Tag Archives: Measurement

If It Ain’t Broke… Then Just Enhance It

I recently returned from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)  trade show in San Francisco for our client Manheim.  We repurposed last year’s “sports lounge” booth, enhancing a few key elements.  Why would we want to use the same sports lounge concept from last year?  Well, it worked.  How do we know it worked?  We looked at the results.

We didn’t just look at anecdotal comments from industry leaders such as Kathy Jackson of Automotive News, who stated in her blog, “They really had it going on at the Manheim booth – sports bar with lots of flat screen TVs and free beer, wine, soft drinks and nuts.  You would have thought you were on the set of ‘Cheers.’  The bar was packed.”  We also looked at last year’s results, such as 800 unique attendees engaged at the booth for an average of 28 minutes per person.

So going into planning for this year’s trade show, the consensus was to go with what worked last year and aim to make it even better.  The primary goals were to increase the number of attendee engagements as well as time spent with the attendees.

First, we increased the size of the booth footprint, making the sports lounge 10 feet deeper.  Since the sports lounge was packed last year, we figured attendees may appreciate more seating and more elbow room.  And, oh yeah, we may be able to engage with even more attendees.

Second, we promoted the sports lounge with news racks near the trade show and pre-show e-blasts to dealers, promoting an NFL replica football giveaway.

Third, we secured and branded a nearby sports bar with 31 interior and exterior window banners, two continuously looped, closed-circuit television spots, napkins and cups.  We invited attendees to join Manheim and watch the “Big Game” between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers on February 6th after the trade show.  There, we gave away more footballs, iPod touches and iPads.

The results:

  • An increase in unique engagements over last year, from 800 to 1,150.
  • An increase in average time spent in-booth with attendees, from 28 minutes to 32 minutes.
  • Engagement with more than 350 attendees for an average of THREE-PLUS hours at the off-site sports bar.

So what does it all mean?  First, by establishing measurement criteria up front and looking at results, you can evaluate program-to-program performance objectively.  Second, even if previous results were good, they can always be better.  Third, you may not need to reinvent the wheel to drive results.  And finally, people like free beer and sports.

Gary Sayers, Vice President, Account Director

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Baking and Marketing, the Fundamentals Are the Same

Forget about decking the halls, fighting the mall crowds, or even singing carols (at least in public); for me, the holiday season has always been about baking.  This year, as I fired up my trusty red KitchenAid mixer on Black Friday, I was struck by the similarities between baking and good marketing.

1. Start with a Recipe

Sure, a little experimentation is great now and then, but make sure the basics are in place before you deviate from the core direction.  A marketer’s impulsive cry of “We need to be on Twitter” or “Get me more Facebook likes” is the baking equivalent of “Let’s just toss in some peanut butter.” It might be great or it might just ruin the whole thing.

2. Use the Right Tools

Whether your favorite spatula, grandmother’s measuring spoons, or the perfectly shaped pan, the right tools are critical.  For marketing, this might be a promotional offer, a blog, or a brand campaign – any of them might be effective, as long as they aid in the execution of the recipe (or for marketers, the strategy).

3. Measurement Is Key

If Google analytics, conversion metrics, social media mentions, and net promoter scores are the ounces, pounds, cups, and tablespoons of marketing, then your scorecard is the final taste test.  Did you earn 5 stars or 3?  Without measurement, you won’t know where you stand or if you have improved.

4. Don’t Overlook Simplicity

A single ingredient is rarely great on its own (I can’t be the only one who has fallen victim to the captivating smell of vanilla, only to recoil in horror after tasting it).  And the layered flavors of multiple ingredients sure can be tasty, but simple is magical.   Who would imagine that something as exquisite as a meringue could come from the combination of egg whites, sugar, and a touch of vanilla?  Bakers and marketers alike would benefit from focusing less on the number of elements and more on the way in which they are combined.

5. Offer Only Your Best

No amount of presentation can cover up bad execution.  Even if your guests don’t say anything, they will notice if you scrimped on the sugar, didn’t bake it long enough, or tried to cover the burned pieces with frosting.  So don’t be afraid to start over or bring in the experts to ensure that you can confidently stand behind anything that you serve.

