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Carolyn Hansen

Measurement isn't everything

Carolyn Hansen | Executive Director, Marketing
3.26.2010       Comments (0)

If someone in this blog says “measurement isn’t everything,” you may be expecting the next phrase to be “it’s the only thing.” Or maybe that’s just me. I grew up in Wisconsin, where Vince Lombardi’s famous quotes were tattooed inside our eyelids.

I mean it. Measuring your campaigns isn’t everything. But it’s the way you’ll know whether everything else is done right. If you run track or swim, a stopwatch won’t make you better at what you do. It just tells you whether you’re doing better or worse than in the past. The data you get from your stopwatch can tell you whether your coach is giving you helpful advice – if , of course, you’re following the advice.

Lots of people in marketing and advertising dislike being measured.

• They say it impinges on their creativity.
• They say measurement is single-dimensional and branding is so much more than just selling things.
• They say measurement stifles risk-taking.

There is some truth in each of those statements.

When you have a particular goal in mind, to be successful, you need to become fairly single-minded about reaching that goal. For example, if you want to lose weight, you can’t be as “creative” in your eating habits as you might want to be. If you want a promotion, your goal stifles your ability to be as lackadaisical at work as you might want to be. So, yes, goals and measurement may have an impact on your freedom.

Yes, branding is about more than just selling. But selling the product is the single biggest brand impact possible. No matter how many lovely commercials you may see about a Lexus, owning a Lexus will have the highest impact on your brand perception.

And measurement may indeed stifle risk-taking. Marketers who measure results are more likely to slip into the tried-and-true than those who value creativity above all else. On the other hand, success brings more possibility for experimentation than failure. Too many failures and you’re out of time and budget. If you know what works and do it, you live to try again another day.

So, measurement isn’t everything in marketing. But it sure influences a lot of things.