Archive for the ‘Measurement’ Category
For over three years, I have sat back and witnessed the resurgence of a concept that seemed to be largely ignored or only found in dusty marketing books: Return on Investment.
I am referring to the buzz (or is hype a better word?) around social media ROI. What I find interesting is that marketing management is requiring social media ROI to qualify its worth before implementing it. Smart marketers know that it is impossible to determine ROI (a financial calculation) without having net profit, sales and investment numbers, which are not available without actually having done something. Could it be that demanding social media ROI is a stall tactic?
The next logical question then is if there is such a keen interest in social media ROI, why isn’t management requiring the same for all marketing, communications and branding? We should have those numbers readily available, right? (By the way, cost per lead is not the same as ROI.)
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This weekend I was reading an article in the Fall Harvard Business Review OnPoint magazine (How to Get Your Message Across edition) called “Five Ways to Sharpen Your Communication Skills” by John Baldoni. The article was interesting, but what was more interesting was the comment they selected to share in the Reader Comment section after the article.
John shares these five tips:
- Know the fundamentals (Understand the written and spoken word.)
- Think clearly about what you will say (Don’t use PowerPoint as short-hand for thinking)
- Prepare for meetings (Take the time to think about what to say before you say it.)
- Engage in discussion (Debate. Hear all viewpoints. Don’t engage in group think.)
- Listen to others (Discussion is meaningless if no one is listening. “Measure what you treasure.”)
Sounds like everything we learned in kindergarten, right? Still many marketing, public relations and communications pros struggle with these basic elements when it comes to communicating with customers, stakeholders and other employees.
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After discussing the inauthentic nature of PR in my last post, I hope you know that I do respect and enjoy being part of the PR profession (well, except those PR areas that are broken) and truly believe that most PR folks are engaging in PR in a way that is effective. That said, I still believe that ghostwriting from PR pros (or profs) isn’t necessary or authentic (I am not sure that there’s much that can convince me…but I’ll keep an open mind, I promise).
I thought it might be a useful conversation to discussion how PR 2.0 will keep you SO busy providing strategic services/counsel for your clients or employer you won’t need to worry about ghost blogging and tweeting as a source of income or a way to show value for one’s job. And I know for a lot of PR agencies and pros that might not truly understand the nature (dare I say, culture) of social media, those are areas of concern. I get it, I really do.
While this might not be as interesting as a debate, perhaps it will prove to be more useful.
Today’s typical and traditional PR person does a lot of the following tasks:
- Builds relationships with third-party resources (usually the media, sometimes bloggers)
- Maintains existing relationships
- Does research
- Listens/Analyzes (usually online/print pickups)
- Writes plans
- Provides counsel
- Creates targeted messages
- Conveys timely news with constituents (but typically media and maybe bloggers)
- Builds a brand’s reputation
- Maintains a brand’s image
- Deploys crisis communications
- Clips or tracks pickups or mentions
- Provides measurement of campaigns
- Handles some marketing communications (including collateral, website content if a marketer isn’t part of the team)
With PR 2.0 you can add the following to your skills, deliverables and job description:
- Monitors brand in real-time
- Listens/Analyzes online conversations or mentions in real-time
- Responds promptly
- Conducts primary research in real-time
- Engages in two-way conversations with ALL constituents (in-house PR folks)
- Participates in social networking in a value-add way (in-house PR folks)
- Develops new online skills (blogging, wikis, RSS, etc.)
- Understand the importance of building relationships with all constituents (media, bloggers, employees, investors, fans, friends, followers, detractors, etc.)
- Responsible for Search Engine Optimization
- Identifies & engages with influencers and brand evangelists (in-house PR folks)
- Manages communities of constituents (in-house PR folks)
- Integrates new technologies into PR plans
- Shares industry information, not just key messages
- Builds communities
- Engages evangelists to help create word of mouth
- Understands that engaging in PR 2.0 will help at time of crisis
- Stays up-to-date on trends
- Trains management, co-workers and/or clients constantly
I don’t know about you, but to me that looks like a pretty busy job to me! All without having to ghostwrite or tweet (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
I cannot take complete credit for these lists. While I have been engaged in PR for a long time, some people just say things more succinctly than I do…and I like to give the credit they deserve. So, please, seriously, if you haven’t read PR 2.0 by Deirdre Breakenridge, add it to your reading list. She makes the transition to PR 2.0 crystal clear, easy-to-swallow, and provides a lot of proof points (i.e. some of the list information is from her book). John Bell at Ogilvy is another source of great information when it comes to the PR pro of the future (be sure to read John’s post when you get a chance). He’s the guy behind this post’s image and some of the items on the PR 2.0 list.
