This continues the conversation on storytelling in marketing began yesterday with Mark Goren of Transmission Content + Creative. We stopped in medias res, right as we were talking about the crucial topic of measurement.
Bob Glaza asks a very good set of questions: what is it we want to measure? Is it a concrete number like bottom line? Is it more elusive like customer loyalty? How about return visits?
Matt Dickman chimes in with the idea of a balancing act measurement. While some short term goals are easier to measure, the real marketers are looking more long term. How can/should we balance the two?
The key is what you are measuring, responded Mark. And, as Toby Bloomberg wrote late last week: "Good relationships should impact your bottom line." So let's measure the variables that affect long-term relationships, the variables that reflect why and how people react, how they interact, learn from what we can see and adjust as we go along, he said.
Mark also quoted from Greg Verdino's recent post on viral marketing: "You need to produce lots of content, try different things, and get them into the marketplace for reaction. And you can't get discouraged, at least not after one attempt."
Steve Roesler joined the conversation by introducing the notion of time: "Let's face it: whenever we're building trust through relationships, and then asking people to invest in what we're doing, there is a timeline involved."
See what Mark responds to that in yesterday's post and continue the conversation with us here. Focusing on the long term is not attractive. Especially in the field of new media, it is crucial to track results along efforts. But if you're thinking and worrying only about now, you won't create much momentum to build on for tomorrow. Let's find out how we do that.
Valeria Maltoni: Measurement should be built into every activity in the form of feedback. Online you can use RSS feeds, hits to your site, links to downloads, etc. Offline you start with customer service and conversations in every situation where the organization touches customers. There is no need to complicate things.
Our gift campaign last year included my business card with each package and cover note. I told our sales reps to tell their customers to contact me with any questions or comments about it. They did, we had great conversations and testimonials as a result. Too many marketers work behind the scenes. I truly believe that customer service is the new marketing.
Time is all you've got. No right combination, no sales. It's worth pursuing when you look at it that way. Tweak enough to know what changed and what feedback you have from it, test to find out what works in a way that you can isolate it. And also play with new environments. As an example, we created a self-contained mini site for one of our product lines because we could define the customer segment and their preferences extremely well. Then we built a couple of new elements into the mini site to keep things interesting. We measured the response at launch, through user feedback over time and through the elements we change. It works. Can you think of an example or two?
Mark Goren: I like that your measurement examples are small and easy to implement – feeds, hits, downloads, etc. These are the stats that give you a live take on what's working and what doesn't. As is asking people to contact you directly. Talking to people, getting their first-person experiences and opinions is key to learning, and that's how you know what to tweak and adjust without going through a complete overhaul of your message and tactics. If customer service is about listening and responding well, than I completely agree –- customer service is the new marketing. My TDBank experience can speak to that.
Coming from a traditional agency background, I've seen campaign measurements lead to poor decision making all too often. Measuring things in this world means looking for reasons not to do something, to go safe. Of course, when you're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a print campaign, you want to know if it'll work. Problem is, it's a process geared to stifle experimentation and, of course, you can never know what's going to work or not. Sometimes you've just got to test, try, adjust, try, adjust, try, adjust, and try again – and always keep tweaking. And leave yourself the room to do so. I think that's a big part of the problem with the traditional model.
So what do you think – is advertising as we know it dead?
Valeria Maltoni: That's interesting; you say that measuring often means looking for proof that something is not working. So how do we switch to a more open process? Can we borrow the philosophy from positive psychology and devise ways to experiment for meaning? Which then begs the question, how do you measure meaning? I think it comes through impact.
Are people taking your ideas/products/services and using them? How are they using them? Can you evolve the conversation with them? Print can be a way to invite people to give you permission and engage with them. We did a campaign to invite people to integrate a new product into their mix and begin a dialogue on where it fit for them. Despite the increasing market pressure and competition, this long term strategy has paid off.
The traditional model is not working because practitioners often have a hard time using the media in innovative ways.
Mark Goren: Allow me to tweak your last sentence, Valeria: The traditional model is not working because practitioners often have a hard time seeing the value of new media. I think advertisers have to ease themselves into accepting these new options, learn what they can do for their brands and then gradually put more and more money into new media. So they should, as you suggest, add a social component to their traditional efforts if they're set on going the traditional route and then watch how things evolve and make the necessary adjustments.
I also think you pinpoint another key element to all this: patience. The importance of developing long-term thinking here is paramount (as we touched on earlier). Relationships aren't built overnight.
How do you measure meaning? I think the answer is above. Try new things and wait to see how it pays off in relationships – and make sure you have the patience to find out.
Valeria Maltoni: Practitioners will not be able to sell the value (hate this word, it's so... marketers) of new media without some solid ROI in a corporate model. There is also the barrier that many marketing managers in organizations do not understand blogging or social media. They read about them -- now it seems everywhere -- but until you do it, you won't really know how it can apply.
And doing to understand is the only way to add a social media component to broader programs in many organizations.
It's interesting to note that our comments from yesterday dovetailed nicely into our conversation. Join in, what is your take?