Skip to content
Canva Design DAF9Aum7Quk-1-1-1
Rob DeRosierAug 8, 2023 6:32:00 PM2 min read

The 5 Marketing KPIs That Drive Growth

The 5 Marketing KPIs That Drive Growth

Marketing KPIs can easily transform into "vanity metrics" when there isn't a universally accepted standard of achievement. The more we leave things up for interpretation, the more likely bias creeps in and undermines actual achievements while blocking growth because we think a loss is a win. It's easy to lose faith in your overall marketing investment when the paper says things are going well, but the bottom line disagrees.

In Growth, Marketing KPIs require as much objectivity as possible. 

Our go-to standard: Pirate Metrics (aka aarrr metrics)

Why: Because it's simple, applies to ANY business, and makes sorting and prioritizing ideas quick and (somewhat) painless.

The 5 stages and how to define them


The general idea of Acquisition is to put leads into your database, and this includes ANY means of getting them in there. The Acquisition metric is not about quality, just the outcome. So, it should be noted that not all acquired leads are equal.

This covers any and all activities leading up to that moment of conversion where they go from NOT being in your database to being in your database.


The point of Activation is to generate the kind of engagement that leads to Revenue. In B2B, activation metrics are usually considered satisfied when a Discovery call has been set with commitments from the lead to a date, time, venue, and participants (ideally with decision-makers).

In certain D2C models, such as e-commerce, activation metrics are satisfied with filled shopping carts.


Revenue indicates the moment when a lead becomes a paying customer for the first time. It generally relates to the first payment, even if there are multiple installments as part of the original deal.

In B2B, this generally occurs when contracts are signed or the first payment is received. In D2C, it's usually when the purchase transaction is completed. Note: Revenue metrics are ONLY for the first payment. Ongoing, recurring, and second purchase payments apply to a different stage.


Retention has two primary forms in B2B: Fulfilling the first contract to completion and signing the 2nd+ engagement(s). In D2C, the two primary forms are preventing returns due to defects and purchasing that 2nd+ consumable product.


Referral metrics focus on expansion. Either you're expanding your footprint in a single entity or house... or you're expanding your customer base thanks to the existing customer base

In B2B, referral could be securing multiple locations after successfully servicing one and transforming customers into internal champions. It could also be personal introductions that lead to customer acquisition.

In D2C, it could be public testimonials or selling more products to the same person. "If you like our salsa, you're going to love our pizza!"


If you're looking for a marketing KPI example that leads you toward achievement, try "pirate metrics." They're simple to use. The standards are universal and becoming increasingly more popular among Growth markers.

Whether it's D2C or B2B marketing performance, Pirate Metrics as a funnel standard will ensure your efforts do what you intend them to do.

To learn more about pirate metrics and how to apply them to your business, check out our Growth strategy course and certification:


Rob DeRosier

Growth hacker. Lead generator. IPA drinker. Guy in a hat...