Mike Carter explains the value of a measurement framework and how thinking about results should come at the start of every campaign
Success is often hard to define, especially when evaluating marketing communications.
Indeed, before a campaign or activation there can be so much focus on delivering the activity that little time is spent considering ways to measure the impact.
It is not always easy to see the outcome of those carefully formed messages and branding created for and distributed via different methods (advertising, pr campaign, a sponsorship or partnership).
But if you don’t know, how do you decide what to do next? Should you sign up for next year? Extend the campaign? Pull the whole thing?
A measurement framework – formed before any activity is launched – aligns the ways and means to record results against your benchmarks. It becomes a valuable reference for future activity as it records changes in metrics over a specific period of time.
To build it, you need to work backwards.
- Decide which overarching business objective the communications activity is designed to impact – what change do you want to see?
- What else will affect that objective? How do other environmental factors change over the campaign period – for example, do you normally do more business in the summer? Will an external event skew results?
- To what extent will your audience be exposed to the communications? Communications are targeted at people. Which channels and methodologies are you using? How effectively will they reach them?
Once these questions have been answered, use audience insight – through market research or analysis of behavioural signals – to help enrich the delivery data and provide an understanding of whether or not – for the time and money invested in creating a campaign – behavioural change has occurred and the business impact is as desired.
Getting into the rhythm of evaluating each communications activity in the same way – through a structured measurement framework – creates benchmark data from which to forecast or compare the results of different communications activities.
We have recently helped a client get a proper understanding of the reach of different elements of a multi-strand sponsorship, resulting in a deeper understanding of partner marketing that opened up thinking – and opportunities. And for another, on the ground market research has illuminated which elements of their offer really resonate with their audiences and can be monitised further.
Your evaluation framework will help to define success in delivering a message through a particular media at a particular time to an audience to create a business impact and most importantly, answer that tricky – but essential - question: did it actually work?