Katie Paine has spent decades working with clients to effectively measure their media coverage. As a consultant, speaker, and author, she has helped leaders focus on what really matters. Her popular book, Measure What Matters, teaches executives what and how to measure — and provides context around the role measurement plays in building successful organizations.
She was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about measurement. Of course, her book has a lot more information and is worth picking up if you want to improve your organization by understanding what works.
You have long been a proponent of measuring outcomes not outputs. But how do you deal with bosses or clients who think that Likes or Followers are the most important metrics?
I ask them how they think that Likes or Followers impact their business. If they had a million followers, how would the business be different? Can they show me the difference in their business from zero followers to where they are now? If they can show me a correlation between likes and sales, that’s great. If there is a business reason for using that as a metric I don’t have any problem with counting followers or likes. But just counting things because they are easy to count is a waste of resources.
With the overwhelming amount of data available to organizations, how do you create a rational and reliable process to measure effectively?
You start with clearly defined goals and then ONLY measure those things that impact that goal. I run correlations between all the various social media analytics – shares, “People Talking About” “reTweets” etc and figure out which ones show the greatest correlation with a business outcome—whether it is additional names in their marketing universe, leads, referrals, whatever the goal is. Then I throw out everything that doesn’t correlate with the business impact.
What’s the biggest mistake that executives make when trying to measure digital success?
Not being clear about what success really looks like, and gathering data that doesn’t relate to that definition of success.
How do you measure the offline impact of online activities?
Generally through correlations or marketing mix modeling. Typically organizations use CRM or Survey Data to measure offline impact. Adding online activities to that mix is just another data point.
Is there a rule of thumb about how much an organization should invest in measurement?
I used to tell people to spend 10% of their budget to figure out if the other 90% was working. The reality is that today you can spend much less because Google Analytics, Facebook Insights etc is all free. But to me that ratio still makes sense.