaking of same pages, I’m a huge fan of setting expectations up front. One of the best ways to emphasize how important data is in a marketing department is to put it in every team member’s job description. While specific numbers should be part of your SMART team goals (such as increasing leads from 200 to 220 per month) and not job descriptions, putting general responsibilities for analytics and data should be included to bring focus on metrics in each area (such as a Content Manager having the responsibility to measure and track the number of content downloads).

3. Incorporate Data into Every Marketing Initiative on Your Plate

People have written about how anything can be measured, so try to expand your thinking and apply a metric to every marketing initiative you conduct. Whereas some tactics are more difficult to measure than others (like a “branding” project), applying numbers keeps you focused. I once came up with five ideas for measuring thought leadership – so don’t tell me it can’t be done!

4. Implement a Dashboard

We’re visual people. Often, a bunch of numbers on a spreadsheet doesn’t convey the impact of a metric going up or down like a chart does. A dashboard gives your team a daily (or other timeframe depending on your implementation) feedback on how the department is doing. Here at SmartBug Media, we’re big fans of the dashboard in HubSpot (and the sources charts!), but if you don’t have HubSpot, I’ve heard great things about Geckoboard. It may take a bit to get everything set up, but having a visual will be well worth the effort.

5. Make Decisions Based on the Data

To truly develop a data-driven team, base decisions on the data instead of relying on HiPPOs. Try A/B tests in your emails. Scratch that tradeshow if last year the results were suboptimal. Tweak a landing page and see if conversions change. Launch, measure, analyze, iterate. Repeat.

6. Bring in Help if You Need It

Some analytics can be really complicated. Not that you need calculus for marketing metrics, but there have been plenty of examples in my past where having someone-with-a-math-background help out was a lifesaver. As I’ve previously said, don’t be afraid to call in help when you need it!

Okay, so maybe you’ll never get your team to love bar charts as much as cat videos. But by getting comfortable with numbers, making it part of everyone’s job, incorporating data into every initiative, implementing a dashboard, making decisions based on data, and bringing in help if you need it, you can develop a team that appreciates hard numbers and knows how to measure for success.

Do you have any tips? We’d love to hear them!