This is one of The Measurement Advisor‘s ongoing series on the measurement adventures of Sherpa Sheila, a somewhat fictional PR and social media data analyst.
The last time you heard from me, I talked about overcoming objections to measurement. This time around, you might find that my mood has much improved.
I am SO excited. After months of being glued to my desktop crunching numbers, and finding and fixing dirty data, I finally delivered my first half year summary report. It took “FOREVAH” (as my friends from Boston say). Pulling together six months’ worth of data from Google Analytics, our social and traditional media measurement platforms, MailChimp, and Salesforce was hard enough, but then making sense of it all… Phew! That was the hard part.
There were some very cool “Aha!” moments. Like when I discovered what a huge impact the joint efforts of the PR and social team had on our broadcast coverage. I’d pointed out at the end of Q3 last year that our TV coverage in particular was pretty consistently awful. We’d brainstormed a bit and then figured out that the pictures and videos that the social team was producing were generating a lot of engagement on Instagram and YouTube. They decided to try to pitch some of the broadcast journalists on Twitter using the images.
Just for jollies, I thought I’d chart the data — and what came out was eye-popping! There was no doubt that the joint efforts had really changed the tone of the coverage. By the time I finished the half year report, broadcast coverage was 86% positive, and this time last year it was 75% negative! Here’s a peek at my chart:
As data geeks will do, I chased a number of other hunches down far too many rabbit holes, trying to prove my theories of why a particular chart was going up or down. Like my thought that pretty pictures of the beach generated more high quality engagement than blurry pictures of country music stars. (They don’t.) Then I had the notion that we could tie the presence of desirable messages to increased traffic to the “tell me more” (request for more info) page. (You can.)
If I do say so myself it was as good as I’ve ever done. Six pages, not including the title page. A nice summary, packed with some really interesting insights, and a few recommendations for strategies that I don’t think they’d thought of yet. Sent it off to my boss and the team and waited… And waited… First my boss was on vacation. Then her boss was on vacation. Then we closed for the long weekend.
Whatever. I was too busy coming up with MORE numbers for the budgeting process. But then the unbelievable happened: Not only did my boss thank me for the report, she wanted me to present it to the entire leadership team next week! Even scarier, she asked me to walk the leadership team through the rationale for my recommendations. She thinks they’re good, mind you, but thought they needed a bit more explanation before her boss’s boss signed off on them.
AAARGH… First step: A visit to the local Goodwill to buy a new suit for the occasion. (Can’t possibly be seen in anything I’d worn before.) As usual, the universe was with me, and within 30 minutes I’d found the perfect Christian Dior navy suit for $9.99: Not too flashy, but professional and with just enough style to be impressive. Buoyed by my find, I went back to work and poured over the results again. Making sure I could explain my rationale, and that I had all the correlations sorted out just in case anyone wanted to actually see the Excel spreadsheet.
The big day arrived, and there I was, literally sitting at the proverbial table, surrounded by VPs, EVPs, and even the COO.
Mine was the first item on the agenda, and I had about five minutes before my nerves and that Venti Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks kicked in. Heart pounding, I stood up and started the presentation. Got through all six slides without a question, but as soon as I was done they started in.
What made you think that? Why do you think that would be a good solution? Did you consider any other explanations of the results? With my trusty data by my side I answered them all! And by the end of the meeting we were joking about beaches vs. bluegrass. Even more surprising they approved ALL my suggestions. Even MORE surprising, the COO asked that I be put on the agenda for the next quarterly review meeting.
Guess that calls for another trip to Goodwill…