Gini Dietrich

The Complete Marketing Communications Measurement Guide

By: Gini Dietrich | October 16, 2012 | 

The Spin Sucks community is an interesting one.

While the vision of the blog is to change the perception of the PR industry, we also talk a lot about marketing, advertising, search engine optimization, social media, and entrepreneurship.

Because of that mixed bag of goodies, the readers come from all walks of life and are not all communications professionals.

I love that.

Today I want to talk to those of you who are soloproneurs, freelancers, business owners, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. Although, because this is about measurement, those of you executing programs that affect an organization’s growth will also get something out of it.

Starting a Business

Like many of you, when I went out on my own and decided to build a company from the ground up, I did so because I knew there had to be a better way of doing communications that actually affected revenue growth.

And I was right.

But what I didn’t bank on was doing less of my craft and more of the things where I had no experience: HR, accounting, accounts payable, leadership, mentoring, business development, vendor management, facilities management, working with the bank, and maintaining relationships with other business leaders.

Things, for a while, were going along really well. So well, in fact, it was okay I wasn’t so good at those things. Organizations were hiring us like crazy because we did really good work.

And then the economy tanked and we faced the worst recession since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, people began buying differently.

Suddenly, like you, I had to be good at all of the things listed above AND this new fangled thing called social media.

It was almost a blessing no one was hiring outside communications help because it gave me three years to learn what I didn’t already know about running a business, including this social media thing.

In the beginning, social media “experts” advised to worry less about the ROI (“what’s the ROI of your mom?“) and more about just getting out there and participating in the conversation.

But now, after several years of using the tools for business growth and development, brand awareness and thought leadership aren’t enough. It’s time to measure your efforts directly to business goals.

The Complete Measurement Guide

The very first thing you need to do is figure out why you’re using social media and how it integrates with the rest of your marketing and communications.

Everything you do should drive people – customers, prospects, critics, loyalists, employees, even competitors – to something you own. You won’t be an expert in each of the social tools. Rather, you’ll be an expert in communications via the social web that drive people to your website and/or blog.

Here’s how:

  1. Determine your goals. What are you trying to achieve? Is it increased leads? Is it improved margins? Is it increased fundraising? Is it bigger sales per customer? Whatever it is, know what you want to accomplish very first thing.
  2. Monitor the web. Too many business leaders see the shiny new penny and think, “OK, now we have to figure out this new tool.” Not so. By using tools such as Google alerts, you can figure out where your customers and prospects already participate online. If they’re on Twitter, that’s where you’ll spend your time. If they’re writing blogs, you’ll comment on their blogs and create your own blog. But just because Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are the most popular social networks doesn’t mean they’ll work for you. Figure out where your audiences are online and build your efforts there.
  3. Align efforts to goals. This is so important, yet very few actually do it. Let’s say your goal is to drive more retail sales. You wouldn’t, then, create a 30 percent off coupon for Facebook fans to buy online. If your goal is to drive more retail sales, use tools that drive people into your store and create loyalty, such as Foursquare or Belly.
  4. Figure out your content needs. The very best way to get started creating content is to change your website. We like to tell clients to take the French out of their websites – the we, we, we – as a first step. Create content that is valuable, educational, and about them, not you. Then, as your content needs grow, look at your customers and employees to help tell stories.
  5. Don’t dismiss soft metrics. Brand awareness and credibility are still extremely important. But they shouldn’t be your only metrics. The soft metrics can lead to things such as paid speaking engagements, industry event appearances, and customer events that eventually lead to increased sales.
  6. Measure, measure, measure. It used to be you’d have to wait a full year to gain any metrics on whether or not your marketing and communications worked. Now you know instantly. Don’t measure the ego-driven metrics (increased traffic or stories about your company in print). Measure the types of things that get you to numbers one and three in this list.
  7. Improve and refine. As you measure your efforts, you’ll find places where you can improve. Do it. Don’t be afraid to switch gears a bit during the process. Improve, refine, and measure some more.

It won’t happen overnight. As you figure out how to align your efforts to your goals, there will be lots of refinement. In fact, the more refinement, the better you’re doing. So get to it!

A version of this first appeared on Inkling Media.


Because Google is no longer supporting Feedburner and some of you are not receiving your subscription (including me; somehow I don’t have any pull on my own blog), we have switched to Feedblitz.

That means you need to resubscribe either via email or RSS.

