Note: This piece originally appeared as a free article in the December edition of The Measurement Advisor newsletter.
It’s that jolly time of year again when we celebrate the best of communications measurement. Here are the Best Measurement Things in the World, 2015 Edition.
Best New Measurement Technology of the Year:
As anyone who has read these pages for a while knows, since 1999 I’ve been ranting about needing the ability to integrate and correlate myriad data streams into a single dashboard. There have been a few platforms that integrate traditional and social media.KDPaine & Partners (now Carma) started doing it in 2009, and Prime Researchdebuted its integrated platform not long afterwards. The capability has been there for several years, ever since platforms like Tableau were introduced, designed specifically to place multiple data streams into a single dashboard. But until this year, I’ve yet to see a platform that allows a communications department to create custom indexes around traditional, social, internal, and digital communications programs, and then seamlessly integrate them into an elegant easily-customized dashboard. Which is why we are naming the new Dashboard from CyberAlert the Best New Measurement Technology of the Year. Congrats to CyberAlert!
Runner up: Bananatag
Bananatag has automated the internal email tracking process so you know which emails are opened, which attachments are read, and where, when, and how people are reading your internal communications. It’s a pretty neat system that can actually do most of what needs doing: Measure engagement, report in real time on what content employees are engaging in, and enable you to export the data into Excel for further analysis. They don’t yet offer the A/B testing capabilities of MailChimp, but they assure me that they’re working on it.
Best Measurement Quotes of the Year:
“AVEs are like the ‘Walking Dead.’ Tougher to kill off in certain zip codes. #measurePR”
From Myles Udland:
“What the advertiser wants is a figure — which can literally be anything as long as it’s big — they can bring to their boss to say their campaign worked.”
From @stellabayles’ PR teams:
“PR teams. Stop Dicking about & Start using Google Data.” said by @garydpreston from this: goo.gl/rvwcNr
“Analysis is crucial to help identify patters of success to repeat what’s working and pivot from what isn’t.”
Best Measurement Reads or Listens of the Year:
Lethal Generosity by Shel Israel
I’ve been a huge fan of Shel Israel from the moment I stopped hating him. Let me explain: Back in the day, he was never a big supporter of measurement. We engaged in numerous pitched battles over the subject when I was trying to get The Delahaye Group off the ground and he was a PR guy in Silicon Valley. Then we ran into each other at the funeral of a dear friend and his eulogy brought me to tears. After this, suddenly I saw him as the incredible human he is: an amazing storyteller. He can take the most abstract, annoying, terrifying things in life and distill them into a simple human story that truly touches you. In his two early books, Naked Conversations and Twitterville, Shel translated the latest scary technological earthquake into something that you want to hug.
As I wrote to him when I first read an excerpt from Lethal Generosity, I think his book needs a warning label: “Not recommended for people allergic to change or those addicted to the status quo. If you have high blood pressure, and if thinking about a very different future makes you anxious, read only under the supervision of your doctor.”
Which is what makes Lethal Generosity the best measurement read of the year. Technology is changing our lives faster than many of us can comprehend, especially for marketers and professional communicators. Many of the issues Shel addresses may not be welcome, but you’ll understand them, learn how to adapt, and maybe even thrive in the ever-changing world in which we live. He gently guides you through this new landscape, using wonderful human stories to illustrate how to adapt and thrive.
More or Less by BBC Radio 4
If you’re up in the middle of the night listening to the radio, then you might have caught this delightful BBC show that takes listener questions about weird sounding numbers and does a deep dive into their origins.
Where else can you hear an analysis of an advertising claim that an average female cat can produce a 370,000 new cats in two years? (It can’t.) Or the debunking of the myth that men think of sex every 7 seconds? (They don’t.) If you love facts and the hackles go up on your neck when you hear exaggerated numbers on the news, then More or Less will become your favorite listen.
Moneyball for Government should be the central issue of every political debate in America. But of course that would require a broad interest in data-based decision making. And since, when it comes to politics, it’s obvious that most Americans are far more interested in hair styles, I expect that this particular movement will languish in obscurity a while longer.
Inspired by Billy Bean’s approach to managing the Oakland A’s,Moneyball for Government was initiated by a bi-partisan group of leaders including former mayor and publisher Michael Bloomberg, former Obama White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, and former George W. Bush budget director Jim Nussle. It is a set of principlespromoting the novel idea that government funding decisions should be based on facts and data. Which means funding and rewarding programs that demonstrate real results, and defunding programs that don’t work. What a concept! If I were Queen of a real kingdom, I would decree that it be the rule of the land. Amazing that all organizations don’t think this way.
The New Rules of Marketing & PR, 5th Edition, by David Meerman Scott
Scott’s original edition of New Rules of Marketing & PR served as my bible in the early days of social media. It was a breakthrough book, clearly written and full of great advice. But there’s been a lot of change, a lot of new technology in the intervening years. Thankfully, Scott has updated this brilliant bible for today’s realities. If you’re trying to figure out how to market yourself, your brand, or your product, this is a must-read. ∞