I've noticed a disturbing trend in one of the markets I study. Thirty percent of marketers say their top social media goal is creating brand impact, but only 10% tell us they measure brand impact — a gap of 20 percentage points. But then while just 4% say sentiment or engagement are their top goals, a whopping 26% measure these numbers —leaving us with an almost identical gap of 22 percentage points, but in the other direction. It’s clear what's happening here: Marketers are using sentiment and engagement numbers as a proxy for brand impact surveys.
Deep down I love the idea of measurement proxies. A properly constructed and proven proxy could be a cheap, quick, and effective stand-in for direct measurement of things that are quite frankly hard to measure — like brand impact.
But there’s a big problem here: I've been looking pretty hard for good measurement proxies for a while now, and I’ve found very few that could be described as "properly constructed and proven." And I'm pretty sure none of the marketers in our survey have proven their proxies — because if they'd tried, they'd have almost certainly failed.
According to an Advertising Age article that discussed a new IBM survey released today, many CMOs "believe that marketing's financial return on investment will become a key marker of success in the next three to five years." With continued economic turmoil, marketing leaders are facing increased pressure to measure their results, but faced with an overhwelming amount of data, finding the right KPI needles in the haystack of information can be overwhelming. To sift through this data overload, we are conducting research for a report on how leading marketers will be measuring success. Take our survey on ROI measurement to tell us how you are changing your ROI approach for 2012, and we'll send you a copy of the results so that you can see how others are navigating the ROI path.