Evolve CommunicationsThe Two Things Clients Never Want, But Need the Most


The Two Things Clients Never Want, But Need the Most

O.k. Never might be an exaggeration. Nonetheless, it’s true that there are two things clients never want to pay for but they need the most. I’m talking about the foundation for all effective communications, and the feedback you get afterwards.

I’m talking about Research and Measurement.

Without research, there’s no way to know if what you’re communicating will matter. There’s no telling whether or not you have your message right. And there’s no way to see if you’re even talking to the right people! Most importantly, you want to be able to predict the outcome of your communications, the results.

And without measurement, there’s no way of knowing whether or not your efforts made a difference. If you’re only counting outputs (what you put out–i.e. tweets, press releases, Facebook posts, LinkedIn Answers, etc.), then you’re not even coming close to being able to tell if you’ve been effective.

And if you can’t measure effectiveness, you also can’t measure value. In other words, you can’t PROVE your hard work and efforts were worth the money. Sales is a common yard stick, but it’s a blunt instrument.

More important in the age of social media is measuring relationships. Are relationships getting stronger as a result of your activities? How will you know unless you measure them? (Check out this paper for a good primer on measuring relationships.)

Too often, clients don’t want to pay for either research or measurement. Too often, clients focus on the tactical output of a campaign, and not the outcomes.

And to these clients, I say: “STOP WASTING YOUR MONEY.” Seriously. Make room in your budget for research and measurement. You will get far more out of your initiatives if your communications are built around a foundation of research–and if you can tell whether or not they’re effective.


Gordon Steen Reply

“The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity” George Carlin, I think. Don’t know how that relates, just always liked the imagery.

Kate Bladow Reply

I never understand why people don’t want to do the measurement. I think that it’s the best part. You get to figure out if all of your hard work was worth it and what you can tweak to do it better and get to where you need to be rather than where you think you should be. -K

Daniel Reply

I think the problem is that really good, accurate measurement is expensive. It’s expensive to survey people before and after a campaign. It’s expensive to measure sentiment and relationships. Expensive, but worth it. How can you plan future communications if you don’t know the true value of what you’re currently doing?

Many businesses simply don’t see the value of measurement, or have such a limited budget that measurement isn’t a high priority. This is only somewhat of a defensible excuse; financial resources are finite and limited. If I’m a business, and I get, say 10 customers for every $1,000 I spend, and then only have $10,000 to spend in a given period, using a portion of that budget is going to limit the number of customers I can potentially acquire.

At least, that’s how many businesses seem to view spending on measurement. Where this thinking is wrong is that measurement can tell you not just how you’re doing in getting those customers, but also how to acquire more customers. Measurement should be able to tell you if you can get, say, 12 customer for every $1000. That’s the part that most businesses overlook.

Now, not all businesses look at measurement like this. You can be sure that mega-brands constantly test and measure. But of course, those mega-brands tend to have huge budgets, and you can be sure they’re not throwing out their money without measuring.

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