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What Are We Measuring?

There's been a push recently to "hold social marketing's feet to the fire," and in many ways I agree. It's time for the discipline to grow up and start being guided by clear objectives and definable results. However, as we do this I think it's important that we develop metrics that are suitable to the medium.

I've been telling a story recently that I heard while at the Russ Reid Food Bank Development Conference. One of their clients (I won't say who) was continually irritated at their NPR buy. By all measures it was a catastrophe. There was next to no response and it cost a fortune. By every metric she had at her disposal, the program simply didn't work. But every time she killed the buy, EVERY OTHER PROGRAM WENT DOWN. 

I agree that social marketing needs to be accountable, but I often worry about us destroying it with old-school tactics and evaluating it with old-school measurement. 

We need to look not just at the sales social can directly bring us, but also how it enhances sales on a 
secondary basis. 

We need to be doing more than measuring the program. We need to be measuring the path a customer takes throughout his or her life cycle. Otherwise, just like the NPR example, we could be killing the one thing that makes people pay attention to our real selling efforts down the road.

My thanks to Elizabeth A. McCaffrey for bringing up this discussion over on Linked In. You can find the thread here.

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