Measurement and Data Analysis Should be Built into Culture

We keep hearing about “big data” lately. At least I do. Data is suddenly everywhere we turn, and more companies are popping up to help us collect and make sense of it.

A few years ago, big data was for IT or analysts or nerds. Marketers and PR folks are slowly jumping on the big data train, too, and companies that are learning to integrate and mine data for insights are getting ahead.

On a smaller scale, more and more we all need to understand how to find value in all of the data our consumers are producing each day (and data which results from our own work). It may not reach the scale of big data, but there are still hidden treasures hidden among news, tweets, check-ins, blog posts and Facebook pages.

So why are so few companies and agencies taking advantage? According to a recent study, only 40% of companies are measuring social media’s performance on a regular basis. While there are likely many reasons for this, one overarching reason for a lack of measurement is a lack of measurement culture.

Optimizing data and measuring correctly (or measuring at all) starts with your company’s culture. If your organization is inherently data-driven, measuring social media and PR efforts should be a logical next step as you begin to use social media in your campaigns. But if your company is not set up to support measurement, you’ll have a tougher road to measurement success.

I don’t mean to say that if your company is one that isn’t know to measure you’ll be unsuccessful. But if you’re at a place where no one has yet to set up a measurement culture, I recommend leading the charge.

  • Consider measurement upfront. Always. Invite an analyst or measurement nerd to your brainstorming or planning sessions. Include your measurement team (or whoever will likely be executing measurement) as early as possible. They will be able to help you start by optimizing individual campaigns and strategies for measurement.
  • Insist on measurement for every client. No matter how small your client is or how small a campaign may be, always insist on including measurement. Period. It can be as small or robust as necessary to prove success, but never finalize a scope of work without including how measurement will be done.
  • Share results across departments. At the end of a campaign, share your results with your entire team, appropriate management and all other departments involved. Don’t leave out a designer because it may seem irrelevant to you. Encourage everyone to read results or reports. Essentially you want everyone to be used to seeing data and receiving a report when something wraps up.
  • Be a broken record. If you’re in meetings wit your boss or your boss’s boss, pipe up and ask how you’ll be measuring success. Every time. Be the broken record who always asks new vendors what metrics they offer. Think about measurement in every conversation you have and make sure it’s always top-of-mind.
  • Ask for help everywhere. When you get stuck or need help deciding how to measure success, ask around. Don’t just ask your team or your boss or your direct reports. Ask everyone sits around you. Ask the designer who helped you on your last project. Include as many people from across the organization as you can. The more folks you get thinking, the better.

Have you had to be the measurement guru in your office? How would you integrate measurement and data into your company’s DNA?

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