It’s pretty inconvenient. I’m sorry about that. But it’ll be better in the long-run.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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119 responses to “The Complete Marketing Communications Measurement Guide”

  1. KenMueller says:

    When did you make the switch? I’m still getting the emails…

  2. katskrieger says:

    Where is the new feed? Feedblitz? It says Feedburner and Feedburner above.

  3. GOchris says:

    RT @ginidietrich Ever wonder how to measure the elusive PR and marketing to real business goals? We show you here

  4. allenmireles says:

    This is so practical and yet bears repeating…over and over and over again. For the ones who weren’t paying attention before and the ones who just sat up and noticed things are changing. 😉

    • ginidietrich says:

      @allenmireles The problem is, no one gets it. As much time as I spend on the road (with business leaders AND PR pros), this is the question I get over and over and over again. This is why Global Domination is ours.

  5. Good move on the Feedblitz switch.  I’ve just barely scratched the surface of the functionality and phollows is super accessible if you run into any snags. When I migrated, none of my email subscribers had to resubscribe to the feed (everything ported over seamlessly),

  6. There are endless amounts of opportunity in the business world. If you are looking to start a small business, an easier route may be opening a franchise. There are many ways to market and use <a href=””>Social Media for Franchises</a>. Thanks for sharing.
    Jamie@ <a href=””>Franchise Public Relations</a>

  7. phollows says:

    @jasonkonopinski TY! Engaging now….

  8. magriebler says:

    1. I love when you recycle. This one’s good enough to post every week until the blessed day when Global Domination finally occurs.
    2. Audience continues to be an especially elusive concept. I had a meeting last week with the communications staff at a large elementary school district. They want to launch a Twitter account. Me: “Are your parents on Twitter?” Them: “We don’t know.” Me: “Well, let’s do a survey to find out which networks they’re using. Given the community demographics, I suspect more of them will be on Facebook.” Them: “Why would we do a survey? And we blocked Facebook in the district since all the kids are under 13. We want to do Twitter.” Me: “Well, yes, you don’t want the kids to use Facebook but from my competitive analysis it appears to be a great way to reach parents.” Them: “We want to do Twitter.” Me: (Sound of head pounding against wall.)
    Thank you, Spin Sucks, for being cheaper than therapy.

    • stevenmcoyle says:

      @magriebler That’s my favorite line from clients, “We want to get on that Twitter thing.” Great story!

    • ginidietrich says:

      @magriebler That stuff drives me NUTS! We could probably drink wine and talk about nothing else for hours. I had that same conversation with a prospect. They ended up not hiring us because we told them Twitter and Facebook are NOT where they should be. They’re a very, very nice B2B manufacturer. Their customers still use fax machines.

      • magriebler says:

        @ginidietrich Yeah, I don’t think they liked me too much at this school district either. I could tell they were itching to put me in a corner with a dunce cap.
        PS What’s a fax machine?

      • stevenmcoyle says:

        @ginidietrich  @magriebler I was once asked in an interview at a B2B company to evaluate their current social media efforts and how they could improve. I said in a very nice way, get off Twitter and invest in some Facebook ads that will target their small, very specific demographic. The interviewer looked at me like I was speaking Chinese. Needless to say, I wasn’t hired.
        And yeah, what’s a fax machine?

    • lauraclick says:

      @magriebler YES! So much truth to this. Why wouldn’t you want to spend time finding out where your audience is hanging out BEFORE you invest time and energy into an effort?! So simple, yet so many people miss this very important step.

  9. stevenmcoyle says:

    Amen. I’ve set in countless brainstorming meetings asking the question, why aren’t our social media goals aligned with business objectives? Social media functions best when it acts as a supporting player in overall integrated campaign. Don’t just measure the traffic, measure the conversion of that traffic as well. Don’t just measure follower count or impression, measure what they are saying as it regards to the brand.  
    People also tend to not “react” during a campaign. A great social media strategy involves action and reaction. You have to constantly measure your efforts so you’re not wasting time. If you get 20 daily mentions about your brand on Twitter and zero on Facebook, why spend so much time on Facebook. Go to your customers.

  10. phollows says:

    @ginidietrich Your email had to resub? shouldn’t. RSS yes, email no. Will chat to Lindsay.

  11. phollows says:

    @ginidietrich Mystery solved for your email sub. You’d bounced out from feedblitz for a different subscription a year ago.

