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Metrics and Measurement for Success

To quote recognized management expert Peter Drucker, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” As marketers and brand leaders, metrics and measurement can be one of our most challenging responsibilities, and here at Ink Tank®, it’s one of the most critical things we do.

Metrics do not relate to a single point in time but are vital throughout the life of your project, initiative and brand. Here are three things to ensure your effort is on track for measurable success:

1). Think first. Ensure you understand how you’ll measure success before you implement any strategy or tactic.

2). Stay on top. Measure ongoing elements during the implementation phase so you can pivot and adapt quickly. Be ready to learn and adjust your actions in real-time. We live in an agile world: your activities and actions need to reflect that and be responsive.

3). Reflect after. Do a deep dive and honest post-mortem following the completion of a project launch or initiative. Learn what you can and learn from your mistakes. Future activities and focus can always be better.

Useful measurement requires a clear sense of available metrics, the knowledge to understand them, and the skills to make effective use of the insight you have gained. Look at the whole picture: a comprehensive examination, not just one tactical metric. For example, examining click-through rates from an online advertising campaign is valuable, but doesn’t tell the whole story. Did your click-throughs translate to conversions? Did your click-throughs help increase brand recognition? Are your customers aligned with the value and action that you provided through your campaign? Collect each metric and view it as part of the broader picture. Impressions and reach may not mean much if they don’t translate to growing your business.

There’s no one-size-fits-all for metrics, but all marketers need to measure. And all marketing initiatives need metrics!

Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Over 30 years, I’ve seen and heard horror stories from clients of completed projects that were utter failures – good money wasted on disappointing results. Whether these were product launches, updated branding or marketing campaigns, these types of failures are unnecessary and happen way too often. Ensuring success ultimately comes down to taking the right first step: asking the right questions in the right way at the right time from the right person.

Sounds simple, right? Well, it can be if you know what to hone in on and understand your drive, your goal, and your target. Are you making decisions based on gut? On something you read? Or are you making decisions based on the right information and context?

Here are three right questions you need to ask – and understand – before you move forward on any new initiative:

1). What makes you different and unique? Take an honest assessment of who your organization is and what truly differentiates you. Ask your target audiences, staff and clients, and assess those views against your internal insights.

2). Who are your audiences? You need to understand whom you’re targeting, what they think and care about to understand their needs, your value to them and how to communicate that effectively. Focus on your audiences and ensure that they are at the centre of all of your questions and decisions.

3). Where and how do you fit? Is now the right time? There are many questions to answer as you examine your internal and external factors of success. You need to not only assess your internal culture and foundation and prepare for external competition and marketplace readiness. Are you set up to deliver on your vision, purpose and promise? No? Now is the time to pivot to create real differentiation.

At Ink Tank®, we work side-by-side with our clients along every step of the way. We ask the tough right questions, which are essential to helping you get to the right answer. Once we both have those answers, we help you determine the best solutions and the most effective execution for your budget.

The Ink Tank® team provides end-to-end brand solutions, from strategy through creative. We th[ink] and act differently. We breakthrough brand clutter, misconceptions, old ideas, and ineffective creative. And we can help you to do the same. If you need help asking or answering the right questions, contact us, and we’d be glad to share our expertise.

False Starts V. Failure

False starts are common in the world of sports. You know, when competitors are so anxious to get to the finish line that they jump the gun and set out before getting the signal that they’re good to go. When they do, the race has to be re-started all over again. More than once, and they often find themselves out of the race altogether.

False starts are even more common in everyday life – for much the same reason. They happen in small ways, like forgetting our phones, keys and documents as we rush out the door. They happen all the time with fitness goals (especially this time of year). They happen with jobs and careers – sometimes it takes several to land in our ‘happy place’. They happen with companies trying to launch or expand too soon often resulting in spectacular brand and financial disasters. And they happen when brands, and people, lose sight of who they really are.

False starts have the same motivators…

No matter how large, small, or frequent our false starts; whether they’re personal or business; they come from the same starting points. We rush. We become so focused on the finish line that we often don’t think things through or research enough, are blinded or boggled by the hype of what everyone else is doing and fear of being left behind or found wanting. We ignore or underestimate risks. We overestimate our skills, resources and abilities. We focus on the future and take our eye off the present.

…and the same effects.

Business or personal, false starts have pretty much the same effects as well. Stress and frustration increases, Productivity decreases, finances often stall or take a beating, and motivation suffers. We’re back at square one with our day, our career, our growth plans, and our dreams. Or are we?

False starts v. failure

Failure is one of those words that should be eradicated from the dictionary. It’s negative. It’s defeating. It’s final… the whole concept is just wrong.

False starts, on the other hand, should be opportunities – steps on the learning curve of life and business. We can choose to see them as self-defeating, or as growing pains that help us learn more about ourselves, what we want and don’t want, and what works for us – or not. Trial and error is the stuff progress is made of – it keeps us true to our brands, and to ourselves.

Find the finish line.

Even when you learn from them, too many false starts can be defeating. Whether you’re trying to lose a few inches, keep up with your kids, colleagues or competition, running your first marathon, or launching a new product, service or business, my advice is this:

• Learn from your experiences
• Look for the positive
• Do your research – find the people that know their stuff, care about what you care
about, and care about you
• Filter the hype
• Take the time to do it right and sustain what you achieve
• Realize that faster isn’t always better

And trust that, with the right help, you’ll cross the finish line – ready to tackle the next challenge.

Want help turning false starts into forging ahead? Let’s talk.

Why Brand Storytelling Is No Fairytale

One of the things I like most about helping clients to truly understand and engage with their brands is reaching down together for their brand stories.

That conversation often initially elicits what effectively sounds like a resume: “I spent so many years at this company or that company, gained a lot of experience, bought or sold, and here we are.” Or, “We made this product and, as the market changed, it led to that.” These may well be how the business came to be in its current form, but it’s not the story anyone cares to hear.

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Sticky, Tricky Branding

Branding is a sticky, tricky business. Sticky, because that’s exactly what you want your brand to do – stick in the hearts and minds of your audiences. Tricky because getting your brand to do that is not quite so easy.

A sticky brand is like the perfect toffee. You anticipate the experience. Devour it with your eyes, followed by all of your senses. It has just the right smell, flavour and texture. You taste it, savour it, explore it. And the sensations linger long after it has left your tongue. You perhaps had to go a little out of your way to get that particular brand, but it was worth it – not like that other toffee you spat out when it first passed your lips and wasn’t at all what you expected.

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