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4 Tips to Raise Your Measurement Standards

4 Tips to Raise Your Measurement Standards

Katie Paine @queenofmetrics
Senior Consultant, Paine Publishing

Start With Agreed-upon Objectives

Whatever definition of success you use, it all comes down to one question: How is what you do going to help your organization achieve its goals? Put another way, what is the connection between what you do and the bottom line? Typical answers might be: My efforts help increase the marketable universe more efficiently; or My efforts start someone on the path to purchase. Without clear definition of your contribution to business objectives, all measurement systems will fail.

Agree On Your Metrics

Once you’ve made the connection between your efforts and the bottom line, the next step is to agree on the specific metrics you will use to measure your progress. Metrics typically start with a % sign, i.e., % increase in names added to the marketable universe from social media, or % increase in touch points with prospects that contain the 5 elements that drive a purchase decision. Gather all the relevant managers in a room, and get them all to agree on the 5 or so metrics by which you will be measured. (No one can keep more than 5 metrics in their head, so if you decide on more, assume that the rest will invariably be forgotten.)

Keep It Clean

Whether you are using a sophisticated monitoring platform or Google Alerts, your metrics are only as good as the search strings and filters that you are using. Budget (both time-wise and dollar-wise) for adequate time to test your search strings, dig into the results, modify them, test them again, and tweak as necessary. For complicated programs it is not unusual to have upwards of 1000 terms within a single search string. Next, check for spam. In one database for a restaurant all we had to do was put in “Viagra” and we eliminated about 25% of the mentions! Look for calendar listings, weddings, police blotter notifications and anything with similar but inappropriate terms. One recent example was a search for Johnson & Johnson that contained a remarkably revealing discussion of sexual innuendo and puns that had very little to do with the products the famous medical supply company provides. If Twitter is part of your data, look for and eliminate Twitter handles of people with similar names to your brand. Make sure you eliminate duplicate items as well.

Deliver Insight, Not Wall Art

Too many communication professionals lose credibility when reporting results because they focus on making them “pretty” rather than insightful. Lose the pie charts—they seldom tell you anything meaningful. Show trends, highlight the failures and what you’ve learned from them. Ideally, you’d create a quadrant chart like this that shows the success of each program you’ve managed, the level of investment, and what programs can be eliminated because they didn’t work.Chart_Engagement vs. Resource Use


For more information on measurement, subscribe to Katie Paine’s newsletter, The Measurement Advisor: Or check out for white papers, courses, and training materials. @queenofmetrics or

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