I’ve been working in marketing for several years now.  As a media strategist,  I’ve worked with every type of client, from startups to major brands in all verticals: luxury fashion, CPG, entertainment, health, pharma, food & beverage, etc. Every one of these brands has a message that it needs to get out.  Over the past few years I’ve started to see a trend, especially with the growth of social media, that the goal ends with the message.  Lately, a lot of budgets are being spent on brand media without much of a transactional component.

I understand the need to raise awareness, but what I do not understand are marketing campaigns that do not have clearly established key-performance-indicators (KPIs),  or that do not ask for some type of deeper action beyond “hear this message”.   I understand the need for some campaigns to focus on product value.  Your product may be brand new, use only organic ingredients, be the cheapest, offer great service, etc.  Marketers struggle to get that message out there and I understand that as well as anyone.

But where I think a lot of campaigns fall short is when they use brand marketing as an “excuse” to not measure the results of what’s happening.  If you can’t measure your media in some way, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.  I say this as someone who has worked in social media strategy for several years.  Everyone’s heard the ROI debate on social, where I believe the metric becomes community growth because communities extend lifetime value, have residual viral value and can be counted upon to leverage for transactions when promotions come around.

Analyzing Facebook and social communities,  one  starts to see a level of expectation on both sides of the table.  The marketers look for a few things:

  • Transactions
  • Word-of-mouth marketing
  • Product feedback and qualitative insights

For community members, the value is a little different:

  • Recognition
  • Insider access
  • A platform for being heard

The interactions between brands and their communities can foster growth, and the results of efforts spent in social media can, in fact, be measured.  Link shorteners and promotional codes can help measure transactions.   There are applications that can be used for acquiring email adresses, signups for other initiatives, or even coupon downloads.

The point is,  at least TRY to create a transactional component to your campaigns, even social.  If you dont, why spend the money?