By Jim Hagan
In this blog piece, I want to outline the importance a measurement framework has on any media strategy and showcase how this framework can elevate a media plan and conversely, how it can deflate it. We could (and probably will) make an entire blog series on the how’s of creating a measurement framework, but I want to first stress here the why’s of importance. Typically, so much good effort is put into the actual media plan whereas measurement could be the last-minute addition at the end of the deck.
If you recall from my most recent blog, Breaking Down the Importance of Holistic Media Planning – Part 2, I made mention of the fact that any media plan is made meaningful and cohesive with a smart measurement framework. If you do not recall me mentioning this, then you haven’t read it! Go get a coffee, get comfy, and take a look at it!
I will touch on how business objectives put the measurement wheels in motion, understanding that all channels will be unique in terms of data (and why that’s ok), and finally the most important reason a measurement framework is needed – brand evolution! Let’s begin…
First things first and I’ve stressed this before but aligning goals is vital. You must architect the measurement framework that will showcase how your media plan delivered on those goals. But this isn’t a situation of all take and no give. Data access is a priority– sales, CRM, site analytics. Be the advisor – explain why it’s important, why it’s needed to outline the benefits.
At the end of the day, an effective measurement plan helps validate strategy, but more importantly, it gives learnings to help strengthen and refine marketing efforts moving forward. It provides a wealth of information regarding channels, consumers and creative. And putting that insight to good use for future strategy help brands deliver a frictionless, valuable consumer experience.
Now, once you understand what’s needed, align on KPIs and measurement outcomes, it’s time to agree on what metrics will showcase success. You do not want any surprises when you present the results. We recommend having benchmarks before the campaign is launched so you know what you’re up against and set expectations based on industry benchmarks.
With the right experience and knowledge base, it can become fairly easy to determine media channel and partner strategy within a media plan. But deciding how each channel and vendor will be measured and which KPIs should be tied to each channel can be challenging.
The first step goes back to alignment with the goals and objectives of the campaign. Established business objective of the marketing effort will provide direction on what needs to be tracked and measured. From there, each channels data will need to be looked at individually in terms of what it’s going to tell you and how it supports those objectives.
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you can’t measure it!
As much press as digital media receives, it receives negative press at times because of how accountable it is. Online media can track to an impression, device, and much more. But then there are those offline channels that are tough to tackle. It’s ok that TV and print might not have real time data to observe and react on. As long as channel utilization is strategic, don’t let the nature of different channels deter you from activating and measuring those channels.
That said, because all is not equal at times from a channel and data perspective, what’s needed for cross-channel measurement is a really smart analytics team – we happen to have an awesome analysis team at NSA! This group designs the measurement framework by assessing the test and control scenarios that are needed to define success. Our analytic group will help outline the consumer journey and the touchpoints along the way that will feed data into the learnings. This is critical when you are dealing with channels that do not have an immediate or defined source of data. In other words, create a foundation of testing parameters in order to effectively understand the impact of each channel.
Data Say What?
Execute. Analyze. Refine. I believe the most important aspect of measurement against a media strategy is more than just populating the data against the metrics it is goaled against. Gather the data, but then ask what is it telling me and why does it matter? Take time to craft the story.
This is vital for brands both big and small. Again, proving success is only one part of a measurement framework. The foundation of measurement is to mine insights and apply these learnings moving forward. This is ultimately the answer to the title question of this blog – it’s a key pillar to a media strategy because the goal of investment into executing media is to elevate a brand by increasing brand affinity and drawing in more brand loyalists. The investment should give you actionable knowledge about your brand, your customer, and how messaging should cater to their experience as a customer. Each investment in media should be fueled by previous learnings.
The many moving pieces within the marketing and media landscape are truly daunting. At NSA, we position to have each dollar responsible to mean something to the overall mission of a brand. Plus, at the end of the day, the outcome of a measurement plan will, hopefully, showcase all the intelligent, hard work you and your team dedicated to the overall strategy of the media plan! It’s a win-win.