Friday, July 24, 2009

Who's counting whom?: Four steps to reducing marketing metric uncertainty

Yes, it's Twitter again...on measurement. "Please make it stop!" you may say. Of course, just like reality TV or bad music, the urge to click the no-place-like-home button on your browser may be overcome by the can't-look-away power of Twitter's cyberlebrity status.

And if you are still reading, thanks. But let's get to the point. Twitter announced it is 'correcting follower and following counts' (here).

So What?

What does that have to do with marketing measurement? Presumably, spam accounts account for much of the 'data inconsistency' and 'artifacts' in the system Twitter mentions. But could it be that the data isn't what it seems?

Kudos to Twitter for recognizing an issue and attempting to deal with it. But what this reminds us is that measurement and metrics carry uncertainty.

Whether your metrics include page visits, permalinks or Twitter followers, many marketing metrics rely on data collected by 3rd parties...Twitter, Neilsen, Google, Quantcast, Comscore...and that means a degree of uncertainty.

And where there is uncertainty, it can be worth deploying some guidance. Here's 4 guides to marketing metrics that can help reduce-though not remove-the uncertainty:
  • Establish ownership: whoever owns the business goals should own the metrics and the measurement activity...even if that means sourcing part of the activity to 3rd parties. If everyone is accountable, then noone is.
  • Align measures with objectives: measurement should be relevant to the objective...awareness, while a prerequisite to sales, is not a congruent measure for a sales objective. Neither are Twitter followers, tweets, or hashtags mentioning your company's product.
  • Define customer success: Not all marketing measures will be directly attributable to sales. In marketing's role as customer advocate, defining customer success measures matters (e.g., customer satisfaction, advocacy, engagement and collaboration).
  • Create key performance indicators: No single metric or measurement tool defines success...A balanced scorecard of performance indicators can provide ongoing direction in evaluating the organization's [marketing campaign] performance...if all of the data comes from 3rd parties, then the KPI's are incomplete.

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