How Do You Measure Up?

In the age of digital it’s essential to test and learn in order to hone campaigns and digital has been a game changer in this regard. But how many of our decisions on the marketing activities we consider are now dominated by our ability to measure/justify?

Before fully embarking on this blog it’s important that I first point out I’m all for measuring the effectiveness of any marketing initiatives. In the age of digital it’s essential to test and learn in order to hone campaigns and digital has been a game changer in this regard.

So what’s the issue?

The impact of the recession made marketing ‘measurability’ absolutely critical. If you can’t measure the effectiveness, chances are you weren’t going to get the budget signed off internally.

The market as a whole has seen a significant drop in traditional media planning spend which is unsurprising given the continuing rise of digital and the changing way we all consume media – and nothing highlights it more than the recent EMAP announcement. However it’s important to make the point that just because something is difficult to measure or expensive to measure, that isn’t the same thing as saying it’s not working or not effective.

How many of our decisions on the marketing activities we consider are now dominated by our ability to measure/justify? And conversely, how many activities never see the light of day simply because they’re deemed hard or expensive to measure? Those might, in fact, be some of your most effective tactics in the medium/long term. Do we just rely on analytics now to drive decision-making or is there still some room for ‘feel’ and ‘belief’ – isn’t the latter what really differentiates a great marketer from a good one?

For instance, have you sat in a recent meeting where you’ve poured over social media reporting? I’m the first to say the depth of reporting we can provide is incredible but what fascinates me is the disproportionate level of scrutiny that this social media reporting receives when you consider that in some cases the monthly spend level for many clients is the equivalent of a single half page ad in old money.

Yet here we all are pouring over these reports on a monthly basis to the point, in some cases, where a whole meeting can become dominated by their discussion and interpretation.

Why the focus?

Is it because there’s still an on-going education process happening and many people (especially those clients just embarking on social media) aren’t sure what the reporting actually means?

Is it that the eye of the FD is fixed firmly on social media and the value it’s delivering (as a relatively new marketing spend) so it’s all about justification?

Or is it simply because we’re not being selective enough in the metrics we use so there’s a temptation to measure whatever we can?

Consider the age old quote of ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half'. Perhaps it should now be re-written to ‘Half the time I spend is reporting on anything I can measure, anything I can’t report on I don’t do'.

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