Marketing Guru on... getting your brand metrics spot on
The selection of metrics can cause headaches for marketers, and even distract them from the purpose of their job, writes Will Harris. Yet choose carefully, and they can bring clarity to both brand and business.
Q: I've been asked to present on our core brand metrics - ones that will resonate with the board. One of these is brand preference, but I'm inclined to exclude it. As we know consumers can't really rationalise their choices, and preference is unlikely to be a valid measure, should I do so?
A: For me, metrics are a means to an end; in the hours some people spend setting, fine-tuning and post-rationalising them, I'd prefer to be doing something to influence them. There is a further challenge in their selection: they must be relevant to your business, but also responsive to your skilful marketing attentions.
So, in my simple view of the world, start by dividing your core metrics into two boxes: inputs and outputs.
Inputs are the things over which you have some control: impressions, clicks, spends, video views - even TVRs, if you are still a believer. In the outputs box go the things you seek to influence: brand awareness, preference and digital scores that measure sentiment, such as Facebook likes, Twitter followers and feedback on forums.
You can have someone scrape these last digital measures into a single score. The advantage of this is that no one other than you will understand what's in the list, so, like a Wall Street structured finance product, you can trade on them for years without challenge.
Businesses at different stages will require different indicators. A start-up screaming for attention would be mad to look at anything other than brand awareness. A stodgy institution with millions of customers hooked on direct debits should focus entirely on digital measures to try to shock itself to life.
However, for a reasonably dynamic business struggling with an image problem (or a lack of personality) there are worse caravans to hitch yourself to than the brand preference one.
Your brand preference score will not necessarily match your market share. Extraneous annoyances like pricing, distribution and even availability may muddy a perfect correlation in many cases, but at least you will have a true reading of your brand health.
When it comes to presenting to your boss, be clear that you are in it together. It's only the right metric if it works for the business, and for both of you. Mutually Assured Destruction works just as well in office politics as geo-politics.
Will Harris is a former marketing director for Nokia in the UK and Asia region. He was the first marketing director of the Conservative Party and launch marketing director of the O2 brand.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk
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