We feel strongly, as many of you do, that harnessing the power of data for measuring impact is one of the most important issues facing the advertising, communications, and marketing industries.
For many professionals in marketing and communications, figuring out the measurement puzzle is an ongoing struggle. In fact, in a recent study published by PRWeek and Cision, 77% of us said we need to do a better job proving our impact to the bottom line.
In our view, it is time to legitimize just how effective communications and content can be in telling a story, changing perceptions, boosting reputation, getting people to act, and yes, driving sales. Your programs can drive sales and they can be measured. Imagine if you could go into budget season with end-of-year results that show cause-and-effect business impacts from your advertising, communications, content, and marketing efforts. With advanced data and analytics, that scenario is entirely possible.
In many ways, we face the same issues we did decades ago because we treat measurement like an artform, while other disciplines treat it like a science, backed by data and proven results. We still talk about whether the boss "believes" in the value of our work – like it is somehow based on faith and not fact. We struggle to show our true impact with indisputable facts, and therefore struggle to be taken seriously. If we know we are impacting the business, then we should measure with that mentality.
The good news is that measurement in our business is becoming more of a science. Data is now pervasive, and the technology to analyze and learn from that data is more sophisticated. New platforms are taking common metrics – clips; UVPMs; views; clicks; reach; tone; awareness; trust; intent; and qualified leads – and helping companies form links between campaigns and business impacts. Bottom line: With the proliferation of data, tools, analytics, and talented people who can make sense of it all, there is no reason for you to keep saying "just trust me" when it comes to your results.
Assuming many of you are waist-deep in 2019 planning just like we are, here are six points our team assembled to help you continue to evolve your thoughts on measurement for next year and beyond.
- Don’t run from linking your team’s results to sales – embrace it and prove your real value.
- Your metrics still matter, but you must evolve how you measure them. Use data analytics and new software solutions to link your results to real business impacts.
- Add customer acquisition survey data to your measurement mix for potential program impacts.
- Invest in measuring reputational aspects for your brand, including sentiment and consideration.
- Try a new form of measurement – integrate with your data team, track a new metric, try a new tool.
- Don’t forget the "human" perspective matters. Even the best tools need context and perspective.
We hope this is helpful and want to say best of luck to everyone in 2019. If you have comments or feedback on this piece – or if you want to let us know what matters to you and see if there is something we can do to help – please contact us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.