Susan Darch Is the Measurement Maven of the Month

Susan Darch of Travel Alberta

Six years ago I got a call from Susan Darch of Travel Alberta. She described a problem that will sound familiar to many of our readers. They’d been using Earned Media Values (AVEs) as a measure of success, not only at Travel Alberta but also with most of their travel partners and local destination marketing organizations (DMOs). She knew AVEs didn’t provide much value, and needed a better way to demonstrate success. Moreover, she wanted to make sure that going forward her metrics were compliant with the Barcelona declaration.

We met in person during a visit to Calgary in April of 2013 and talked about the process necessary to develop meaningful and relevant metrics. A few months later I conducted a workshop with her team that established definitions of quality and impact for the Province’s earned media outreach efforts.

Specifically, we identified ten elements that Travel Alberta knew from other marketing and advertising efforts would influence decisions to visit Alberta. Those became the basis of their Media Quality Score and they’ve been tracking it ever since. You can read a full case history here.

I caught up with Susan on a recent visit to Calgary. She now has more than five years’ worth experience analyzing her data and making strategic decisions with it. From all reports, it’s making everyone smarter—and that means more efficiencies in the department, better faster decision making, and more effective communications.

Even better, we talked about what’s next: incorporating earned social media into the data, possibly integrating it and taking a deeper dive into the data that she has.

True Measurement Mavenhood means more than just getting rid of AVEs; it means continuously improving a program and keeping it current. Congratulations to Susan Darch, our Measurement Maven of the Month.



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