Posted by: In: Digital Success 20 Sep 2016 Comments: 0

hands trying to fit two puzzle pieces together.


People often delay starting complex projects because all they can see ahead are the challenges and complexities involved in completing such projects. If something seems too daunting of an up-hill battle to ever complete, it’s very hard to get started.

Those who might feel too discouraged to begin can overcome this mental barrier by breaking up the overall project into smaller, more manageable tasks. A plan consisting of those smaller, bite-sized tasks makes it easier to start and ultimately complete the larger, overarching project.

The same concept can apply to a firm’s desire to measure the effectiveness of its marketing efforts. There is certainly a lot involved in measuring marketing well. To help make implementing a marketing measurement process at your organization a reality rather than a dream, here’s a plan to help you break the project down into manageable steps.

8 Steps for Marketing Measurement

1. Assemble Your Measurement Team: You should create a small and diverse team that pulls members from a wide array of backgrounds such as sales, marketing, operations, finance, IT, and others. The purpose of marketing is to incentivize profitable customer behaviour. People from each of these areas will have a perspective on how to define and measure profitable customer behaviour at your organization, or can provide the data you’ll need to measure whether marketing is achieving its objectives.

2. Decide What to Measure: This step requires having clarity about your overall business and marketing objectives, as well as each individual marketing campaign’s objectives. Well-defined objectives from your marketing planning process will help you to identify the KPIs that you’ll use to assess how well your campaign is performing. You should also identify the data you’ll need to collect, as well as where, when, and how you’ll collect it.

3. Pick a Methodology: You need a flexible measurement methodology that you can apply consistently across a diverse range of campaigns that vary in complexity, targeting different customers, with different performance objectives and metrics. The methodology needs to be able to accommodate those differences. A consistent methodology across programs makes it possible to rank programs by a common overall program performance KPI.

4. Assign Responsibilities, Set Deadlines & Expectations: Make sure team members understand their role and responsibilities, their personal deadlines, and who else on the team they need to collaborate with on specific tasks. Like any project, your success will depend on how well people perform.

5. Test: Always start small. Measure one campaign’s KPIs against its objectives while you develop and work out the kinks in your process. Pick a campaign that will involve everyone on the team and that will test all aspects of your process.

6. Review & Adjust Your Process: Things won’t go as planned on your first attempt. Check back in with the team and fix what needs fixing before rolling out your process.

7. Roll Out: Typically this is done in phases, perhaps to other brands, other program types, other divisions and other locations. Do it in manageable steps and be sure to allow for a pause after each phase so you can review and adjust if necessary.

8. Review & Adjust Your Marketing: Hold a measurement review session after completing the above steps, but before starting your next round of marketing planning. Take the time to see what you’ve learned about which campaigns have been the most and least effective at meeting or exceeding target KPIs. Then, optimize your next wave of strategies, tactics and outcomes.


If developing and implementing a marketing measurement process in your firm is something you’ve been dreading, a step-by-step plan will make it easier for you to both start and finish.

Rick Shea is President of Optiv8 Consulting, a marketing effectiveness consultancy with a focus on helping small to mid-sized organizations measure their marketing so they can stop wasting money.

Posted by: In: Digital Success 02 Apr 2015 Comments: 0

Stepping out of my house yesterday morning, I observed a scene that could have been the set of a disaster movie. There were two police officers, a fire fighter crew, three people from the hydro company, a moving van driver, and a cat. There were also flashing lights, barricades, pylons and police tape. A quick visual survey of these surroundings brought me to the hypothesis that the large moving van with downed hydro lines draped over it was the cause of the ruckus. The moving van was very tall and had caught some low-hanging power lines, effectively knocking out the power to my house!

My neighbour saw the whole thing and called 911, who in turn called the police, the firefighters, and the hydro crew (no one knows who called the cat). I spent the next several hours engaging all of the above parties in productive conversations, along with my insurance company, the claims adjuster, contractors and an electrician. While they were all courteous professionals, they each had a different view on how to proceed; each one had a different boss to answer to and hence, a different set of priorities. This was frustrating, but also very interesting to me (and certainly not unusual). To some degree, all organizations experience this. marketing_measurement While this group had been quickly assembled to deal with an emergency situation, it behaved as most organizations do… the primary concerns of the individuals involved were guided by their own self-interests. Success was achieved because the group was able to come together around common objectives to ultimately solve the problem. What does this have to do with marketing measurement? I thought you’d never ask! Some of the biggest factors in marketing success revolve around making sure everyone’s interests are aligned, and this is where the biggest benefits are realized. Aligning marketing’s objectives with the overall goals of the organization is critical to the success of marketing measurement efforts, and therefore, the success of the organization itself. Here are three steps to successful alignment of marketing’s measurement interests with those of the whole organization.

  1. Organization-wide commitment to marketing measurement

There tend to be people in non-marketing roles that downplay the value of the department. A great way to dispel this misconception is by defining measurable marketing goals, and involving the entire organization in that process. Marketing needs support from every other department in order to be successful – that will only happen if everyone is on board and clearly understands how marketing success leads to company success. It sounds obvious to a marketer, but it isn’t always so cut-and-dry for others (especially given that data-driven marketing has been seen as highly cost-intensive and still is by many companies).

