Sixty nine (i)

So, what are our (leading) non-financial metrics telling us, and have we seen an uptick in our (lagging) financial metrics? Let me first get you up to speed on our deliberations about one particular set of non-financial metrics.

Our intent to understand and harness influence flows demands considerable attention to the measurement of communication, and therefore to media, and this is an area that has consumed more time and effort than we’d originally estimated. It’s trickier than it at first appears.

Performance measurement of communication is dominated by so-called output metrics relating to the content or communication itself, and attempts to determine outcome metrics relating to business success are thin on the ground. A strategic assessment of outputs is impossible however without correlation to outcomes, and even then correlation isn’t proof of cause-and-effect.

Typical output metrics in the public analogue domain include column inches, audience, readership, and ‘opportunities to see’. In the public digital domain the focus is on impressions, number of friends and followers, number of ‘likes’, retweets, clicks, comments etc. You may recall my referring to this sort of thing when describing my meeting with the Goorooz, at least when outputs are considered without reference to outcomes.

And of course there are numerous quantities associated with private digital communications too – for example, who do I contact the most and who contacts me the most? (Personally, for the last three months in a row, it’s been Marcus and Marcus!)

Outputs are relatively easy to gauge, yet measurement-because-you-can-not-because-you-should is a common pitfall when it comes to business performance management. We’ve worked hard to deploy the Influence Scorecard and related guidance (search the web for “measurement and evaluation of communication”) to inform metric design in this regard, and whole books have been written on metrics that might suit your needs.

We wrestled with one particular question – is there a universal measure of communication performance effectiveness?

We’ve concluded there isn’t, as much as it would have been convenient otherwise.

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