  12. phollows says:

    @ginidietrich As a matter of policy we don’t import addy’s we already believe are bad, so that’s why you didn’t get in via the migration

  13. phollows says:

    @ginidietrich Ignore activation email just sent you – I’ll reeactivate your from here.

  14. John_Trader1 says:

    “You won’t be an expert in each of the social tools. Rather, you’ll be an expert in communications via the social web that drive people to your website and/or blog.” 
    Thinking of framing this quote and placing it next to my desk. I’ve never been in favor of any job title that has the word “social media” in it. It’s not a job, it’s a communications medium that people should look at as one of the pieces for their overall communications plan. 
    It also can’t be stressed enough on how important it is to go where your community is, as many have already said here in the comments. Sometimes (for me) that means delving into international forums and social media platforms which takes me waaaaay outside my comfort zone. But, isn’t what where all growth in life comes from?

    • magriebler says:

      @John_Trader1 Yes: just another tool in the took kit. Social media doesn’t replace best practices in marketing; it simply offers new opportunities for reach and engagement.

    • ginidietrich says:

      @John_Trader1 I look at social media like typing. In the beginning, there were people whose jobs it was to type; now we all do it.
      We need to talk about the international forums and culture and what you’re learning. We’re going to be doing this next year.

  15. Count me in as a fan of Feedblitz, switched both blogs over.
    Anyway, you locked in on many of the reasons why companies have trouble with social media. A lack of understanding of what the objective is and sometimes a consensus among departments is killing it in a number of places.

    • ginidietrich says:

      @thejoshuawilner It drives me crazy. The not talking to one another thing AND trying to grow a business without knowing why you’re doing it. Without those two things, you won’t succeed.

  16. ginidietrich says:

    @StaceyHood Brat

  17. ginidietrich says:

    @MLBee Thank you!

  18. ginidietrich says:

    @JasMollica What is your record on @jeffespo’s NFL game?

  19. Well-said Gini. Most people skip over the very first step of determining what their goals are. It is impossible to measure, track and adjust accordingly if you don’t know where you are heading. Too many businesses, I think, know that they should have some type of social presence, but instead of taking a metered approach, they use a shot-gun, trying to do something everywhere.

    • ginidietrich says:

      @Martina McGowan It’s so true, Martina. Everyone is attracted to the new, shiny penny and they forget all the business skills they acquired in growing their organizations.

  20. FletcherDoyle1 says:

    .@JasMollica @KensViews @SpinSucks @ginidietrich This makes sense. One interviewer asked if I knew SM but she had no plan. What could I say?

  21. maryanneconlin says:

    good ordering too, Gina! Think about your goals and align your efforts to your goals…before you even think about measuring.

  22. YODspica says:

    @radiojaja your are invited for

  23. KensViews says:

    Thanks for the RT, @JasMollica

  24. MattLaCasse says:

    @ginidietrich They finally invented a ruler for hot air? #measurepr

  25. ginidietrich says:

    @CARMA_Tweets It is indeed!

  26. LouHoffman says:

    RT @DailyBrew: Excellent systematic guide to measuring #marketing communications via @ginidietrich #tech

  27. […] Gini Dietrich addresses “those…who are solopreneurs, freelancers, business owners, entrepreneurs, and business leaders…” with “The Complete Marketing Communications Measurement Guide” at Spin Sucks. […]

  28. SpinSucks says:

    @nshafer2 Thank you 🙂 Hope all is well!!

  29. Thank you for this post. 🙂
    –Tony Gnau

  30. AmyMccTobin says:

    One of the most useful posts Ive read in months @profkrg @ginidietrich

  31. SelenaSandhu says:

    Attention #marketers RT @ModWorkingWoman The Complete Marketing Communications Measurement Guide

  32. ModWorkingWoman says:

    Thanks for the retweet @sheconsulting @allenmireles @BrennerMichael

  33. tamelainc says:

    @MariSmith @SpinSucks Very informative. Great summary!

  34. TedRubin says:

    As always… incredibly valuable post. Thanks for sharing Gini!

  35. kymberlaine says:

    I love how simply you explain things that should be simple – my personal favorite, “take the French out,” and “ego-driven metrics.”

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  40. Well, well, well… I was researching “communication strategy” and found this blog post attached to a +1 from Anneliz Hannan. Nice stuff Ms.Gini!

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