Monday, September 22, 2008

You're trying, but are you measuring?

I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at OMMA Global NYC last Friday on performance marketing in social media. Thanks to the MediaPost folks and Cathy Taylor in particular for putting on such a great show. My panelists were a sharp threesome: Amy Gibby of eSpin/Hearst, Jamie Tedford of Brand Networks, and Mike Miller of OfferPal. The panel presented case studies on how they has successfully planned, measured and implemented campaigns with measurable ROI or cost-per-action for their clients. It's exciting for me to see performance marketers make strides in social media, as those measurable results will help bolster advertising in the space as brand advertising evolves.

What was surprising about the session is that about 40% of attendees had actually implemented some sort of social media marketing effort. However when I asked "Which if you know how your campaign or effort is doing?" there were no hands raised - that's zero, nada. No one in the audience had any idea if their efforts were worthwhile.

My thoughts? Bravo for testing the waters, but to run a successful test requires setting some sort of benchmarks and metrics for yourself. Even if it's early days and external benchmarks aren't available, set your own. Set them relative to other online efforts. Set them based on your own logic or intuition. Just set some. A successful test doesn't mean successful results, it just means you've learned something - learned how one effort compares to another, either simultaneous or subsequent. This is the foundation for learning.

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