I am sure that I am leaving things off of both lists, so please be sure to add where necessary if this is too simplified.
Thoughts? Opinions? Objections?
[Image: John Bell]
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There’s been a lot of buzz around measuring the ROI of social media here and other places and it seems to come up a lot during the #pr20chats (PR 2.0 chats on Twitter). Sometimes measurement is a deadly sin (lack thereof) and sometimes it’s seen as a holy grail (can’t get there). Whichever it is, it’s not limited to social media…measuring ROI is also a huge issue for marketers and PR folks too.
Measuring marketing, PR and social media can be relatively simple if you have a plan. And the plan is probably the hardest part, especially getting consensus (management and co-workers), being able to implement it and-most importantly-being agile enough to change on a dime when an element of the plan isn’t working.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, I didn’t learn how to write objectives (the part of the plan that makes it measurable) in college or on the job. Nope! In fact, I learned how to write measureable objectives from the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) when I took their weekend APR (Accreditation in Public Relations) course about 8-9 years ago. Because understanding how to write a plan with measureable objectives is a large part of achieving the APR, it was also a large part of the weekend course. Since then, I have used what I learned for marketing and PR campaign plans throughout the years and it’s really been helpful to show management if campaigns have been successful (or not) and how I’ve been a contributing member of the marketing team.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that there isn’t standardization when it comes to measurement. I’d say what I am about to share is as standard as it gets… And if you haven’t already picked up a copy of Katie Paine’s ‘Measuring Public Relationships,’ you better rush on over to Amazon.
Some of this you might know, some maybe not. In any case, feel free to share your best practices.
Writing a Plan: The Basic Elements
A basic plan should have:
- A goal (One. If you find yourself writing “and” in your goal, you’ll probably need two plans)
- Measurable objectives (as many as needed)
- Strategies (every objective gets its own strategies)
- Tactics (every strategy gets its own tactics)
- A way to measure
A plan could essentially look like this:
- Objective 1.1
- Strategy 1.1
- Tactic 1.1
- Strategy 1.2
- Tactic 1.2
- Objective 2.1
- Strategy 2.1
- Tactic 2.1
- Strategy 2.2
[This basic plan assumes you know your or your client know their challenge, audience, budget, etc.]
Goal: I want to lose weight.
Objective: I want to lose 10 pounds by July 15th
Strategy 1.1: I will go to the gym 5 times a week
Tactic: I will use the elliptical machine, weights and the pool at the gym
Strategy 1.2: I will watch what I eat
Tactic: I will write down everything I eat
Measurement: I lost 8 pounds by July 15th (I didn’t achieve my goal)
Knowing the difference between goals and objectives
When I ask marketing/PR folks what’s their measureable objective is I often hear “to generate more sales” or “to get our key message out.” These are not objectives…they are goals. And because goals and objectives are often confused, it leads people thinking that they can’t be measured in a truly impactful way.
Outputs, Outtakes and Outcomes: Three types of objectives
For objectives to be measureable they must include (no exceptions):
- A specific desire communication or behavioral effect;
- A designated public (or publics) among whom the effect is to be achieved;
- The expected level of attainment; and
- The timeframe in which those attainments
are to occur.
Basic Example: To increase number of presentation downloads by online public #1 by 20% within 3 months. (Pretty easy, right?)
Once you understand what is required for a measureable objective, then you need to understand what type of objective makes sense: output, outtake or outcome.
- Output: Physical products (i.e. whitepapers, tweets, blog posts, articles, etc.)
- Outtake: What will the publics take away? (i.e. messages, perceptions, understandings)
- Outcome: What quantifiable changes in attitudes, behaviors, or opinions (i.e. did they buy something?)