  1. Marketing and company-wide commitment to a measurement methodology

If the marketing department unilaterally develops the approach to marketing measurement and the definition of success, others may think the approach is self-serving (meaning the methodology may be biased towards showing that the marketers are highly effective). By involving other departments and working towards aligning interests, the methodology will be more balanced and acceptance of the results will be far more likely. With measurable objectives, success is easier to define and more likely to be useful.

  1. The organization and marketing decide together what to measure

Marketing’s purpose is to acquire and retain customers who create value for the entire organization. This means you need to understand from each key department how value, high value customers, and profitable customer behaviour are defined. Only once you understand these values completely can you determine the KPIs (key performance indicators) that make sense to include in your measurement methodology. Select metrics that matter to all aspects of the organization, and you will find it much easier to get the data and support you need across the company. Every member of an organization has a role to play. Each one has their own priorities and biases, as we’ve seen. Effective organizations find and focus on the common objectives, even amongst seemingly competing interests. One of the most important benefits of setting measurable marketing objectives and defining success against them is that in order to do it properly, those objectives need to align the organization. When the pieces of an organization are aligned in their objectives, everyone stands to reap the rewards.

Rick Shea is President of Optiv8 Consulting, a marketing effectiveness consultancy with a focus on helping small to mid-sized organizations measure their marketing so they can stop wasting money.

Posted by: In: Market Insight 01 May 2014 Comments: 0 Tags: , , ,

Marketing measurement is a big problem, but the solution to the problem doesn’t also have to be big. In fact, it can be small.

On Monday afternoon, I met my friend Reuben to get caught up over a coffee. I always enjoy our chats as they usually cover a wide range of interesting topics. Reuben also tends to ask great questions and make insightful comments. Monday was no exception.

While discussing how pervasive technology, analytics and big data are in marketing, we concluded that in contrast to all of that complexity and big data, I come at marketing measurement from a different angle; with something we might call a small data approach.

big data vs small data

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Big data vs small data… what’s the deal?

There is an emerging definition of small data as the few key pieces of meaningful, actionable information that we can uncover by analyzing big data. Those insights you extract from your big data become the last steps along the way to making better marketing decisions.

Actually, neither one of us had that definition of small data in mind during our discussion. Rather, we spoke of my “small data” approach to marketing measurement as small relative to other approaches and to the complexity of the problem.

My approach does align with the above definition of small data in the sense that I am very focused on organizing the chaos of all that data, uncovering insights and helping marketers to learn what they need to know so they can make better decisions. That is the reason to measure marketing and it needs to be the focus of any approach to measuring marketing.

Where my scorecard-based approach might also seem a bit contrarian is in its emphasis on measuring results vs. objectives and in not trying to calculate a financial return on investment (ROI). Although it would be ideal to accurately measure the financial ROI of marketing programs, as I have written about in the past, I think there are too many problems with doing financial ROI calculations for individual marketing programs.

I’ve always thought of my approach as a practical approach to a complex problem. As of Monday afternoon, I’m also starting to think about it as a small data approach to a big data problem. To explain what I mean by a small data approach, let me start with some thoughts on big data.

Big Data

Big data flows out of a set of circumstances that will tend to occur at bigger companies, and might include some combination of the following:

  • Big marketing budgets
  • Many marketing programs
  • Many products and/or services
  • Many communications channels
  • Many and diverse customers and customer segments
  • Many touch points on the customer path-to-purchase
  • Many transactions

These circumstances lead to a whole lot of data to analyze and understand which in turn leads to big data measurement solutions that will also tend to be big, complex, sophisticated and expensive.

With all the buzz around big data, it is easy for small and mid-sized companies to conclude that a high-science, big data solution must be the only legitimate way to approach marketing measurement. For many of these companies, a big, costly sophisticated approach isn’t needed or practical under their circumstances. A smaller, more practical approach can do the trick.

Small Data

Most small to mid-sized companies don’t operate under the same set of circumstances. Their budgets aren’t as big, their marketing activity is much less involved, their world is much less complex and they generate and collect a smaller amount of data. They also have fewer resources with which to take on the problem that all marketers must solve, which is to determine the best ways to invest their budgets.

A small data approach can be a great fit under these smaller circumstances. Yet, given the range of company size and marketing activity within the small to medium sized businesses segment, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Any approach needs to have some built in flexibility so you can scale up or down to be appropriate for the size of the marketing budget being measured.

That’s really where I stand on marketing measurement. Right size your approach to your circumstances, and don’t overspend on measurement by bringing an over-sized solution to your problem.

Don’t over allocate resources to measuring something that you can’t measure perfectly, as the law of diminishing marginal returns will ensure you waste some of those precious resources. This is not about measuring perfectly; it’s about perfecting your marketing.

About the Author: Rick Shea is President of Optiv8 Consulting, a marketing effectiveness consultancy with a focus on helping small to mid-sized organizations measure their marketing so they can stop wasting money.