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Guest Blog: Chris Measures - Measurement – why it matters for creatives

Given my surname I’ve always had an interest in measuring the impact of PR and marketing. Being called Measures meant it was normally me that was tasked with presenting any slides to a client on how any campaign or project would be, err, measured.

So why is measurement important for creatives? First off, setting objectives for any project enables you to focus on what is important. You can refer back any discussions to whether something meets the brief, and if it delivers a measurable impact. This should hopefully move away from arguments with a client that doesn’t like the colour of the new logo you’ve designed for them, or disagrees with your choice of font. Taking personal feelings out of the equation, can you measure the impact of the project, and did it deliver what you were aiming for?

Measurement also helps embed creatives more strategically with a client. It shows you understand that marketing has a purpose, and is part of a larger, business aim, whether it is to increase sales, recruit staff or build industry leadership.

The good news is that measurement has never been easier. Digital channels mean that everything can be tracked, so clients can see exactly what is delivering results. Take a blog for example. You can analyse which topics bring in the most readers, but also delve deeper to see what they do after they read a post. Do they then download a whitepaper, contact the company or provide their email addresses? Measurement such as this should be treated as an opportunity, rather than a threat. See what is working and use it to improve your performance in a virtuous circle, rather than worrying about it potentially undermining your role.

Based on my experience (and name) here are five top tips when it comes to measuring creative work:

  1. Measure what you can

When you set objectives, look at how you can realistically measure them. As I said measurement is a lot easier than it used to be – for example, rather than having to carry out time consuming and expensive telephone research with target audiences to find out if they’ve see your latest ad campaign, you can do it online with self-service platforms for a fraction of the cost. Also, it doesn’t have to be left to the end of the project – for a website or online ad use A/B testing to see which options work best with the target audience, before you go live.


  1. Benchmark

Make sure you have set a benchmark before you begin a campaign to see what the current levels of interest or engagement are. Check how many daily visits a website is getting before creating a target – but also look at the competition, so that you can set realistic expectations.


  1. Be a technologist

The role of creatives and marketers has changed radically as digital technology has flourished. Make sure you have a working knowledge of the different measurement technologies out there, from social media tools to Google Analytics, so that you can use them with confidence and understanding.


  1. Agree targets upfront

Be proactive and come up with targets, and get the client to buy-in. Make sure any objectives are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely), otherwise you risk setting the wrong sort of targets. Help the client by suggesting ways of measuring outcomes, rather than outputs, and if feasible, include measurement within your service.


  1. See the bigger picture

Measuring activities in isolation won’t give you the full picture. Ensure you have an understanding of everything that can affect your campaign, and impact metrics. The easiest way to do this is to run integrated campaigns that bring together multiple tactics (such as social media, PR, content marketing and telesales) around a single, unifying theme. Model how tactics work together, such as social media and PR driving traffic to a web page, and then measure the success of both individual parts of the journey and the overall results.

Twenty years ago measurement was seen as too difficult or expensive for many campaigns. This led to marketers using basic output metrics such as numbers of press clippings for measurement. We can now track more meaningful outcomes, so ensure you understand measurement and take a proactive approach to implementing it. This will help embed you and your work more deeply within a client’s business and enable you to become more of a strategic partner, rather than simply an outsourced designer, writer or PR resource.

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