Recently, I was in a meeting where we were evaluating the results from our 2012 marketing communications efforts. Based on our metrics, we met our overall objectives, generating positive results from our media, advertising, external web and other initiatives. It was all good.
But we are now in 2013 and as we all know, today’s already complex communications environment continues to change at a rapid pace. Moreover, executives today not only depend on marketing communications to improve brand image and protect reputations, they also expect to see qualitative and quantitative evidence of how marketing communications is helping to achieve strategic objectives and contribute to the bottom line (Bradley, 2011). As a result, the need to ensure we have the right measurement and evaluation tools in place for tracking and reporting our performance is more important than ever.
A key question in the process is how to engage ever-expanding social media platforms such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook and others. This short video clip featuring Jon Iwata, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at IBM and chairman of the Arthur W. Page Society sums it up nicely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtgyx9jXlSI
Indeed, engaging social media can be a bit daunting, especially for organizations that are accustomed to controlling all aspects of their communications (Hamilton, 2006, p. 14). It also creates the need to establish the appropriate set of metrics to assess and report results.
Social media and metrics to measure results is certainly a hot topic these days. Fortunately, the news is good. According to Young (2010), “the accessibility of data, and the speed at which it is available, has made it easier for marketers to evaluate and optimize campaigns with higher precision. Marketers have been able to adjust a campaign as it evolves, fine-tuning efficiency and response. New media-measurement techniques have allowed marketers to test and improve each campaign over time, changing creative, media placement, position and timing” (Young, 2010, p.23).
Because of the need for effective tools for measuring and reporting results of marketing communications, advice abounds in literature, reports and blogs by various experts in the community. One example is a report by the Altimeter Group entitled, “The Social Media ROI Cookbook: Six Ingredients Top Bands Use to Measure the Revenue Impact of Social Media.” It includes rich data and expert advice on qualitative and quantitative approaches to measuring the impact of social media on the bottom line.
Although there is clearly no “one size fits all” to addressing the challenge of measuring marketing communications, this report and others like it provide useful tips and techniques that are worth consideration. But, like our rapidly changing environment, I’m sure this is a process that will continue to evolve.
Bradley, B. (2011). Five metrics and an ‘MBA’ to help measure the effectiveness of media coverage. PR News, 67(26), n/a.
Hamilton, N. (2006, Sep 04). Today’s media relations rules. PRweek, 9, 14-15.
Patterson, L. (2007). Taking on the metrics challenge. Journal of Targeting, Measurement and Analysis for Marketing, 15(4), 270-276.
Young, A. (2010). Brand media strategy: Integrated communications planning in the digital era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.