If You Do It, Measure It

Occasionally I run across one of my favorite quotes about advertising from John Wannamaker, a marketing pioneer. He said “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” That reasoning extends beyond advertising; it can encompass all marketing spending as well as expenditures throughout a business. It is unnecessary to take “half” literally - it may be more or less than 50% that is being wasted. The point is that waste is likely occurring, but it is possible that it could be reduced if more emphasis was placed on measurement.

Measuring performance is a weakness for many marketing organizations. They may be exceptional at planning and executing strategies and tactics, but assessing results may lack the same emphasis. Or, the wrong things may be measured if activity is confused with results.

This issue surfaced for me this morning as I listened to the radio. The Chief Operating Officer of the Nashville Predators, Sean Henry, was on a sports talk show discussing the importance of a professional sports franchise being visible and active in the community. Henry stressed that the visibility is not limited to players and coaches, but rather employees throughout the organization should be engaged with the community. To that end, the organization recently launched an initiative called Project 6K. The program’s goal is to reach a cumulative number of 6,000 hours spent by team employees working in the community, or about 40 hours per employee. One comment Henry made that stood out was that employees are already active in the community; those efforts will now be quantified through Project 6K.

I applaud the Nashville Predators for an organization-wide approach to corporate social responsibility. Moreover, it is important that employees’ contributions are being measured to measure productivity in community relations. Also, it will help present a more compelling story to the Nashville community about the level of involvement the Predators organization has in the area.

It would be interesting to assess the impact of activity like the hours invested in Project 6K on marketing results. Did the program contribute to more brand awareness? Did it enhance the image local residents hold for the Nashville Predators? How many leads for ticket customers came from the organization’s involvement in the community? While it is unrealistic to expect every investment to deliver a return in the form of sales or new customers, it is realistic for initiatives like Project 6K to have marketing benefits. So, if you do it, measure it.

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