23 May How do you measure up?
What we measure is what counts. A universally acknowledged truth is that people adapt their behaviour based on how they perceive they will be measured/compared/judged. For those of us in the marketing and communication fields, what we measure has largely defined the industry we now have.
Consider Reach, for decades brands have sought media vehicles that deliver the highest and most cost-efficient reach against their target audience. And so we have mass-reach media (though for how much longer, who knows).
Frequency, or rather, Effective Frequency, was first studied back in the 1880’s by Hermann Ebbinghaus as he looked to understand mental processes. But in today’s connection economy, we believe these ‘exposure-driven’ metrics are largely redundant. The digitisation of marketing is allowing us to measure things better than ever, but it’s still largely the same things we measured before, albeit faster and more accurately. Many of the metrics fail to capture the value of the connection that’s established between a person and a brand.
But how can we redefine what we measure? Making small but significant shifts in our approach to measurement can fundamentally change the way marketing communication is developed, how customers are rewarded and how success is defined.
Consider the following simple changes to common measurement terms:
- Reach – let’s measure the strength of the interaction a person has when they physically reach a brand’s owned touchpoint. This can be done through a focus on user experience and understanding the value exchange at every customer touchpoint.
- Frequency – the question is not how many times has our ad potentially been seen but “are we communicating on our customers’ frequency?” We can measure this through in-depth customer studies using netnography research, a form of ethnography through the digital medium.
- Impressions – let’s not dwell on the number of digital impressions. Rather, let’s consider the impression a person takes from a digital experience with a brand. Simple exit studies and follow-up surveys can help to gauge the impression a person takes away from an interaction.
Marketers have the power to change the way their people and their agencies perceive the way they are being measured. It’s time to retire antiquated exposure-driven metrics and replace them with measures that reflect the way customers actually interact with businesses, how brands connect with humans and how people advocate their experiences.