The annual strategic planning timeline for most companies aligns nicely with holiday baking season.  Coincidence?  Perhaps not . . .

–Pam Alvord, EVP Chief Brand Strategist

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Embracing Measurement

As I have said before, with marketing being held to a higher standard, the days of running programs and hoping that they worked are over.  The old saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” rings true today, more than ever.  Nearly every target interaction can be measured in some manner.

But how do your get your marketing team to embrace measurement?

If you truly want measurement and accountability to permeate your organization, it can’t be just lip service.  You must make a wholesale change and bake it into the DNA of your company.  It may sound difficult, but it isn’t that hard to do.  We’ve helped many of our clients implement analytics programs to track and improve the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Here are a few of the keys.  Make sure you…

  • Put your analytics plan in place prior to any implementation.
  • Get input and buy-in from senior management.
  • Measure the right things – the data points that tie back to your specific objectives and can truly have an impact on revenue.  In some instances, 2-3 items will suffice.  In other cases, you may need to track 10-15 items.  It is fine to track softer items (e.g., awareness, favorability), but it is also critical to develop mechanisms to track leads/engagement and hard business metrics.
  • Create a conversion funnel that, where possible, tracks all the data points from each customer interaction all the way through to revenue.
  • Develop a scorecard to track the data.
  • Assign the team members who will be responsible for each data point.
  • Set a reporting schedule… and stick to it.

Don’t be afraid of measurement.  Embrace it.  Your future may depend on it!

— Stephen Weinstein, Director of Account Management

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Auditing your measurement will help you achieve success outside and inside your organization.

When was the last time you audited your marketing measurement program? We find that most marketers don’t do this enough. And when they do, they find they’ve run into obstacles at many critical data points during the evaluation process.

Why? I believe everyone’s intention to adequately measure the results of individual or collective programs starts out meaningful.  Who does not want to measure whether or not the marketing initiative actually yielded the desired result? But the difference we find is not in the intent, rather, it is in the delivery and integrity of the data.

Oftentimes, information has to come from sources outside the marketing department’s control. Like sales lead information. Or, the data from IT, which doesn’t exactly match up to a reportable statistic that verifies that the marketing initiative works. Thankfully, there are tools like Google Analytics that are able to inform the process such that it allows data gatherers to get reporting moving.  Often, though, it is only one step in the measurement chain.

Technology changes everything we do when it comes to the collection of relevant data. More sophisticated technologies can help a marketing group get a clear understanding of how the myriad of tools employed actually can connect to relevant activity.

Marketers must make auditing their measurement a priority. Not just for measuring the effectiveness of their campaign but for internal accountability and the promotion of marketing’s agenda. And because today’s executive team demands hard numbers.

Using business goals as a clear metric is key to success. Using softer measures often does not satisfy the folks upstairs. Making sure all are aligned to deliver data that suggests an investment in the marketing program was well worth it will ensure success when budget time comes around.

— Rena Kilgannon, Principal & CEO

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Creative in the new age of measurement. It sure beats testing.

The digital age has added a new responsibility to the creative’s job. It used to be that we just had to be funny, smart, and on target. Now we have to be measurable, and we must create content with measurement in mind.

While this certainly sounds like an extra layer that can interfere with creating the best work possible, I’m actually for it when it’s employed correctly.  That’s right, a creative who’s for measurement.

Why in the heck would a creative embrace testing? Because now we can prove that the best creative is usually the most compelling and effective in the marketplace.

Back in the old days, creative measurement meant testing, and testing meant death by focus group. I’ve witnessed group dynamics ruin many perfectly good ideas.

Today, rather than spend their money on focus-group testing, a client can A/B test creative in the real world. And with the vastness of the digital space, clients can run with more than one idea and see which ones gain the most engagement.

Now, instead of reacting to what people say they will do in a monitored group situation, we actually know what they are doing and can react quickly with real-time information.

I see this as a boon for creative output and clients. Rather than argue about which creative is better, let’s put it to the test. I see this as an opportunity to produce more great work and prove its worth scientifically in the marketplace.

— Jimmy Gilmore, Senior Copywriter

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