Archives for posts with tag: soft metrics


Mass Marketing dominated the last century: You need to reach the masses through as many channels as possible. You need retail stores, fliers, website, PR, Ads, Social Media, and and and and and…until you finally reach critical mass and you succeed.

Target is a mass marketer, Huyndai and Delta. Once you achieve ubiquity you get revenue, advancing the cycle, ultimately, reaching scale.

Mass Marketers love macro (soft) metrics while direct marketers love micro (hard) metrics.

Direct Marketers need to get it right on a small scale. The mailer can be forwarded to 200 people, gets a 4% response rate; now you can mail it to thousands of households with confidence.

Direct Marketers experiment on a small scale. When they scale up, they are confident it’s going to work. The Mass Marketers place a big on thousands of little cues, little signals, converations.

A Direct Marketer is the guy at the Blackjack table, placing constant $5 bets. The Mass Marketer is the guy placing a million dollar bet on one number on the Roulette table.

Why do we still revert back to Mass Marketing?

It’s easier to put off the day of reckoning, hoping for a miracle two months in, not wanting to admit failure. Almost every marketing initiative is better when you treat it like direct marketing. Many of the Mass Marketing initiatives are based on hope. Brands rather invest in marketing that’s based in results.

It’s very romantic, ‘Mad Men-like’ to spend the majority of the money at the start. That’s a big bet and you might lose miserably. Rather, bet small in the beginning and scale up when you see a pattern.

We all need to be direct marketers now.


There is no ultimate definition of “Social Media”. Heidi Cohen has collected 30 of them. Let’s go with Wikipedia:

“The term Social Media refers to the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue.”

For the last few years, most brands have focused on “the use of web-based and mobile technologies”. This focus has led to the advent of data technologies/analytics, metrics and new definitions of influencers. Brands are now measuring Facebook “likes”, number of Twitter followers, the amount of people that circled their presence on Google+ and the check-ins on Foursquare.

Why? Are you trying to sell Facebook “likes” or your product?

Most brands have forgotten the second part of the definition: “…turn communication into an interactive dialogue”.

“Likes” and followers have nothing to do with your brand, the interactive dialogue is all about your brand and its customers.

Brands need to focus less on technologies and platforms, and encourage interactive dialogue: Reviews, discussions, recommendation and debates.

The paradox: Hard metrics are less valuable than soft metrics.

Hard metrics are quantifiable but they often have no implied quality. Qualitative metrics should be the focus of your future marketing efforts. When you ask people to “like” you or follow you on Twitter, you generate one interaction. When you develop shareable content, you generate a flood of interactions. A discount on Foursquare generates one engagement (if you’re lucky), but it ends right there. A contest on Facebook asking customers to write the most creative review that will be featured in your store (Screen at register, Menu, Receipt) creates an interactive dialogue.

An Instagram contest for your store.

A poetry contest on Twitter.

Launch a campaign to crown the newest Foursquare mayor with an inauguration party.

Let your creativity go wild and make it extremely relevant to your business.

Don’t fall in the trap to adjust your marketing to the platform. Interactive dialogue happens outside of platforms; don’t forget print, OOH or in-store displays to encourage interaction. Some things can be blasted out through email or social channels. Most people cherish things more when the content is more personal and intimate.

Adjust the platforms to your marketing.


This column appeared first at Jack Myers’ MediaBizBlogger site.

Many people in the Social Marketing world say that anything social should be measured with soft metrics (fans, followers, number of conversations) and brands should focus on enhancing the brand by adding a social layer.

Sounds good to me.

Others in the Social Marketing world say that ultimately in marketing it’s always about money: Sales, increase in customer service efficiency (decrease in costs) and more effective ways to communicate with people compared to the guessing game we call advertising.

Sounds good to me.

How can we align both paradigms?

We’re living in tough times. Clients need good returns on their investment. Any discussion about Social Media will touch the money issue: Resources, re-allocation of funds, organizational commitment. Sure, there are organizations where the ROI is fabulous and immediate: Just ask Burger King, Starbucks or Dell.

What about the majority of brands?

Let’s be honest with them: Most likely, Social Marketing won’t deliver immediate sales increases or anything that can be quantified monetary. Social Marketing (well done) will add another layer to the overall brand experience that will help your sales number incrementally.

Will people read your tweets and immediately purchase your product? Hell no.

Will they join your community and share with the world that your brand is just the best and everybody in their social graph should join as well? Doubtful.

Will participation in Social platforms enhance the overall brand experience by providing a positive impression? Absolutely.

So many Social Marketing initiatives have been abandoned because they didn’t deliver immediate results. Don’t blame Social Media or the client for that result. Blame yourself for not setting the right expectations. There’s a lot of value in Social Media. It’s your job to unearth it and keeping it real.