Whatever Gets Measured, Gets Done

“Not everything that counts can be counted; not everything that can be counted, counts.”

Recognizing the challenge of “uncountables” as described by the first half of Einstein’s famous axiom, it is especially critical to be discerning with the things we do count.  In a results focused landscape, how you choose to measure success will effectively dictate your market strategy. “Tell me how you’ll grade me and I’ll tell you what I’ll do.”  Begin with the wrong measures of success and you may have reduced your well-intentioned marketing plan to blind luck.

This is why the digital metrics discussion is so critical.  Just as brands and agencies are coming to terms with the importance of the digital landscape, they’re realizing how unprepared they are to accurately measure it. The familiar qualifiers of traditional media: reach and frequency, don’t seem to apply to the digital arena, so we’ve been grasping at straws to replace them with alternate metrics that will accurately measure the effectiveness of our efforts.  Hits?  Uniques? Click-through? Pre/post equity scores? “Engagement?” Buzz generation? Certainly, all these measurements measure something valuable, but are they actually measuring against our ultimate objectives?  Or do they happen to be things that are easy to count?

The digital space is a place to build relationships with consumers. It’s a place to move beyond mere marketing messages; to create dialog and build advocacy.  It’s a place where brands and consumers have the opportunity to interact on nearly the same level.  The brands that best take advantage of this dynamic are the ones who succeed, both in the digital space and on the balance sheet.

But if building strong relationships is our goal, our KPI’s feel hopelessly off base.  I don’t think I’ve ever tried to qualify the value of a personal relationship by the time spent engaging or the number of unique interactions.  Therefore, I propose an alternate (if hypothetical) metric: the love index.  Simply stated, it’s the number of people who are in love with your brand at any given point in time.

Imagine how different our marketing approach would be if the measured and stated goal was to make people love our brands?  Our brainstorms would focus on adding value to consumer’s lives and discovering new ways to delight them. Goals like awareness would cease to be concerns; they would be met through the advocacy of our biggest fans.  Talk-ability would be the natural result of a job well done, not an objective in itself. Sales would simply be the natural result of advocacy, respect and the top of mind awareness that comes with it.

Certainly, whatever gets measured gets done.  If our goal is to make people love our brands, and carry our banner, we need to find ways to start measuring success against that.

Image Credit: Jearvi