Here’s the catch:
Outputs are easy and it’s apparent whether or not you did what you said you would in your plan (was that whitepaper written and tweeted out?). Outtakes require bench marketing and monitoring (how do you know where you ended up, if you didn’t know where you started). And Outcomes require heavy lifting. Because, and this is VERY important, Outcome objectives are usually where ROI ties in, and an organization will need to track all efforts and follow them, most likely, through a CRM system, which isn’t always easy to do.
So what’s the point to this post? Well, people are losing patience when it comes to conversations around social media (as well as marketing and PR) not being measureable. Everything is measurable; you just need to make the time to plan for it. And trust me, as I have said in the past, I have never worked for an organization that enforced or required a plan. That said, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have one. A plan is a great way to show, whether you’re client or agency side, your value as a marketing, PR or social media pro. That said, no one ever said it was easy…
What do you think? Too basic? (That was the point.) Not real-world enough? If so, why are we trying to complicate it?
As always, I am interested in your thoughts, experiences and where this is all heading.
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I was reading Marketing News (the American Marketing Associations’ magazine) recently, the 5.30.09 issue on Measuring, and I came across an interesting quote in their “Measure Up” article (you need to be a member to access the article) on the return on marketing investment (ROMI):
“Marketing is in the process of maturing from a communications function to a business function.” (Tom O’Toole, adviser with Diamond Management & Technology Consultants Inc.)
The first concern I have with this limiting comment is that marketing has never only been a communications function. Let’s not forget that there are 4 P’s in the traditional marketing mix (product, price, place, promotion). Yes, I get that the statement was used to, perhaps, make a valid point that marketing needs to be an “accounting line item for ROI (i.e. business function).” But from a business perspective, all 4 P’s have always been measureable (in one form or another) and those managing these functions can and should be held accountable for their budgets, spending and ROI (if we spent X, what was the return). Is there a communications aspect with all 4 Ps? Sure people always communicate, right? But let’s assume with this particular statement Mr. O’Toole is addressing the “Promotion” aspect of marketing and equating “communications” to things like advertising, direct mail, online, interactive, PR, etc.
The second is that even if we look at marketing promotions alone, accountability isn’t anything new and any marketing communications manager, VP or CMO that isn’t measuring marketing communications objectives (and campaigns) is doing a complete disservice to the profession and the company (that business function referred to in the comment). That said I get that marketers struggle with planning, measuring ROI and dealing with accountablity. It’s also tough to work within a corporate mindset (client- or agency-side) that if a campaign doesn’t bring in positive ROI (and lots of press or leads) marketers might face retribution instead of redirection. (BTW, we need to change that mindset.) I also understand that a lot of marketing management skips the important step of planning at all.
From a measurement and communications perspective, marketing has many aspects that need to be considered, understood and―more importantly―bridged by tearing down marketing silos so that marketers work together AND have experience across the mix. For example, often product managers & product marketers determine the product/service and pricing long before marcom folks are tapped into for promotion. And business development folks determine the distribution (place) for the product. And it’s the marketing researchers that help the product managers & product marketers (and sometimes the marcom folks) to determine the product/service or if there’s even a market for it in the first place. I could go on with lots of combinations, but you get my point. It’s marketing management’s job to ask the basic questions like “did that supply chain partner help to reduce costs, increase sales and justify the marketing communications costs of selecting them as a business partner?” or “did the marketing research we conducted help the product marketers prove that there was a market for our new product and was that research built into the price of the product?”
I am sure by now you are thinking “Beth, so what does all of this have to do with social media?!” Well, I have noticed a trend that people are stating, thinking or promoting that social media will replace all the corporate (and agency) ills of marketing and that just isn’t the case.
I wanted to demonstrated that marketing is complex and isn’t just about communications (I hope I accomplished that in a simple manner…otherwise you’d be here all day reading a textbook or 10). As well, many marketing functions reside outside of the marketing communications department. And yet, they all need to work together, like well oiled gears. So while I do think social media (the tools and the concept) can help enhance all of the 4 Ps, it definitely won’t replace them. Saying that is equivalent to saying social media will replace accounting or HR.
My question is this… if you think that social media will replace marketing, share with us how you think it will replace all the four Ps and how you will measure the return.