March 17, 2018

Measurement Planning

I had an exceptional "D’OH!" moment this week. I attended an early morning professional event through the Columbus AMA. Held at Mills James, a local web/production company, the session was: "Marketing Managers 5-Step Guide to Successful Web Initiatives." As I rolled in at 7:30 a.m. I had my doubts about being there, but from the get-go, it was great.

The 5-step process highlighted:
Information Architecture
Project Management
Web Analytics and Measurement

A couple of notable quotes that I wrote down:
"The problem isn’t creativity or good ideas. The problem is what is right." — I find that the library world has a lot of great ideas, but seems to struggle when it comes to editing the ideas and distilling them down to one great idea.

"Design time can be cut in half if we know what problem are we trying to solve." Many people don’t see design as its core function — solving a problem — and skip that step and hand over completed content before identifying the problem first.

But here is my "D’OH!" moment. I wondered why in the heck I never thought of this before: 
measurement planning. The concept is to begin key projects with a one-page document outlining how we will know the project is successful. Sure we all (hopefully!) try to measure after we have launched something, but what about mapping it out before launch what we hope to achieve? 

What benchmarks are we going to hit?
What kind of aspirational or emotional impact are we trying to achieve and how will we measure whether that has been met? 
What is the tool to do that and when will it be implemented?

To give an example, say you’re having a media event. Usually we’ve identified who we will target to attend, map out when they are contacted and capture any media generated. On good days we associate that with calculations of the number of impressions we generated. 

Measurement planning would begin by identifying how many impressions we are trying to achieve.

I like this approach because it puts more on the line and holds our efforts to greater accountability. It starts to answer my proverbial question: "In order to what?

So I’m taking this idea — it cost me all of $5 (cost of admission this morning!) — and using it. You can use it, too, making the value of my $5 all the higher!

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.



  1. gEarboxz says: