The Oxford English Dictionary defines “timeless” as “not affected by the passage of time or changes in fashion.” There are few things that are as timeless as having a measurement plan, which has long been en vogue and is a cornerstone to the success of any marketer. The content of measurement plans may have shifted some over the years, but with recent advances in data availability and analytic techniques, having a well thought out measurement plan has never been more critical.
What is a measurement plan?
A measurement plan is typically part of the program or campaign development process that documents the objectives, strategies, tactics, goals, KPIs and metrics that are required to accurately and holistically measure success. It should be concise, easy to read and explain, and be constantly kept up to date.
What is its function?
A measurement plan has several purposes:
1. Connects program objectives to business objectives through data/metrics
To function optimally, a business should be hyper-diligent about all programs and initiatives being intelligently interconnected to drive the desired result (usually profit). A measurement plan can help accomplish that goal by displaying how programs/initiatives influence the metrics of the business objectives.
2. Acts as a source of truth across stakeholders
Measurement plans should not be developed in a silo; instead, they should be created and signed off on collectively. This ensures shared understanding of the plan’s key components – from nomenclature and definitions to business objectives, data sources and KPIs – across disparate teams, whether internal or external.
3. Aligns objectives
With everything laid out in one place, the measurement plan allows all stakeholders to ensure their objectives are actually aligned with what they were tasked to do. Understanding potential misalignments BEFORE a program/initiative/campaign is launched allows time to modify for maximum business impact.
4. Provides a blueprint to technical and reporting teams
The greatest buildings in history were all constructed with a plan in mind. A measurement plan provides the guidelines for technical and reporting teams to complete their work in a manner that brings the plan to life with maximum efficiency and the fewest possible errors.
5. Informs the learning agenda/testing matrix
The measurement plan is not the end, but a midpoint in deploying a well thought out program/initiative/campaign. After the measurement plan is approved, work on a testing matrix/learning agenda can begin. This matrix allows for easily understood parameters on what tests will be performed and how/when they will be executed. Having your measurement clearly spelled out allows for the planning of relevant tests to maximize performance.
What can marketers do to ensure a good measurement plan?
A measurement plan has many functions, and without one a brand’s chances for success may be significantly lower. The ability of a measurement plan to distill absolutely MASSIVE amounts of input can allow the wider organization to be informed, focused and ultimately, successful.
To enhance the chance for success, marketers should:
1. Engage a strategic analytics expert during the planning stages
2. Break down silos to ensure alignment and seamless experiences across the enterprise
3. Throw out pre-conceived notions
4. Develop robust testing roadmaps
5. Execute, measure and update
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Is your measurement plan working as hard as it could for you?