I was asked recently - not for the first, and almost certainly not the last, time in my research career - if I could help demonstrate the impact of a social media strategy on a brand’s overall health.
The answer was a categorical no. Because if, like me, you believe that a brand represents everything you say (marketing) and everything you do (product, experience) then you’ll also be wise enough to know that it’s impossible to dismantle one activity from your customer’s overall experience and definitively attribute impact to it.
I liken marketing campaigns to great recipes. The other day I made a chicken laksa. I measured each and every ingredient as per the recipe. It was delicious. Was its deliciousness down to the 15g of finely grated ginger? Or the precisely chopped coriander I added? Who cares. The overall deliciousness was a result of each and every one of those carefully measured ingredients working together.
Being able to measure every single thing we do might sound wonderful but it can also be a huge distraction from the bigger picture of what it is we’re really trying to achieve. Econometric models can move us a little closer to some basic rules. But what they fail to account for is the creativity which is where the magic happens. In the food analogy that’ll be the chef.
Great measurement must start with us focusing on the desired longer term outcomes of our marketing and the behavioural step changes we want to inspire consumers to make. Endlessly poring over hourly data - some of which isn't even counting humans but devices and interactions - can not only be resource draining but ultimately not even that helpful