Swallow your fear and start measuring

by · June 24, 20141 comment

Digital marketing is my passion. Some would say I am “tattoo passionate” about digital marketing. I freaking love how people can do darned near anything online and how marketers can leverage the endless possibilities of digital to create meaningful experiences for their customers. It brings me joy. You know what else brings me joy…doing a good job and being good at what I do. And I have to know if I did well or not, because it is really, really, REALLY important to me. I need a scorecard because you see, I am insanely competitive. And it is really hard to know the work I am doing to create meaningful experiences for customers is working. In fact, it’s really hard when we collectively jump under our desks any time anyone asks us about return on investment.

ResearchDon’t you secretly want to know?

In my daily work, I share with brands ideas and concepts that are designed to generate likes and shares, but more importantly to the C-suite, these ideas are designed to generate a return on the investment. I love to know what my ideas generated in terms of a return. I think it helps me learn more about what consumers want and don’t want. It informs what we do. Or at least it should. We should all want to know what our work means to the business. In an age of results, we should be demanding to know. We should be doing more to connect systems to get the information we need about our work. So that we can show executives and shareholders what their money bought them.

Give the art a break for a minute

It’s been said that marketing is a mix of art and science. It’s possible we have been historically too heavily focused on the art side of the equation. And let’s be honest, the art gets all the glory. Hell, art is what get awards and trophies. It’s sexier. #fact. But the poor science side gets ignored. Trust me, I love the art. A beautiful ad or website can enrich my day, but if there is no call to action, or I don’t know what I am supposed to do when I land on a website, who cares? It won’t matter to me, I will move on and talk about the gorgeous website I saw today and completely forget the site other than it was beautiful. Similarly, when you see a gorgeous ad and then you have no idea who the company was or what they were selling. And this is one of the ways marketing is broken, because art is a thing, it is enriching and it is entertainment. Marketing is a different thing and it requires science.

I Effing Love Science

So, now, we are being asked to inject more science into the marketing equation. This is a good thing. By measuring results of our marketing in terms of sales or ROI we can see what people were attracted to and why it matters to them. This information sets us up to be able to produce more information, content and experiences that can delight the customer. And don’t we want to delight the customer to get even more results? Science makes us better at our jobs. It tells us what’s working and what’s not. It tells us how to invest our time and energy. It allows us to refine our work to drive more results. See, science is sexy, too.

Get on with it

It is hard. There will be many people inside your organization who throw up red flags and who are paid by the “no”. Overcome them. They are not only standing in your way, but in the way of executives, shareholders and customers. Not only is it hard, but, it is also scary, I understand. What if you find out something didn’t work. To that, I say, well good! It gives you a chance to fail fast. And failing fast helps everyone succeed in the long run. Failing is ok. It’s how you recover that matters. Learn what’s working and what isn’t. That way you can stop doing the stuff that is #fail and do a whole lot more of the stuff that is #FTW.

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About Tracey Parsons

Tracey Parsons

Since 1995, Tracey has been developing digital solutions. Currently SME Digital’s lead strategist, she continues to be dedicated to bringing cutting edge, thoughtful and measurable solutions to marketers. With more than 15 years in digital, Tracey not only brings vision, but the tools and strategies to execute against complex next generation concepts. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands to develop and devise cutting-edge social, mobile and digital marketing practices.

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  • David

    We whole-heartedly agree here, Tracey. Well said.

    Measure, learn, grow… it’s the only way.