It’s a numbers gone mad world out there, yet so many commentators still believe a silver metric will summarise marketing neatly into a single view.
A silver bullet. This is a summary, a headline, some dial or indicator which management may rely on to convey all critical information about marketing efforts. This thing has been transformed, summarized and generally wrapped in buckets of assumptions, so much so it’s often indistinguishable from where it all started and what’s actually being solved with the answer. Then when that number looks good for the business it will be squeezed into a short dress and sent centre stage for all to admire. Really, is this the era we live in, how does this possibly get support in a country as sophisticated as Australia? Everyone knows we need context right? A page of numbers in different shapes and sizes will always reveal more than a single headline digit. So if you are capable of looking at more than a single number, then context is king and you must look for relationships to better measure success in any marketing initiative.
There different levels of metrics within a business, each looking to solve different problems. For example strategic reporting has historically been, and is still mostly underpinned by Gross Rating Points (GRP). This is actually a summarization of reach x frequency for each campaign. Marketing have long used reach and frequency to understand customer behavior trends better. For example direct used RFM (reach, frequency, monetary) or RFM-B (reach, frequency, monetary, breadth) to group customers since the early 1950’s in some of the foundational customer segmentation techniques.
However I’d like to tell you a story about a how tactical metrics were applied by a beer campaign, just brilliant marketing. A company gave away a six pack of low carb beer for a 6km run logged with Strava, MapMyRun or RunKeeper. Six beers for nothing! Consider the beer retails for around AUD$15 / USD$12 and I suspect that has about a 10% production cost and 50% flowing to the manufacture in gross margins. That ‘free’ beer cost them around USD$1.20. So what has this cheap beer got to do with tactical metrics?
Well I signed up using my RunKeeper app which I have used on and off for the past 5 years, where in the process I agreed to provide the beer company full access to the RunKeeper API for my profile. AP-what! It’s the little bit of code that lets outsiders look at every data point stored in my runkeeper history (but cleaver graphic designers make it looks a lot less scary when you ‘agree’ to this during signup).
Now a disclaimer, I’m an app junkie, I measure everything. I have apps for weight, I have apps for calorie counting, I have music productivity apps, my Fitbit never comes off, so the list goes on. With each app I generally interconnect the apps to build my ecosystem of personal data (via simple API usually called ‘connect to blah’ somewhere on the screen). What the beer company now knows about me is nothing short of extraordinary. I generally run twice a week so they have a geo-spatial data profile of me for the past 5 years, where I have been and when. Runkeeper lets me listen to music whist I run, they can see what music motivates me to give extra effort by correlating my running pace with music variables like artist, genre, temp etc., heck probably better then I know myself! They can see my BMI and food intake via the calorie and weight apps both linked to RunKeeper. They know where I’m likely to be when and when I’m likely to purchase beer and what might motivate me to do so all in real time!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a doomsayer, I love this stuff! I guarantee you they were measuring a truckload more than some shiny as hell silver metric and they are able to respond to changes in behavior to sell more beer, quickly via social media and direct email.The experience was hyper personalized and I was subsequently invited to trial the low cab cider months before it came to market. You just have to reflect on what the beer company has just got themselves for the cost of USD$1.20.