Hard Relate: A measurement by any other name
by David Alves (@TheDavidAlves) In an industry rife with contradictory information on what’s the best way to manage transparency for both clients and suppliers, there seems to be a glimmer of hope when it comes to transparent measurement.
Measurement transparency comes in many forms. First, for those within an organisation, it’s not uncommon for employees in the same team to be measured on different KPIs. This is even more apparent in a corporate environment, when siloed teams are all laddering up their KPIs to a head of department or a chief what-what officer. But where the discrepancy materialises is around the definitions of success each individual may have regarding their specific KPIs and metrics.
It’s not uncommon to hear completely different definitions and understandings about the same metric in the same business. People come from different backgrounds and professional experiences, and have gleaned their knowledge from multiple sources through their careers. Many of those definitions are so ingrained that to explain another’s version of the same truth might seem like hearsay.
|While we have your attention, please would you consider taking out a MarkLives membership to help finance our operations? The covid-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on society and industry. With your support, either as a once-off or monthly contribution, we can continue our coverage of its impact on our industry.|
So, if strategists are from Mars and marketing managers are from Venus, how do we get them both to learn sign? Without analogising this to death, there’s a simple — albeit theoretical methodology — that may be used to align siloed departments and their suppliers to business goals. Enter the measurement framework.
One framework to rule them all
What is it?
A measurement framework is a methodology and strategic business exercise to provide a standardised marketing measurement capability that is both aligned to commercial and marketing objectives, and that enables you, as a business, to make marketing decisions based on data and insights.
To make the measurement framework tangible and accessible, the goal is to visualise the metrics from all marketing — and if required — operational channels. This involves gathering and integrating data from all channels and providing dashboards which are relevant to various operational levels in the business. Once finalised, the framework should provide a process through which a business can map data against specific channels and then relate these to commercial and marketing objectives. Special focus needs to be placed on all marketing and communication activities across all channels, and how a business measures activities in respective channels.
The purpose of a measurement framework is to provide a standard measure against which a business will be able to understand the value that each of the respective channels deliver against set objectives. To achieve this, a business needs to understand the data available, how it’s created and the measurement that it ultimately enables.
How do we start?
A measurement framework consists of three main components:
- A KPI framework: This enables a business to take the day-to-day marketing KPIs and align them across the various department with the overall business objectives. The KPI framework standardises the way a business defines a KPI in marketing and helps to be guiding principles on how the business should be setting campaign objectives which will support the overall business objective.
- A data and metric framework: This focuses on specifying the exact way one would typically gather, transform and store data that will serve as the backbone for reporting and ultimately visualisation. This will also define the exact way that data points must be used in calculating a KPI.
- A reporting framework: This focuses on how a business ‘surfaces’ the insights and reports to its internal stakeholders. It’s important to define who’ll be using the reports and for what purpose in order to provide the information in the right context. Context is paramount here, as each business need is completely different. This component of the framework will also look at the tools used to surface the reports and insights.
The three steps above seem relatively easy to implement but the truth is in the detail. Before all of the above happens, there are many steps and internal engagements that a business needs to make in order to properly have the business aligned on measurement.
Where the above often falls down is regarding taxonomy. That’s another planetary-language-term given to describe “business vocabulary”. Have you ever sat in a meeting when every second or third word is an acronym? We all know those kinds of meetings. A business vocabulary for projects, departments and process is as important when referring to KPIs and metrics.
If strategists are from Mars and marketing managers are from Venus, both Venusians and Martians are bound to be used to explain the same concept. A taxonomy allows the business to speak from the same cue cards and understand one another’s objectives, especially when it comes to measurement. Invariably, a taxonomy is part of the foundation work done before a measurement framework exercise to align the business internally with objectives and KPIs. As this is being defined, a business will find that it begins to develop a better understanding around what qualifies as a metric, as opposed to the KPI and the difference between strategic and diagnostic KPIs.
Did your heart love measurement till now?
Forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this framework is right.
David Alves (@TheDavidAlves) is a business director and consultant at Acceleration South Africa, a Wunderman Thompson company, and a digital marketing specialist with over 12 years of entrepreneurial, digital agency and corporate experience, ranging from multinationals to SMEs. His specialities cover consumer and customer experience, the relationship management environment and technical experience across multiple technology suites. He contributes the regular column, Hard Relate — about martech, customer behaviour and experience — to MarkLives.com.