Learn How to Measure What Matters from the Queen Herself

I recently had the pleasure of reading Katie Paine’s latest book, Measure What Matters, during some otherwise long and boring plane rides. Through 14 succinct but detailed chapters, Katie walks you through how to get started with basic measurement and some good examples of specific situations or types of campaigns you may need to measure.

From tackling finding the right measurement tool to measuring the impact of a conference sponsorship, each chapter can stand on its own as a detailed and real-life example. One problem I have had with other books about measurement is the lack of real examples or instructions to help you go beyond the theoretical math. Not so here.

Common measurement myths are also dispelled and the “right questions” are provided. If you know absolutely nothing about measurement, this book is a great tool to begin. (If you already know your stuff, you may find it a bit redundant, but there are still some useful tidbits for the more experienced measurers.)

There are seven key steps that are reiterated over and over as the basis for measuring just about anything (not just PR or social media)

  1. Define your goals and objectives.
  2. Define your environment, your audiences, and your role in influencing them.
  3. Define your investment: what will it cost? What is the “I” in ROI?
  4. Determine your benchmarks.
  5. Define your key performance indicators: what are the metrics you will report with?
  6. Select the right measurement tool and vendors and collect data.
  7. Turn data into action: analyze data, draw actionable conclusions, and make recommendations.

These are the seven steps you need to keep in mind before you start any new campaign or initiative. Think measurement first to measure properly.

Notice that finding a tool and collecting data come much later in the process than most of us would like. It’s so easy to find a cool new tool or gadget that you want to use, but if it’s not going to give you the data that you need, why use it? Retrofitting measurement to a tool is always a bad idea. Figure out what you need to measure, the tools will present themselves.

Also note that goals and objectives are the first step. Every single time. There is no use measuring “success” if you have absolutely no idea what that means. Katie suggests thinking about your best year. Your boss is giving you a huge bonus and a bottle of champagne. What did you do? What changed from last year? Understanding what success really is can often be a bigger battle than measuring it.

Has anyone else had a chance to read Katie’s book? What did you think? What was most helpful or what did you think was missing?