It seems like everyone is talking about measurement these days. The pressures placed on businesses over the past few years to be more efficient and more effective have given rise to a veritable revolution in compiling and parsing data.
From the hundreds of different services for sentiment analysis and real-time conversation monitoring, to an even wider array of tools that measure the depth and reach of a whole host of digital initiatives, it is incredible how quickly organizations have come to embrace, even expect, the highest degree of technology in their measurements. But these same internal and external pressures to drive success can also foster a blind faith in metrics that lulls many organizations into a false sense of security.
Measurement and analytics are powerful and highly marketable catchphrases in a down economy. Clients feel protected when they hear them. But there are many ways that agencies can influence the outcome toward what a client wants to see. Conversely, there are invariables and intangibles that an agency can’t control or measure that may significantly impact business outcomes, positively or negatively.
A good client-agency relationship will afford opportunities to sit down and customize the appropriate level of measurement, and then allow for the latitude and flexibility to track results accurately. This means moving beyond the world of “impressions,” “buzz” and “awareness” to determine whether the client-agency partnership has authentically leveraged value and created successful outcomes. For most companies in this economic environment, that means moving the top line.
Metrics that determine impact and effect on social media and online engagement are widespread and can be effectively extrapolated by less senior levels of an organization. But it is often the hard data such as sales, EBITDA and quarterly revenue—generally available to only the C-levels of agencies and clients—that accurately reflect a campaign’s impact.
Technologically driven measurements can offer interesting and valuable insights. But that doesn’t mean they are effectively measuring what matters most. A cookie-cutter approach to success—with a flurry of the latest and greatest measurements to prove it—often results in little to no real success at all. This is why consistent and open communication between client and agency is so critical. More than ever before, the best measurement programs are the ones that are created uniquely for each client.