Marketers love Marie Kondo. There are hundreds, if not thousands of blogs and articles about “Kondoing” everything from content calendars to technology stacks. (You know you’ve made it when your name becomes a verb.) But what is it about a method for organizing physical stuff that’s become so appealing to people who work in mostly digital environments? It’s the promise of a universal metric that solves all your problems: joy.
If you’re not familiar with Kondo, you’re likely living under a rock (which is definitely cluttering up your living space). She’s an organizing consultant who became a global phenomenon for her New York Times bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Her recent Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, has grown her brand even more.
Kondo advocates a simple, but challenging method of getting rid of stuff. Take all of your possessions and divide them into five categories including clothes, books, papers, komono (random junk you find in drawers) and sentimental items. In that specific order, hold each individual item and ask, “does this spark joy?”
If it does, it gets to stay, if it doesn’t, thank it for its service verbally and send it on to another life outside of your home. Once you’re free of joyless junk, you’re rewarded with a clean space that’s supposed to minimize your anxiety and make you happy.
Sparking joy isn’t everything
Much of the Kondo-based marketing advice out there suggests taking a hard look at what you’re working on and ask if it sparks joy. Do you have any boring blog posts? Delete. Are you churning out dry white papers that have the somnolent tone of the economics professor in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Knock it off.
It sounds great, especially if you’ve been stressed out and delivering work you’re not that excited about. But is “joy” the best metric for marketing? Kondo presents it as a handy universal tool that helps would-be organizers make hard decisions. Questions about an object’s value, its history or anything else that might make a case for keeping it are eliminated. Joy is the one metric to “rule them all.” This type of minimalism is great for putting together an affordable wardrobe or decorating a shoebox apartment, but it doesn’t always work for marketers.
You still need to measure results
Kondo’s goal is radical organization by any means necessary. Marketing’s goal is to get more customers and keep the ones you have. While it would be fun to replace dusty metrics like click-through rate (CTR) and cost per lead (CPL) with joy, it might be hard to measure.
The other issue with joy as a metric is that it’s subjective. It can lead you in the right direction because you should be excited by your ideas. However, if you’ve been in advertising for a while you’ve probably seen an exciting idea fall flat. It’s easy to imagine the creatives involved in the much maligned Kylie Jenner Pepsi ad were pretty stoked on the whole thing—until the internet found out.
We like to think of joy as the inspiration that leads to improving the metrics that matter most. For online businesses, those would be any that demonstrate marketing efforts lead to results: the above mentioned CTR and CPL, plus cost per click (CPC), cost per acquisition (CPA), customer acquisition cost (CAC) and cost per engagement (CPE) are common, and generally easy to get.
Measuring results for physical stores can spark joy
Metrics for offline businesses are trickier. In 2018, over $40 billion dollars were spent invested in online advertising, yet over 90% of purchasing occured offline . Outside of clunky coupons and low-engagement loyalty programs, there haven’t been too many advances in measuring online ad performance when a sale happens in a physical store.
One of Zenreach’s big ideas is the Walk-Through RateTM (WTR), an offline equivalent to CTR. It gives merchants the ability to measure exactly how many customers return after seeing a marketing message.
WTR gives marketers another powerful question to ask: Did our marketing efforts bring people in the door? If the answer is “yes” you will likely feel some real joy. If the answer is “no”, it’s probably time to start looking at your strategy.
If you have to have one metric, make it CLV
If you’re looking for a single metric to focus on, it’s hard to beat customer lifetime value (CLV). It’s a solid way to measure the success and strength of your business because it’s tied to customer experience and sales. It’s also very useful when compared directly with CAC because it tells you the exact ROI of your marketing efforts.
To calculate CLV, you need to know how often customers come in and how much they spend per visit. There are a bunch of ways to do the calculation, but the simplest is to divide average spend/month/customer by the percentage of customers that do not return. So if the average customer spends $50 per month, and 20% do not return each month, then CLV is $250.
Let’s put math to the side for now. Ultimately what you’re trying to do with CLV is identify your best customers and evaluate what works best to keep them coming back in. By looking for common characteristics among your highest value segments, you can target your best potential customers, and make adjustments to your ad spending.
You don’t have to ignore Kondo completely, though. Thinking about the customer experience with joy in mind is a good way to come up with ideas that will keep customers coming back.
Find joy in your work
The best thing Marie Kondo has done for marketers is to get them thinking about what they’re doing from an emotional perspective. We have access to more metrics than many of us know what to do with. This leads to number crunching and campaign performance obsession. Those aren’t necessarily negative, however, if you find yourself joylessly reporting mediocre metrics, it might be time to take a fresh look at what you’ve been putting out.