You are what you measure

I just read an interview with Goddess of PR Katie Delahaye Paine posted by TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog. I love this question and Paine’s answer.

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Q: Building a business case for PR and influence based digital marketing can be a challenge in a down economy. What practical advice do you have on how analytics and measurement play in that effort?

A: Be very clear about your goals. Goals drive the type of measurements you are going to use. So once you get everyone clear about the goals, then you can develop a meaningful measurement system. Are you trying to spend less money, then you need to measure cost savings, not “HITS”  if you want to change your image in the marketplace you can’t measure that with hits either, you need to look at positioning and messaging. Remember that you become what you measure, so you need to make sure your metrics line up with what you were hired to do

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This last sentence, “…you become what you measure, so you need to make sure your metrics line up with what you were hired to do,” gets me right here (I’m pointing to my heart). How true it is, whether you are on the agency side, or you’re the go-to marketing resource for your employer.

Even for an agency like Johnson Direct, whose motto is literally “Marketing that’s Measurable,” it is sometimes difficult to persuade our clients to step back and really think about exactly what they want out of their marketing initiatives/investments. Whether we’re developing a website, creating an email campaign, producing a direct mail program or preparing for a public relations launch, we always strive to guide our clients to identify one or more quantifiable objectives. I’m always surprised when more than seldomly, a client will say “we just want to meet our deadline,” or “we need to get the word out there,” or “we need to boost sales (but we don’t have any data to indicate the $s or %s we need to meet or exceed).”

I assume that if we were the typical design firm, ad agency or marcom firm, this wouldn’t really be such an issue. But for us, it is a true conundrum. We really, really care, and we want our marketing efforts to be strategic, measurable and successful.

Denise B. Hearden, eMarketing Director, Johnson Direct

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