Are You Measuring the Right Things?

white scaleWe have a fascination with facts and figures. The Guiness Book of Records is perhaps, the pinnacle of achievement in this sphere – showcasing the remarkable and the banal, cheek by jowl. There is the world’s tallest man, the world’s oldest woman, and the world’s heaviest burger. They are all jammed together in a collection that catalogues our obsessions and our foibles. Each record is given equal footing with the next in line.

But when it comes to marketing, especially online, it’s important to differentiate. It’s important to highlight – and focus upon – those measurements that are most important to your (or your client’s) campaign. This is as important for the future of the work that you do as it is for the agency or client that you work for – for in the constant justification of marketing effort we turn to statistics or various versions of “ROI”. But how well do you understand what the investment is? How well can you explain the underlying business levers that are driving the need to communicate, advertise or connect? Against which top line figure are you measuring your results (and no, it’s not about reach, frequency or recall).

Richard Huntington has an excellent rant on this very subject – be sure to read it all:

So long as the digital community clings to its obsession with accountability over effectiveness it will remain in the unedifying position of creating engaging brand fluff on the one hand and highly measurable but largely pointless direct response advertising on the other. If that sounds like a future to you then fine but I’d suggest changing the fortunes of a client’s business is a finer ambition to hold. And that is going to need proper measurement.

Just because we can measure a broad range of digital interaction doesn’t mean it is worthwhile or even necessary. Understanding the core drivers of your (or your client’s business) will point you in the right direction – but there are simpler ways to find out. Ask the CFO.

3 thoughts on “Are You Measuring the Right Things?

  1. If you are measuring or analysing stats for someone else it is also important to be clear with them about what they need and want.
    I have made the rookie mistake a few times of thinking that I have covered every all the angles in terms of information only to present it and the reader ask “excellent, can you tell me how many A’s turned into B’s”.
    Take the time to connect with you audience as it will save time in the long run.
    I gave this advice to someone in the office the other day and they weren’t so sure they should go and ask the boss if he wanted something broken down in A and B or just a total. They and a few reasons but I encouraged then to do so any – better you know either way now than once you have done all the work!
    They thanked me as they walked back past my office. In fact, apparently the boss’ eye’s light up at the suggestion of breaking a category down … 🙂

  2. Measuring the right thing certainly makes sense, but it isn’t always so easy. For example, measuring the effectiveness of certain online engagements for CPGs can be quite difficult.
    Ultimately, brand marketers want to know what marketing activities are producing sales, and what the ROI of each activity is.
    To complicate matters, most sales can be attributed to many activities (customer “touches” if you will). These touches can be both online and offline, and purchases can result long after a customer touch.
    There are three problems with this:
    1) We don’t have adequate, quality data from each touch
    2) We don’t have the means to weight the importance of each touch’s effect on a purchase decision
    3) Meaningful measurement can be very expensive if not cost prohibitive, particularly for lower cost, lower consideration brands.

  3. Ahh, how true the whole thing is. Measuring electronic data does not qualify or quantify it since you can’t be certain what you are seeing. If you want tangible numbers, I agree go talk to finance they can tell you what is working and not.

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