PHILADELPHIA (October 2, 2015)- I’ve walked 14,249 steps today so far, but I can see on my mobile app that two of my buddies are ahead of me. So I intend to find a way to get some extra steps in tonight — even if it means walking out of my way going home, or walking around my house until I win. I must beat them. I will beat them.
Welcome to the Measuring Olympics, where average people compete daily to beat their friends, colleagues and family members. Keeping score is a fundamental human behavior. What fun is playing sports if you don’t know who won? Can you imagine if the Philadelphia Eagles played the New York Giants in a regular season game, just for fun? No one would care. While wearable technology has transformed behavior in ordinary people, I believe it is an outgrowth of the desire and ability to measure everything — including marketing outcomes.
It’s hard to believe, then, that for generations advertising and public relations campaigns have been powered with billions of dollars for messaging and media placement, and comparatively little dollars spent on measuring results. Did agencies and their clients get swept up in the allure of great ideas, merely hoping for the phone to ring, market share to increase, and web traffic to grow?
Today there’s no excuse for ducking accountability. There are simply too many tools at our disposal to avoid the conversation about results. Some of you I’m sure agree and likely have a measurement process in place, either at your agency or company. We started our measurement process 12 years ago, and the advancement in tools has made it easier to gather and report.
Before you jump in, be prepared to implement this kind of disciplined measurement process between agency and client:
1. Know where the goal line is. At the outset of a new campaign, fiscal year, or project, sit down with your client and determine what success is. Number of articles in the press? Percentage increase in sales? Growth in social media follows/likes as well as engagement? Ask the candid questions, and be sure to commit to outcomes your agency can control.
2. Secure access to data. Some of the results will be gathered by your agency. But if sales and web traffic, for example, are key metrics for success, then it is imperative that you have access to your client’s sales and web data. You can’t manage what you don’t know. Most shops are under NDAs with their clients, so having transparency to sensitive sales and web data can be comfortably shared.
3. Don’t wait for results. I’m speaking about the fact that you shouldn’t wait a year to report results. Have regular meetings, where measurement is on the agenda; every campaign and agency-client relationship have different dynamics and needs, so you and your two organizations can figure out the timing. I recommend no fewer than two measurement deep-dives a year. PR and social media reporting can be more frequent.
4. Improve your outcomes and relationship. Knowing precisely how your marketing campaigns have fared is a sweaty-palms moment at first, but you’d be surprised how the discipline of tracking and reporting forces your shop to step up its game, ensuring that upfront research and messaging are spot-on, execution is excellent, and media plans are highly targeted and relevant. That process will inform the kind of results you want. And when you have good results, you have a better relationship with your clients.
In this obsessive era of tracking every move we make, there’s no better time to apply the same rigor to the work we do. If your client currently wears a Fitbit-type of device, he or she already has a mindset to take new steps forward.