Sunday, November 19, 2006

Chaos 2006 talk

I'm just back from the Chaos 2006 conference. I have some things to post up, but thought I'd share the text from my presentation.

(at the conference, someone had this clever idea of giving everyone a T-shirt with just "Advertising Is" printed on it and nothing else. Attendees were supposed to answer the question with a permanent marker, and place their creation in a pile. You could then take any shirt that you found appealing)
Someone wrote on an "Advertising Is" t-shirt the following: "Advertising isn't a part of the is the environment." A bit of hyperbole, I suppose (although not much), but let's accept that premise for a minute. I mean, if it's printed on a T-shirt, it must be true, right?

How do we measure environments? Consider the message inside the movie "An Inconvenient Truth". Certainly we can measure individual factors within an environment: the amount of rainfall, the density of glaciers, and the temperature of the ocean.

But if we become wholly factor-focused--dedicated solely to one individual data stream, we will always miss the big picture and never fully understand the environment as a whole. It is time, I believe that we need to face the ad industry's own Inconvenient Truth, and it is that the "Head ON" spot was clearly the most effective ad campaign of the last 12 months.

OK. Just kidding. A little.

Really, our truth is that, although we known that everything done to, with and for a brand either builds or diminishes its value, but our industry is generally not structured to measure in that way. We--as a collection of companies--are hampered by the problem generally known as "who gets the credit". When TV spots air, Web searches go up. Web searches go up, and frequently generate in-store sales. Clearly all of these factors are co- and interrelated. But they are managed by different organizations, and funded from different budgets. There is little sharing of data and significant suspicion around its use.

Here, however, is a humble proposal of how we might begin to get away from this. The company that I work for, Ammo Marketing, has begun implementing this process, but it still is in early development.

The measurement approach begins by accepting the truth that advertising has an environmental effect. SInce all aspects of the environment are connected to one another, moving one (up or down) will have an effect on all the others, and ultimately on the environment itself. The first step, therefore, is to build a model, using all available data that accurately depicts the environment. The short list of potential data sources includes: web site analytics, query volume, buzz data, market growth/shifts, sales data, customer satisfaction scores, call center data and all brand health metrics.

These are all data sources and feedback loops. Before we launch a project, we can build this model and run it for a stretch of time, to get a pre-campaign baseline reading. Then, we launch the campaign and begin to pull in fresh data and--hopefully--begin to see some positive changes in the environment as a whole.

The point I'm trying to communicate is that measurement needs to accurately reflect the world. We have become mired in a world where the PR group measures PR, the search team is looking at search, and the television group is looking at TV. Each one is highly motivated to demonstrate the value they are adding, and are looking for direct, linear connections. That's not reasonable, because they are not necessarily there. This approach requires all players to agree on the model, but if that's possible, then we may be all be able to take a step back and truly focus on generating value for clients.
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Anonymous Sean Howard said...

Thank you.

This is a wonderful post on something everyone in the industry is struggling with. Measurement.

I hope you update us with how things go with this environmental approach to measurement.

Be interesting to see what other factors become incorporated.

10:02 AM  

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