Does your direct mail piece result in annual gifts from alumni? Do prospective students use the hashtag that you include in a social media campaign? Does your website content for admissions lead to increased inquiries?
Marketing and communication plans are easy to create when you don’t have to pay attention to the facts. If you don’t measure results, all marketing tactics are equally reliable and successful. Measurement makes us uncomfortable so we claim that measuring results is too difficult, not an exact science, and not possible given our limited tool set. Frankly, measurement of marketing and communications tactics is anxiety-producing in part because it might lead to evidence that what we thought would work doesn’t work as well as we’d hoped.
In a time of shrinking resources and increasing expectations, marketing and communications professionals must rely on measurement to determine strategic priorities and make the case for pursuing particular tactics and opportunities.
First, we need to Get SMART. We need to avoid creating metrics akin to New Year’s resolutions. A goal of “becoming a millionaire in 2015” is not as realistic as adding $10,000 to your savings account. Secondly, what we can measure easily may not tell us what we need to know. The truth is not everything that can be measured is worth measuring.
Start thinking pragmatically and concretely about measurement. Three ideas for getting started:
As a real world example, let’s consider measurements within a recent social media campaign at Fordham University.
The goal of #Fordham4Me was to influence the yield of admitted undergraduate students planning to enroll in fall 2014. We knew that a measurement tied to an increase in the number of students enrolling at Fordham wasn’t realistic. Instead, we evaluated the success of the #Fordham4Me campaign using these metrics:
The results for #Fordham4Me were strong. On Tumblr, we had 3,200+ page views, 900+ visitors, and 63 new followers. On Instagram, there were 6,238 public likes, 511 public comments, and 99 unique participants.
Measurement of marketing and communications activities over a period of time can offer insights for senior leadership as they plan for additional staffing and resources. Metrics can:
More on measurement from the mStoner blog: