The data problem: are marketers measuring in a relevant way what they achieve with their campaigns and actions?

It is a fact and an unquestionable one. If there’s one thing marketers love, it’s numbers. This numerical passion has a reason for being. Marketers need ways to show that what they are doing has value, that it is worth something on the list of what they do within the company. For the managers of their companies, for their bosses, the important thing is that every euro invested in marketing becomes a valuable and relevant element. It must have a return.

The only way to show that this occurs is in the data. Marketers need numbers that they can present to companies that show they are ‘getting it done’ and getting what they owe.

But this theory faces a certain basic problem, that of what is measured and how it is measured. The criticism is not exactly new, since the industry has pointed in that direction already on multiple occasions. The last of these alerts starts from a comparison between what is being measured and one of the points that really matter to achieve results, that of efficiency.

That is what a study by the DMA has concluded. To do so, they have analyzed 850 campaigns dating back to 2017 and which were presented for awards for the best campaigns. Their conclusions suggest that the true impact of marketing campaigns has been “obscured”, because measurement systems do not cover everything they should and do not focus on key points.

Thus, 41% of the metrics only say what results were achieved in the execution of the campaign (how many people saw it, etc.), but not how effective it really was. Although 59% of the campaigns did measure issues such as response or effectiveness in brand or business, this percentage is too low if one takes into account that these are the key points of what is sought to achieve.

The ballast of vanity metrics

Those responsible for the study point out that the industry is too focused on what are considered “vanity metrics.” Clicks, likes or times something is shared are measured until boredom and those numbers are used as elements to highlight. However, those figures only paint a somewhat flawed version of the state of affairs. Marketers are getting the noise, but not the background.

The data from this study are in addition to those already provided a few weeks ago by another from the American Association of National Advertisers (ANA). In his case, the analysis indicated that he was measuring a lot and that marketers were collecting a lot of data, but that in that information drunkenness they were not prioritizing what was important.

It measures a lot but not what really matters in terms of marketing success. Marketers were focusing on KPIs that don’t actually say anything, or at least nothing relevant. For example, emotions are not usually measured either, even though they have become very important in terms of marketing strategy.

What should be measured and what should marketers focus on? Some analysts believe that they should bet on attention and that this is the question to prioritize. What is clear is that they should do some kind of examination of conscience, sit down and think about what really matters and work in that direction.

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