Numbers matter, whether you are reporting campaign effectiveness or valuing stocks. So far, so trivial. But if you work in marketing or communications you may be secretly or even openly fed up with producing endless numbers – for the finance director, for the CEO, for the person on the Clapham omnibus. And that is before you start worrying about the relevance and credibility of the numbers you need. If this rings a bell, then we hope you like our slightly tongue-in-cheek three-point communications research manifesto for putting numbers in their place.
As with good business, good communication starts with great ideas – you know that better than us. Human intellect and psyche, not measurement – from Archimedes’ apocryphal Eureka moment through to Einstein imagining riding on a beam of light. Even the management scientist Peter Drucker distrusted facts in the wrong time and place. Too much early reliance on the common view and/or on the wrong measures leads to tedium and group-think. Or worse. And it is the same with you and your communication, whoever you are. So:
CRM1: You have the ideas – start there and banish the numbers to numberland
2. The paradox of ideas
Now for the bad news. Most ideas are not particularly good ideas. On their own they will not be new (think about it), they may not stand up to much scrutiny, or they simply will not be very useful or interesting – sorry. It is the way diverse ideas are linked and woven that creates utility and intrigue in the minds of the audience. Long links, short links, speculative links, contradictory links – your competitors, your products and people, government activity. The trigger sources are endless and it is your advocacy and creativity that lights up the mind’s eye – and it starts with a great story and good story-telling.
CRM2: Beg, borrow and steal links, ideas, trends to help tell the story
3. Time to measure
Stories are the beginning, not the end. You test your story, tune messages and audience objectives, define targets, select your channels and publish. So what? Is the result what you hoped for and predicted to yourself or your boss? Are there surprises – good or bad? Now it is time to embrace numbers. Why? Firstly because in a digital world it is easy to do – and it’s expected. But more importantly because the right measurement leads to better communication and bigger budgets. It’s the results that count.
CRM3: Measure, learn, repeat
This is what we do all day every day at Investor Dynamics, whether it be market scanning on sector activity, audience profiling or measuring results. If you’d like to find out more then talk to us. We are experts in communications measurement and love exchanging ideas and views.