While we would all love to aim once and shoot to reach a goal often the fluid nature of the business environment does not afford such sureties. The market is always, evolving and changing by the minute. Therefore plans must change as well if they hope to be viable and successful a few years down the road. The problem is that some businesses might not know how to correct their strategies for market misalignment.
The primary way to determine if your strategies are working is through feedback. Feedback allows for decision makers to understand more about a situation through information about the performance of the product/service. Such knowledge is gained through market research, customer feedback, web page statistics, and even our competitors.
Metrics give us insight. Metric means that some type of measurement is being used in the feedback process. A metric might be how many apples your business sold or how many visitors walked through your door on any particular day. Metrics can be almost any type of measurement that is quantifiable.
When you collect multiple metrics you can use them for deeper understanding. You can also get very specific with your metrics and complete secondary analysis by taking two important metrics and determining new values. For example, store visitors and purchase volume tells you the percentage of people who frequent your store and then buy a product.
It is also possible to collect information on how much money is spent at each purchase and the total amount of purchases a day. Knowing that allows you to determine if more customer engagement or better placement of products increased the total sale amount.
I think you might be seeing my point that depending on what type of data you have available can determine what type of analysis you can complete.
Thus, if you are starting a new marketing campaign you may want to determine in advance what type of metrics you will utilize. Sometimes software can do this for you (i.e. Google Analytics) while at other times you need to calculate your own.
Use gained information to curb and adjust your strategic approaches. For example, if the metrics show that two months before Christmas your sales volume jumps 10X you may want to purchase more product in advance and hire more staff.
Here is an article by Forbes on 3 Common Metrics.